Cultural diversity celebrated on campus
Students, families and friends roamed the halls outside of Gym 3 in the Kinesiology building, exploring the cultural student groups the university has to offer as the sounds of diverse languages, dialects and accents filled the air. The gym itself was packed, as people had an opportunity to taste food and entertainment from places that many students call home.
Business student, Forman Ali, performed a number of religious dances while dressed in bright formal attire from Bangladesh with a group of other students.
“We’re trying to show off our culture,” he said.
Ali is currently in his third year at the University of Regina. He said he decided to start attending classes at the university to further his education, as well as to help with the process of immigrating to Canada.
“[The event] is kind of a way for students … to show off their home countries and how proud they are of their home countries, and for Canadian citizens to see where they’re coming from,” said Janelle Krieger who works in the administration office at UR International. “But it’s also for them to come and be part of [the] campus and see what the Canadian students do as well.”
Chinese business student, Iris Mi, is also in her second year at the university, but this was the first time she has attended the showcase.
“I like it very much, actually, because it’s a good way for international students … [to] make them proud of their culture background,” she said. “For us, we just come here, we not only have to adapt [ourselves] to the western culture but I think in some way our culture [is] kind of devalued. But from…this opportunity, we can just, like, celebrate our culture and be really proud of it. And we can make friends as well.”
“I think that with the increase of international students we need to give them an avenue to showcase their culture, their traditions, to showcase their dances and the colours they bring to the University of Regina” – Livia Castellanos
According to director of UR International, Livia Castellanos, there are approximately 1,000 international undergraduates, 500 international graduate students and 400 students taking English as a Second Language programs at the university.
“I think that with the increase of international students we need to give them an avenue to showcase their culture, their traditions, to showcase their dances and the colours they bring to the University of Regina,” she said. “On the other hand, this is a great opportunity for the University of Regina community and the community of Regina to come in and enjoy diversity that the students bring to campus.”
While the event that wrapped up the university’s Welcome Week was an invitation for international students to stand out, it also served as a way for Canadian students to explore the world without leaving campus.
“I think the most important thing is to note how important this is for especially Canadian students …,” Krieger said. “I think it’s important because we get students from small town Saskatchewan and they want to study abroad and they’ve never travelled before, never been on a plane before. So this is a whole new experience for them; kind of a way to travel without leaving is to see a little part of everywhere.”
While the event provided a way to see the world without actually going anywhere, Castellanos invited students to consider joining the 350 students from the university already studying abroad in places like India, New Zealand, Finland, Mexico or Brazil.
"I would like to invite students to come to the office to explore the world and let us assist them to study abroad,” Castellanos said. “It’s a wonderful experience, a wonderful opportunity; the world is getting very small and we have to get out and see it.”