(Photo Credit: Kim Sarah I)

The International Students Association (ISA) held its 36th Annual International Gala on April 12, 2019. This year’s theme was Treasures in Diversity and was meant to celebrate the students who have traveled here from all over the world to attend Southern New Hampshire University.

Vice President of ISA, Amanda White (‘20), spoke to the importance of why they hold the Gala each year.

“We put the International Gala on every year because we feel it’s important to celebrate cultural diversity on our campus,” said White. “The goal of our club is to bridge the gap between international and domestic student and make everyone feel welcome and accepted on SNHU’s campus. The gala is just a larger event where people can celebrate everyone no matter their cultural differences.”

Doors opened promptly at 5:30 p.m. as people began filing in to fill the small gym of the Athletic Complex. The night began with dinner served buffet style, where people had the opportunity to fill their plates and try new foods like Pollo Adobado con Pappas (Chicken in Chile sauce with potatoes) from the Philippines and Kachumbari (tomato and onion salad with avocado and cilantro) from Kenya.

After everyone finished their plates, the Flag Parade began. Students strode into the gym holding the flag of the country they were representing with great pride. Students from the Dominican Republic, Jamaica, Norway, Israel, Japan and more stood on the stage in front of a roaring crowd and standing ovation waving their flags proudly. 

Student Branden Wilcox (‘21), spoke to how he felt about the parade.

“Seeing all of the nationalities represented at SNHU was exciting,” Wilcox said. “Especially the flag bearers that were in traditional dress. I cannot think of a better picture of unity than all the flags together on stage.”

The night continued on with varying performances by students to represent something from their country. The performances included both singing and dancing performances such as two traditional Filipino dances, a traditional Japanese song “Winding Road” and some Bollywood dancing, just to name a few.

The night was a way for everyone to learn more about the international students who are a part of our SNHU community. One student in the crowd, Laurel Thyng (‘21), felt like she took a lot away from the night.

“I learned some things about the cultures through the performances that I never knew, like the way they danced or the type of music they listen to,” Thyng said.

The night ended with a game with the audience, lots of laughs and overall high spirits. The event is about a year-long process to prepare for, but all that hard work clearly pays off as it was a great success, for both domestic and international students.

“I hope that both international and domestic students feel celebrated on SNHU’s campus by this gala. I hope that domestic and international students can understand how diverse our campus is and be able to celebrate it and have a great time,” White said.