The Flag Parade at the 2014 International Gala. (Image credit: ISA)

The annual International Gala, coordinated by the International Student Association (ISA) with help from the International Student Services, will take place on Friday, April 7 from 5-8:30 p.m.

According to junior Mahboba Akhtarzadah, the ISA social media manager, the International Gala is about cultural exchange. “They [people in attendance] really want to share their culture, their ideas, so it’s very friendly environment,” Akhtarzadah said. For those who have been in the past, many of the traditions will remain the same.

Sophomore Sofia Benlaatmania, the ISA project manager, compares the International Gala to studying abroad. “When people study abroad, they travel to multiple destinations, and with each destination comes a different culture. That is exactly what you get at the gala,” Benlaatmania said. “Hundreds of students, faculty, alum and the SNHU community as a whole, putting aside their differences for a night of food, music and fun.”

During the event, there is a flag parade where SNHU students from all over the world carry the flag of their country into the small gym, located in the Athletics Complex. “This year, I am in charge of the flag carriers,” Benlaatmania said. “In this role, I reach out to the international students in the SNHU community and I try to get as many students to represent their countries as possible.”

Food is also a central aspect of the event. Dinner, catered by Sodexo, will have a variety of food from all different cultures. The food committee for the International Gala, this year led by Akhtarzadah, works with Sodexo to create a menu that will feed all attendees. “There’s so many people when they try our food in International Gala, they really like it,” Akhtarzadah said.

Sodexo has been accommodating through this process. “This year because of our international students, a majority of them are Muslim,” Akhtarzadah said. “They are not eating meat which is not in Islamic way, so this year we have halal food and that is so great that people will feel comfortable eating meat which is in Islamic way.” Halal food has to do with the way an animal is butchered.

During the week before Spring Break, tryouts were held for SNHU students who wished to perform on stage at the International Gala. Often the performances are dancing.

“Typically, we start to brainstorm and come up with the theme and figure out the committees around December/ beginning of the spring semester. And then we work nonstop until the night of,” Benlaatmania said. Each executive board member is assigned to lead a different committee; the committees include food, performance, flag parade and decorations.

“The last two days and the day of the Gala are the most stressful due to all the time commitments, perfecting set up with restricted hours to the space and the hours and hours of decorating the space to fit our theme,” Benlaatmania said.

Tickets for the International Gala are available on SNHUTickets and through tabling in the Student Center and the Dining Hall. If there are enough seats leftover the day of the event, people can purchase them at the door. The price is $9.99 for students and $16.99 for everyone else.

Any student interested in helping plan the Gala can email ISA at It is also not too late for clubs and organizations to co-sponsor the event with ISA.


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