University of West Georgia hosted the 38th annual International Festival to showcase the unique cultures of UWG students and cultures globally. The event celebrated cultural experiences and enjoyed food trucks, henna art, international dance lessons, music demonstrations and performances.
“The purpose of the International Festival is to allow students to explore and experience the differences in cultures from around the world,” says Coordinator of Student Leadership and Volunteer Programs, Khalis Thomas. “The International Festival consists of various cultural displays, professional entertainment, food and more.
“Historically, the first UWG International Night was held in January 1984 by the International Student Office,” continues Thomas. “Students prepared and presented ethnic cuisines and entertainment from their country of origin, supported by the local community. The Multicultural/World Festival began in 2010 through the Center for Diversity and Inclusion.”
International Student Jubliee Ojibo is a student from Nigeria, currently in her junior year and also a member of the International Club. She appreciates the school for taking the time to put together the International Festival, allowing students to experience the different festivities. However, she expresses that the International Festival could have been more in depth with including the various types of different cultures and allows the International Students to be more involved with the experience, making it more personal for International Students and allowing them to properly pay homage to their heritages.
“I had the opportunity to experience UWG’s International Festival in 2019 when I started school and I compared it to the International Festival that has just passed,” says Ojibo. “It was very different. I would have liked it if there were more of a variety of culture that was showcased. I would have liked to see different cultures including history and traditions.”
Although this event’s purpose was to serve UWG Students by allowing students to experience and explore different cultures but by allowing International Students to be involved with the experience would have created for a more truly authentic experience for students, faculty and staff. UWG strives to include their students’ opinions to better serve and support them.
“I would say I loved the setting for the International Festival, and I enjoyed the fact that everyone was out and able to attend,” says Ojibo. “I enjoyed seeing everyone come together, talk and eat food but I would have liked to see more of a true cultural showcase of the different heritages that attend UWG.”