International Days Celebrates Culture and Diversity

It is no secret that the Colorado School of Mines has consistently been ranked as one of the best engineering universities in the United States, and, in certain fields—the best in the world. Because of this, students from all corners of the world travel to Colorado to further their education. The roughly 700 undergraduate and graduate international students make up about 11.5 % of the Mines student body. These students represent over 70 countries and come with unique traditions, cultures, and languages. What better way to showcase the enormous amount of diversity around than to celebrate and recognize it? The annual International Days event took place Nov. 18th to do just that.

With the help of the International Office and the International Student Council, International Days, or I-Days, is back and bigger than ever. Students from 24 different countries hosted sampling booths with food and drink from their respective countries in the Green Center’s Friedhoff Hall.

Hundreds of Mines students, along with members of the local community, attended to experience one of campus’ largest events of the year. Students, with the help of friends and family, labored for hours over the past week decorating and setting up each of their booths. Organized in a career-day like setup with geographically and culturally similar countries sharing certain sections of Friedhoff, students displayed posters, banners, and art as well as a plethora of food ranging from snacks and drinks, to main courses and even some desserts, some of which took days to make. From beef skillets made by Oman, to a rice and meat coated with homemade sauce presented by Nigeria, to some Baquala polo by Iran, there was no shortage of interesting and savory dishes.

The food-sampling portion of the celebration was followed by various performances just a short walk upstairs in the Bunker Auditorium. For the next three hours, students from over a dozen of the attending countries showcased unique acts of music, art, and dance. From a musical piece from India, to a number of dances including Angola and Indonesia, international performers astounded the audience with costume and song.

One unique act was a ‘cutting the rope’ ceremony originating from Kazakhstan, where, after a rope was cut, a young child was free to walk and choose from various items that are believed to determine their future profession. Without hesitation, the child grabbed for the book, signaling a potential future in academia; this action was something that most Mines students can appreciate.

In a time with so much domestic and international unrest, many greatly appreciated the celebration of culture and diversity that brought members of the Mines and Golden communities together.

International Day was also the culminating event of international education week, which included a multitude of activities for foreign and domestic students alike. Other international education week activities included a movie screening of Lock, Stock, and Two Smoking Barrels, a language round table with sessions in Arabic, Hindi, French, and Russian, and a Global Indoor Soccer Tournament at the Rec Center. CSM Alum Ernesto Aguilar also returned to campus to share how studying abroad during college led to his career as an international professional.

With such a great progression of events and an impactful show, the International Office and the International Student Council, along with the hundreds of student participants, certainly set the bar high for next year’s showcase of this staple event.

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