Celebrations Without Borders
14th August 2016 marked Manipal University’s first ever International Students’ Day. The daylong event which was the brain child of the Office of International Affairs and Collaborations, was spearheaded by IAESTE. The day began early with an interactive session held by AIESEC wherein, participating delegates shared stories about themselves, their countries, and their cultures. It was a rousing success, as excited chatter could be heard throughout the hall. The hall was decorated and had stalls filled with food, clothing, and pictures from 10 different countries ranging from China to Tanzania. The stalls were not limited to just the interns that came through IAESTE. Manipal University’s large number of international students also participated with enthusiasm and were an excellent audience as well. Heena, a student of School of Allied Health Sciences (SOAHS), who was at Tanzania’s stall said, “I’m really happy about this event, it gave us the opportunity to talk about our country, to clear misconceptions, and also to give them a part of our culture.” Aviva, the public relations manager of IAESTE, elaborated by saying, “The event was aimed at being a blend of different cultures. We didn’t even know that we had such a large body of international students in the University before organizing this event. It is really nice for them to be able to celebrate their cultures and experience others as well.”
The entire event revolved around the spirit of celebrating various cultures and everyone was treated to different cultural activities through the day by students and interns from 25 different countries. From traditional dances to music, the cultural performances were the highlight of the day. Students from MIT also participated as college-based bands, ‘The Empyrean’ and ‘A Team’ put in their performances. The fashion show by ‘Glam n Glitz’ and a dance performance by ‘Showstoppers’ were a complete treat for the audience. The rest of the day was jam packed with events, including a Yoga Session by a School of Management (SOM) student, Priyanka, who has been practicing yoga for fifteen years.
Countries like Iran, Maldives, Tajikistan, Jamaica, and Australia also gave short presentations about their countries, giving small glimpses into their traditions, food, and culture. The presentations highlighted both the differences and similarities between people all over the word. Aman Bharadwaj, the Vice President of Finance of AIESEC said, “It’s a great occasion for all of us. People from different countries, traditions, and cultures come together under one roof and celebrate International Day.” Celebrating the diversity, IAESTE organized for a series of international movies that were screened in one of the rooms.
IAESTE also organized for both face painting and henna sessions. One could see scores of people with beautiful henna art on their hands and their country’s flag painted across their cheeks as they excitedly posed in the photo booth. The event also served as a prelude to the upcoming ‘Manipal Week’ and can be best summed up by Avimanyu Saini, the Chairperson of IAESTE, who said, “Today was just about nationalities coming together and celebrating each other, on a much larger scale than we’ve ever organized in Manipal before.”