Abi Wegner — Staff writer
Dordt University hosted their 2023 Culture Fair this past Saturday, Feb. 18, after Northwestern College celebrated their own event on Feb. 4. Dordt students, specifically those a part of the clubs Students Without Borders and the Multicultural Leadership Program, were encouraged to attend the Northwestern event.
Both nights were deemed a success by the clubs that produced them; they were filled with food, performances and an educational component to learn more about countries around the world. There were many performances by the international students at Northwestern, such as cultural dancing and singing. One of the dancers that performed was Dordt student Melanie Saavedra.
Saavedra is a junior at Dordt, and has lived in America for two years. She moved here from Panama and is a part of Dordt’s Dance team. While this is her second year being involved in Dordt’s Culture Fair, she also took part in the NWC fair this year. She was encouraged to perform by her friend, who attends Northwestern.
“Dance I think shows more of how I am,” Saavedra said.
She choreographed a dance to perform at Northwestern that combined different dancing styles. Her goal was to share her heritage with people from both schools, and to inform people about communities beyond this one.
“[The Culture Fair] is important so people can know about the culture,” Saavedra said. “[The goal is to] not judge them, but see how international students live.”
Along with performances, NWC had set up tables across their RSC gymnasium that were filled with food from different countries, such as Japanese chow mein and German scalloped potatoes. Northwestern sophomore Kevin Woodrow attended both events and enjoyed the food the NWC fair had to offer.
“I thought it was really interesting to try new foods,” Woodrow said. “I didn’t go last year, mainly just because I was a freshman, but I enjoyed going this year.”
The Dordt and NWC fairs were set up differently in their events and nature. The NWC started with full plates of food that you could sit down and enjoy, and then went into their performances; as well as played an attendant-wide game of Kahoot about different cultures.
Dordt’s culture fair started with a walk-around period where guests could attend booths to their leisure, run by international students a part of Students Without Borders, in order to learn more about where they lived. Many of these booths also offered tastes of food, made and brought by the students. These included things such as catrachas, a fried bean and cheese tortilla originating from Honduras.
“At the Dordt culture fair there wasn’t as much food [compared to Northwestern], which was a bummer,” Woodrow said. “But the show was overall better in my opinion.”
After guests walked around the booths, they were guided to sit down and enjoy a show involving cultural fashion, music, and dancing. Sarah Breukelman, the Students Without Borders’ Club Vice President, said a few words at the start of the show.
“Students Without Borders’ mission is to share culture with Dordt,” Breukelman said.
With a night full of food, dancing, music, and the appreciation of heritage, they did just that.
Photo credit: Abi Wegner