UConn’s International Student & Scholar Services (ISSS) hosted their annual event WorldFest on Saturday, March 25 in the Student Union Ballroom.
WorldFest is a longstanding tradition at UConn that acts as a venue for a variety cultural clubs and organizations to come together and share what they do.
“This is actually the 47th WorldFest that we’ve been doing,” Associate Director of ISSS, Arthur Galinat said. “It’s a long history of helping international students showcase their cultural, linguistic, ethnic heritage… We have students from all over the world who are doing amazing research and studying to become talented professionals who graduated from UConn, but then this is a chance to see a different side of them and to learn more about who they are and where they’re from.”
The event essentially was divided into two components. One half of the ballroom featured a stage with various groups and individuals performing. The performances included music, dancing and fashion shows, with announcers keeping the whole show running and reminding the audience to vote on their favorite performance.
UConn Taiko, a traditional Japanese-style drum group, was one of the many groups that performed on stage, along with Alima International Dance Association and others.
“WorldFest is a really good event,” said Adomous Wright, president of UConn Taiko and a sixth semester computer science major said. “The organizers are very accommodating, and everyone who is coming here represents international groups, cultures, booths, food. It’s a great chance for people to come together.”
The other half of the ballroom was filled with an array of booths and stands, each of which had a different club or cultural organization there to talk with the attendees. Many of the booths had complimentary food, while others offered demonstrations like henna and handwriting in other languages.
Music played alongside all of the performances and continued in the background even when the performances took a pause. There were additional tables of food in one corner of the ballroom, as well as a children’s corner for the younger members in attendance.
“I’m from Argentina originally. I already had two cultures, so there was a bit of culture shock,” Maximilian Kort, the international advisor for ISSS and organizer of WorldFest, said.
“Coming to UConn, there’s a very diverse population. So to me, putting this up and showing different aspects of cultures from around the world isn’t just fun but it’s important for the world. We can be aware of our differences and all of our similarities.”
WorldFest went on from 1 p.m. to just short of 4 p.m., at which point all of the groups and most of the audience got on stage together for a group picture.
“I always find it interesting talking to different people about culture – seeing what the differences are, why they do thing the way they do,” Kort said.
“I think a lot of people nowadays make assumptions about other people just by looking at them and seeing something, and they draw their own conclusions without actually knowing. So, I think it’s very important for us all to be aware. We’re all the same, you know? The same blood.”
Brian Roach is a campus correspondent for The Daily Campus. He can be reached via email at firstname.lastname@example.org.