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International culture fair features performance and cuisine

Members+of+Hindu+Yuva%2C+Indian+Dance+Fusion+performing+an+Indian+dance+on+Nov.+12%2C+2023.
Madi Bierl
Members of Hindu Yuva, Indian Dance Fusion performing an Indian dance on Nov. 12, 2023.

The International Student Council hosted an International Culture Night Sunday, consisting of cultural performances, a fashion show and authentic cuisine.

The event began with six multicultural student organizations sharing songs and dances. The Hindu Yuva presented an Indian dance, Sri Lankan Student Association sang a Sinhala Light song and the Bhangra Dance Club had an Indian folk dance.

Gurinder Kaur, an open-option junior, was one of the performers in the Bhangra Dance Club.

“We work all semester for this performance, and then we can finally show it,” Kaur said. “It was over in like a snap of a second. We were very united, very happy to be there.”

The emcees for the event were Vanice Chong, a junior in animal ecology from Malaysia, and Haris Pakali, a pharmaceutical major at Drake University from Pakistan.

“It’s really fun looking at all the cultures being represented,” Chong said.

After the performances wrapped up, the whole audience played a Kahoot quiz. Every question presented photos including food, people and landmarks. The goal was to guess the country, with the prize being a food coupon to use at one of the event food booths.

Next up was the fashion show, where models wore traditional clothing to represent their individual cultures. Honduras, Mexico, Puerto Rico, China, Singapore, Myanmar, Nepal, Pakistan and India were all represented.

Haleena Sammar, a sophomore undeclared design major, modeled a black Pakistani shalwar kameez with floral detailing along with her year-and-a-half-old niece.

“She’s really bonded to me,” Sammar said. “When you tell her ‘let’s go for a walk’ she’s always down for it.”

Multicultural student organizations ran four food booths. Pakistan Student Association (PSA) cooked chicken biryani, a savory dish consisting of chicken, rice and aromatics. PSA also offered a drink called lassi, made with yogurt, sugar and spices.

The Ames Student Association for Malaysians (ASAM) made nasi lemak, a dish made up of rice, boiled eggs, peanuts and more. The drink ASAM served was called milo ais, a chocolate-flavored beverage served with ice.

Roti Jala, a dish prepared by the Bangladesh Student Association (BSA), is directly translated to “net bread” and is normally served with chicken curry. BSA also had morog pulao, a chicken and rice dish, and payesh, a rice pudding.

Ames Student Association for Malaysians (ASAM) vice president Siti Mohd Radzi serving Roti Jala at the ASAM food booth on Nov. 12, 2023. (Madi Bierl)

The International Student Council (ISC) cooked dishes to represent Italy and Brazil. For Italian cuisine, crocchette di patate, or potato croquettes were made, which are mashed potatoes that are breaded and fried to be served. The ISC also prepared Brazilian dessert brigadeiro, made of condensed milk, cocoa powder, butter and sprinkles and shaped into balls.

The event was planned by Natalee Thompson, a senior studying biological pre-medical illustration, and Ronnit Nandu, a sophomore in chemical engineering.

“I think the arts and food are just both such beautiful ways of communicating heart to a group of people,” Thompson said. “I’ve seen people walk away just loving all the different types of beauty that they’re exposed to.”

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