International Education Week at SAIT, which kicked off on Nov. 15, was full of cultural pride as many students, who are part of the diverse student body, showed off their home countries.
The annual event, which was filled with fun activities and great performances, took place in the Irene Lewis Atrium of the Stan Grad Centre at SAIT.
The event started at 10 a.m. with Chinese calligraphy, airbrush tattoos, henna, and a world photo contest where students could submit photos from their country.
There were also traditional performances, such as a VietSAIT Club dance routine, capoeira, Chinese dance, music by 21 Strings, and an international fashion show.
“I think the fashion show was the highlight of the entire day,” said Bradly Morrow, a second-year SAIT student.
“We got to see so many different cultures and people showing off how great their traditional outfits are.”
Morrow caught the event this year after finding out the event happens annually.
“I had no idea it was an annual event, so when I found out, I had to go down and check it out and lucky me, I got there just in time to catch the fashion show.”
Enid Angelstad, the director of the International Centre at SAIT, is proud the event has been running for over a decade. The first edition took place in 2005.
“I first came to SAIT in 2003 and then we had maybe 200 international students, mostly from China at that time. Now, we‘ve had students from 163 different countries,” said Angelstad.
“Right now, they are from 91 countries and they’re studying in 61 different programs here at SAIT.”
Angelstad said the best part of the event for her is seeing the students getting involved.
“People come here to show off their cultures and show off a part of who they are and what they are involved with.”
Display booths showcasing different cultures and countries were set up around the building, with some serving up traditional food or clothing.
It gave students a chance to interact with one another other and learn about the many cultures at SAIT.
“It’s amazing how many of them make new friends here because they become involved [with the event],” said Angelstad.
She explained that the event is not just for students, but for the entire SAIT community.
“Part of it is showing that we have a very diverse student body here.”
“We may not have the most students, but we have the most diverse student body and one of the main goals of this event is recognizing that: taking that and embracing that diversity on our campus.”
Dannalen Molate, a first-year Travel and Tourism program student at SAIT, was representing The Philippines in the international fashion show by wearing a traditional dress from her country.
“This type of traditional Filipino dress is usually made from pineapple leaves, and to be honest, it was a bit itchy,” said Molate.
“I feel proud to represent my country because as a Filipino woman, I grew up in a big family and now I’m representing it here and showing it to other people.”
Even though it was Molate’s first year participating in the event, she said she felt a sense of belonging and pride.
“I know SAIT is a diverse community,” said Molate.
Veronica Gruszkova, another first-year SAIT student in the Travel and Tourism program, fashioned a traditional dress from her country, the Czech Republic.
Gruszkova also worked at the Slovak information and cultural education booth. This was her first year volunteering for the International Education week.
“The event was quite enjoyable,” said Gruszkova.
“Not only do I get to educate people about my own culture, I learned a lot about other cultures.
“There’s a lot of pride here.”