Students and community members gathered in Festival Concert Hall Saturday to experience different cultures from around the world.
International Night 2015: Window to the World was put together by the International Student Association and showcased a range of performances put on by students celebrating their rich cultural heritages.
The show started out in the foyer, with cultural booths from multiple groups, including China, India and Chile. Students, faculty and families mingled, sharing conversations and getting a glimpse of the global diversity of North Dakota State’s student population.
At 6 p.m., the main festivities started. Senior electrical engineering major Ngoc Dung Nguyen, known as Andy, hosted the show. He was in charge of putting the order together and coming up with comical transitions between performances, but he said he did not have much time to prepare.
“I was only given one week with how to put the show together,” Nguyen said. “I’m glad people liked it.”
There was music from all over the world: Vietnam, Bangladesh, China, Jamaica and Mongolia – everything from Chinese rap to a Jamaican redemption song. The repertoire was a mix of both the traditional and the modern.
Dance was also a popular choice for performers.
Two students did a Bollywood-style dance to “Radioactive” by Imagine Dragons and “Jai Ho” from the popular film “Slumdog Millionaire.” A group of students performed a Vietnamese dance with fans, Nguyen and International Student Association vice president Kristy Tran included. A group also performed a Pakistani dance.
But sophomore Arigun “Amy” Ganbat stole the show with her traditional Mongolian dance that won her the judges’ choice award.
The winner of the audience choice, chosen by who got the most claps at the end, went to Xiaoxi Wang, who played a traditional Chinese piece on the gu zheng. This instrument has 18 or more strings and is played sort of like a harp but stands like a piano.
“This song’s more about snow, that’s why it matches Fargo better,” Wang said.
As exciting as the awards were, this show was about more than just winning a competition. All of the students who participated – whether they sang, danced, hosted or were in the fashion show– shared a bit of culture with the rest of the community. It promoted understanding and appreciation of other cultures, a shared sense of respect.
“I guess I don’t see the difference between that,” ISA president Katie Fronning said on stage when questioned about how it is working with students from so many countries.
“I just talk to people like they’re people.”