International Night a success again

Reina Katoh

Students from several of the countries represented at International Night 2012.

Stephanie Rebek, Staff Reporter

Lakeland’s international students presented an amazing representation of their different cultures and countries on April 10 in the Bradley Theater.

The goal of International Night is to teach Lakeland students and the surrounding area about Lakeland’s international population.

“The world is flat,” Assistant Director of the Hayssen Academic Resource Center and Instructor of Japanese Jen Seibert said. “Everything we do impacts other people. International Night teaches Americans about other cultures.

“Not that world peace and cooperation are obtainable, but if they were, having a large international population creates a lot of opportunities for connections through the changing of both domestic and international students,” Seibert said. “It’s my favorite event that Lakeland does all year!”

The performance by Japanese international students caused a major pandemonium of cheering. The Japanese students performed two different dances: an original creation by Ayako Mori, senior psychology major, and a traditional dance called a Fisherman’s dance.

According to Mori, the Japanese students were extremely dedicated and practiced for two hours twice a week for two months. Mori invented a mixture of music genres for the first dance as well as the choreography. For the second piece, Mori instructed the other Japanese students on how to do the traditional dance.

“There are many Japanese students, but we do not know each other well,” Mori said. “With this dancing we can get together and show others what is Japanese style.”

Students from Central America also represented themselves with a dance. Meribeth Mazzi, a sophomore biology major originally from Peru, joined in with other classmates from Central America to construct a dance that took the group nearly a month to learn.

“We would like everyone to see that there is a world out there,” said Mazzi about the purpose of the night. “There are different cultures, different perspectives, and the world is beautiful. Usually we have our own thinking, our own values, but it’s not until you see another person having this difference from you that you get open-mindedness.”

Akniet RysbekKyzy, a senior criminal justice major from Kyrgyzstan, hosted International Night. She was able to get some people from Chicago to come to Lakeland and dance for International Night.

RysbekKyzy talked about the two main benefits she thinks International Night has.

“For me, first, it helps to break down barriers between outsiders and local people by creating friendships. Second, it helps students broaden their vision by inspiring and motivating students to travel.”

The program ended with the “uniting” of all the represented countries while the song “We Are the World” played.

“[The uniting] is symbolic that we are the world, and we [all countries, including America] come as one world,” RysbekKyzy said.

“Without everyone and Lakeland students, the show would not have been successful,” she added.