By Janelle Finch

Adorned by 30 flags from around the world, Carnahan Quadrangle was set for International Day.

The University of Missouri held its ninth annual International Day Wednesday, beginning with the International Flag Parade and followed by the International Bazaar. The Missouri International Student Council hosted the day’s events to showcase the rich diversity the campus has to offer. MISC was designed to bridge the gap and unite the MU community as one, and International Day is one of its most prized events.

International flag display at Traditions Plaza

Attendees get a closer look at the international flags display. They are set up at Traditions Plaza. (Photo by Janelle Finch.)

All it takes is a glance around the classroom to realize that everyone is not one in the same. International Day capitalizes on these differences and celebrates them. MISC President Kristy Lai promotes the importance of International Day.

“It’s a day for international students to be proud of where they come,” Lai said. “You’re on another campus and you’re representing your country.”

As made evident by the “Where do you call home?” display, where students pinned their origins in countries like China, Indonesia, Spain and Korea, it is clear how diverse MU’s campus truly is.

A college student is putting a pin on North America on a world map.

The “Where Do You Call Home?” board prompts attendees to share their origins. One student stops by to put a pin in her hometown. (Photo by Janelle Finch.)

This day serves as a reminder to stop and appreciate the multitude of cultures at MU. Lena Ajans, executive assistant of the Confucius Institute, says getting involved is simple.

“You have to ask questions. At the end of the day, we all have something in common,” Ajans said.

Ajans is not of Asian descent but holds a top position at the Confucius Institute because she recognizes cultural awareness as a top priority.

“It’s really important to understand where everyone comes from to try and work together,” Ajans said. “Everyone has their own way of thinking, and it’s nice to find the best way to blend and work together.”

A booth at the International Bazaar offers a chopstick challenge.

MU Students test their chopstick skills at the Confucius Institute table. Students practice moving various objects like black beans and marshmallows from one bowl to another. (Photo by Janelle Finch.)

The International Bazaar provided MU students with the opportunity to be introduced to new cultures. From cultural cuisine to fashion like Chinese cheongsams, each tent had something to offer. With games and information, it was hard to walk away without a new piece of knowledge.

Professor Adrian Clifton walked by the event and decided to stop by.

“I’m a learner. I’m here to absorb what the community has to offer in way of cultural awareness,” Clifton said.

She continued to advocate for the need of a growth mindset when it comes to welcoming cultures unlike our own.

“Getting us more open to cultures and the appreciation of them [is] so that we can become more wholesome human beings,” Clifton said.

There is always something new to discover and with the International Bazaar, one does not have to look very far. Be sure to mark your calendars for the second Tuesday of next September to come out and celebrate International Day.

Tags: , , ,