Students, faculty and Waterville residents celebrated the 25th annual International Extravaganza in Page Commons on Friday, April 16. The World Cup-themed event featured student performances ranging from dances to comedy acts, as well as a sampling of cuisine from nations across the globe.
Before the performances began, Associate Director of Admissions and Financial Aid Kim Cheah '99 reflected on the increasing international population on the Hill, which has grown from two percent in 1995 to 10 percent today. Cheah also asked audience members to participate in a moment of silence to honor those around the world harmed by natural disasters in recent months. Sixteen groups of international and domestic students delighted the audience with their performances, which ranged from a German song to a Korean pop dance.
The Colby Eight, one of the College's a cappella groups, kicked off the show singing a South African folk song while performing choreographed dance moves. Between acts, Teko Mmolawa '12, Nirakar Poudel '12 and Sulaiman Nasseri '12 entertained the audience with a comedic skit. Poudel elicited laughter from the audience when he joked about his Facebook addiction and threw candy into the crowd. A fashion show that featured ensembles from various nations around the world followed the acts.
"For a lot of kids, this is one of the few opportunities where they will perform at Colby," International Club President Athul Ravunniarath '11 said. "[The performances] showcase the talent and diversity that is presented at Colby."
A feast in the Pugh center featuring student-prepared cuisines from around the world followed the performances.
During the week leading up to the event, the International Club boosted student enthusiasm around campus by hosting lectures, t-shirt making events and film screenings designed to "help bring international students together with non-international students," club member Laura Llano '12 said.
"We really wanted to make them unique events and events that typically wouldn't be held during the year," club member Kayla Chen '12 said.
Llano coordinated the t-shirt making and salsa-dancing night, where students expressed their creativity by decorating shirts with messages in different languages and learning new dance moves. "My friend made a soccer ball [on her t-shirt]...and she filled every square writing soccer in different languages and on the back she put flags," Llano said.
Chen hoped the events made "Colby students feel more comfortable with the international community and [make them] want to break the barriers that exist."
The club encouraged both international and domestic students to participate in the Extravaganza, Ravunniarath said.
"This year, we reached out to a...bunch of students who are not international to perform," Ravunniarath said. "[The event is] not just about international students. It's just about showcasing international diversity that is present at Colby. A lot of kids who are not international are putting a lot of time and energy into the club and the performances sort of reflect that."
Spending long hours rehearsing for the show allowed students participating in the Extravaganza to bond with one another, Chen said. "Everyone comes together...and you just really become close with people within your group," Ravunniarath said.
The event also forged a connection between students on the Hill and members of the community "who wouldn't otherwise attend student events," Ravunniarath said. "It's sort of out of the ordinary to have kids from other countries performing...stuff that wouldn't normally be seen. [It's] very much a community builder."