Inside USD

International Food, Fashion, Culture at USD

Tuesday, April 17, 2012

“Hold on to your seats because you’re going to take a trip around the world!”

Those words signaled the start of the University of San Diego’s 27th International Expo and Fashion Show, and a whirlwind presentation of culture at the April 13 event in the Hahn University Center Forums.

Walking into the showroom for the pre-show dinner, which featured traditional foods representing several different countries, provided an immediate immersion into the environment of cultural diversity and acceptance that USD’s International Students Organization (ISO) created. The cuisine, sophomore Kevin Pelaez said, was his favorite part of the event.

The UC Forums rooms were covered in flags from all over the world and every table featured an internationally themed centerpiece. Seats were also set up around a raised catwalk as the fashion show, which represented 31 countries through traditional clothing and exotic performances, began.

A beautiful Polynesian dance routine, featuring four female dancers, started the show. The dancers showcased different aspects of Polynesian dance with interesting instruments and props, and also got the audience involved. In fact, the entire show was wonderfully crowd engaging and entertaining.

The hosts were hilarious and each of the models threw a bit of humorous flair into their catwalk. Danielle DeForrest ’14, says her favorite part of the event was “the lively atmosphere,” making the show a night to remember.

Violette Simon ’14 said she “loved seeing two of the four countries that make up [her] heritage (Turkey and Lebanon) represented.”

This annual event provides an excellent opportunity for USD domestic students to get to know a little bit about their classmates’ diverse culture backgrounds.

ISO Advisor Greg Grassi, assistant director in USD’s Office of International Students and Scholars (OISS), is deeply involved with the international community on campus. Grassi, a 1999 USD alumnus, said he believes the expo/fashion show is very important for the community. Not only does the annual show teach students about cultures not their own, but it also inspires them to learn and travel. Grassi said this USD event enables “cultural sharing” to take place and gives students “the ability to travel without leaving the country.”

Another wonderful aspect is the involvement of the USD community. The fashion show is not just for USD’s international student population. Several domestic students participated in the performance to help ISO represent as many countries as possible.

The event demonstrated to the USD community that international students are here and “celebrates international students and native students learning from each other,” said OISS Director Yvette Fontaine, who attended the inaugural expo. She added that she’s pleased to see the event grow, showing that USD has become an international university.

Clearly, through the cultural inclusiveness of USD, it really is a small world after all.

— Aryana Abraham ’14

Photos courtesy of Greg Grassi

  • Share/Bookmark