McLean hosts International Night

School comes together to celebrate diverse cultures through performances and club stands

March 10 marked the annual holding of McLean’s International Night, an evening event that works both to showcase the diversity of McLean and celebrate its multicultural atmosphere through productions, decorations, and a buffet encompassing numerous global cuisines. This year’s International Night held the highest number of performances and the largest crowd yet.

McLean’s International Club fully organizes the event. As the club’s main project of the year, its members have dedicated a significant amount of time in planning and perfecting it.

“The planning process started in December, so a little while back, we had planning meetings every Thursday after school,” said Katherine Hernandez, International Club President. “Once the night approached closer, we had it twice a week.”

The night opened with a display of twenty performances in the auditorium. The performances included a variety of stand-up comedies, traditional singing and dancing.

“As a proud Nepali, I had the honor of performing a traditional Nepali dance. I knew that I had a duty to showcase my love for my country as well as its rich culture to the world,” junior Avine Pant said. “Throughout the performance, I was humbled by the overwhelming love and support I received from the audience. It was heartwarming to see the passion and pride that people felt for their country, and it reinforced my commitment to promoting Nepali culture wherever I go.”

The night showcased many East Asian cultures as well, with many groups performing Korean pop songs and choreographies. Freshman Yunah Choi danced to famous Korean songs with her friends Asmita Verma and Nor Khalil, connecting back to her Korean background.

“Before the music started, we were so nervous [to be] on stage and perform in front of many people, but when the music started, we didn’t feel nervous and decided to enjoy and ace it,” freshman Yunah Choi said. “After the performance, we had confidence and courage that it is not a hard thing to perform on stage in front of many people.”

In addition to dance, many students showcased other performances like singing to collaborate their cultures with their own talents. International Night was an opportunity for students to not only show their own skills but also gain experiences themselves.

“I decided to perform because I like to sing, and it’s my dream to sing in front of a big crowd,” sophomore Anika Zarsuela said. “I [learned] that you only live once, but you have to try everything even if you’re scared.”

Once the stage shows commenced, students poured into the lecture hall, adorned with colorful flags and full of vibrant table exhibits and food samples from over ten of the multiple cultural clubs of McLean such as the Vietnamese Student Association and the Spanish Club. Additionally, many of the members of the clubs were dressed in their nation’s traditional wear.

“[The VSA] was able to represent and share our culture alongside some non-Vietnamese snacks. We brought egg rolls, cream puffs, and an assortment of jelly straws for everyone to try,” sophomore Mia Tran Luu said. “International Night offered the VSA an opportunity to spread our culture outside of casual club meetings and group get-togethers. We don’t normally have the chance to dress in traditional clothing or share our culture’s foods either, so this event was a great occasion to do so.”

From information about South America to the Middle East and from egg rolls to churros to crêpes, there was a wide selection of stands to visit and learn about.

“I really love how International Night is an opportunity where a lot of cultures of diversity can come together and share experiences and learn about one another,” Chen said.

This year is the International Club’s second consistent year of holding the event since the pandemic, continuing its goal to unite the different cultures of McLean’s community.

“[The planning process for International Night] was a lot, and it was hectic, but it was really rewarding in the end. I felt glad because we had two rehearsals that were at least two to three hours long, so it was so nice when I saw everyone have a chance to perform today,” International Club Co-Vice President Arav Mathapati said. “I’m happy that they got the platform of representation that they needed to do all this.”

The night wrapped up around 9:00, students leaving the building being newly immersed in the unique cultural diversity of the school.

“I just want [people] to take away the fact that McLean is such a diverse community,” Mathapati said. “There’s so much diversity around our school and day to day. Not many people can recognize this, but I’m glad today we had the opportunity to do so.