International Night at Portland State—the night we celebrate the rich and vibrant international community at PSU—is a celebration that seems to get bigger every year. This was the event’s 37th year.
International Night at Portland State—the night we celebrate the rich and vibrant international community at PSU—is a celebration that seems to get bigger every year.
This was the event’s 37th year.
The Friday event, titled “Around the World in One Night,” sold out of all 700 tickets almost a week in advance, a testament to its popularity and the cultural diversity at PSU. The event was free for students and $5 for nonstudents.
“This is the largest event at PSU for international students. It is a chance for the many cultures of Portland State to come together in one night,” said Yingying Chai, coordinator of the Organization of International Students, the group largely responsible for organizing the event each year.
PSU hosts 2,100 international students from more than 90 different countries every year.
The celebration began Friday with a dinner on the first floor of the Smith Memorial Student Union that included 20 different dishes from 12 countries. The food was catered by various Portland restaurants, including Tandoor Indian Kitchen, E’Njoni Cafe and Sawasdee Thai.
After sampling delicious ethnic cuisines, attendees made their way to the cultural exhibits on the second floor, where 46 booths occupied the student lounge and Multicultural Center. The International Cultural Service Program, a scholarship program for international students, helped facilitate the second floor exhibitions.
“Most of the students you see here tonight behind the many country booths are part of the ICSP program and earning part of their 90 hours of required community service for the year,” said Anna Gindlesperger, the international student life advisor. “Through ICSP, K–12 teachers and the community in general can request our students to help with education in different international cultural projects.”
This year alone the event attracted 200 volunteers, made up not only of students but of community members and nonstudents who come to the event to be a part of cultural mingling and to learn about other countries.
“This was a much smaller event 13 years ago when I first got started with International Student Services,” said Jill Townley, the assistant director of International Student Life, a group that helps the OIS to organize the event through faculty support. “In 1999 the event drew a couple hundred attendees.”
Since then, the event has grown dramatically in size and scope.
At 7:30 p.m., performances began in the SMSU ballroom.
A traditional Chinese dance called “Spring Chant” kicked off the night and set the stage for the performances that ensued—each unique in their sounds, colors, dress and choreography.
“Aside from a little outside help, all 12 performances tonight are done by PSU students,” said Lola Aminova, a member of the ISO and the director of entertainment. “I really tried to utilize the talent and resources we have right here at PSU.”
Also featured for the first time in the program’s history was an elaborate fashion show that included styles from all over the globe.
“We are not just here to entertain, but to send the message that these students are from a long way away,”
Townley said. “They are here because they want to share their culture.”
AROUND THE WEB
Portland State YouTube channel recaps from PSU International Night 2013
Link to Portland State YouTube Channel >>