International students share countries' culture, traditional dances at UA mall

Turki Allugman | Arizona Daily Wildcat

Turki Allugman / Arizona Daily Wildcat

The CESL’s international festival that took place at the UA mall and countries from around the world shared their cultures and traditions with each among UA comunity.

International students showcased their countries at the annual International Festival on the UA Mall on Tuesday.

Flags, decorations and clothing items specific to each country hung from the tents as visitors strolled from booth to booth.

Students at the booth for Japan gave out handmade origami while visitors practiced using chopsticks by picking up beans and putting them into bowls.

The Saudi Arabia table offered its specialty coffee, and the Qatar students burned incense, which is normally put in the dining room, while students relaxed on a blanket. Visitors could also have their names written in various languages.

The festival, hosted by students from the Center for English as a Second Language, began at 10 a.m. and ended at 3 p.m.

Representatives from various countries performed dances and their countries’ national anthems on the stage.

The event was popular last year; to ensure the same turnout this year, students added new items to their booths to increase the variety of activities available to visitors.

“It was big last year, but I don’t think it was this big last year,” said Hala Alwagdani, a geology sophomore at the Saudi Arabia tent. “The dresses we didn’t have last year, or the coffee.”

The Saudi Arabia tent was popular, as the six pitchers of coffee at the tent were empty only halfway through the event, according to Alwagdani.

Lujain Alghannam, a geophysics junior, and Naba Al Hamad, a geophysics sophomore, said their favorite country was Saudi Arabia because that is where they are from. They said they were having fun walking around, getting their names written in various languages and trying on the sombreros from Peru.

Last year’s festival made such an impression on Ulukbek Abenov when he was an undergraduate student that he came back to help this year as a law school student. Abenov worked at the Kazakhstan tent.

“Last year was the best because I was a student at CESL, so I had to prepare for everything,” Abenov said. “But right now, I am just a helper.”

Students said they enjoyed having the chance to learn about different parts of the world.

“The one on China [was my favorite] because I really don’t know a lot about it,” said Kayla Chia, a business sophomore. “It’s very interesting to see what stuff each culture has. I know there are some overlaps, and there are some things that are totally different.”

Share this article