On March 9th, the Universities at Shady Grove held their annual Intercultural Festival for students, staff, faculty, and their families. This event is one of USG’s most popular ones as we got to celebrate and learn about different cultures.
I have been to international nights back when I was in elementary school, but that was years ago, so this intercultural festival was a refresher from past years. Even though this was my first time attending this event, I decided to contribute towards showcasing my culture by participating in the fashion show and submitting a recipe for the culture cookbook.
My mother and her family are from The Gambia, a small country in West Africa that is surrounded by Senegal (which is where some of my family is also from). So for the fashion show, I wore a traditional outfit called a bazin which is worn in most, if not all West African countries. Bazins are typically worn during wedding celebrations, parties, the Eid holidays, and religious services. I wasn’t really nervous about participating in the fashion show up until the day of the festival, but I didn’t let my anxiousness get to me as I walked across the stage. I feel proud to represent my culture and doing so at USG allows me to celebrate that.
After the fashion show, we played a LoanWord Game. Basically, this game is about figuring out what language words originate from. For example, did you know that “bank” is a French word? Well, if you didn’t, you learned something new! Bank in French is banque, so the pronunciation is the same but with a different spelling.
After the LoanWord Game, some of the attendees played Loteria, which is similar to Bingo. Loteria uses images instead of numbers and the Spanish word is accompanied by a said image. This game was fun as I got to learn Spanish words.
We went into a 10-minute break where I got some desserts, talked with other students, and looked around the table displays. When the break was over, we had a bachata tutorial from the Latin Dance Club. A lot of students and staff participated in this dance as we got to learn different dance moves. After practicing for about several minutes, we danced to what we learned to music.
Afterward, there was a talent show where a student sang a ballad from The Philippines. There were a few other dance performances as well that went on for the rest of the night. Crystal Simli wowed the audience with belly dancing. Then, the UMBC K-Pop Dance Club performed a few dance covers of some Korean pop songs. Lastly, we closed off the night with Lion Dance from a local dance group. All of these talents were great to have witnessed from different cultures.
Since this was my first intercultural festival as a USG student, I really enjoyed my experience at this event. I hope to attend next year’s festivities and more of these events in the future.