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The Student News Site of McLean High School

The Highlander

The Student News Site of McLean High School

The Highlander

International Night exhibits cultural pride

McLean’s International Club displays foods and performances at annual event
McLean’s Korean Club participated in International Night by bringing many traditional food. For instance, the Club shared Korean traditional cookies and deep-fried traditional cookies to share with friends and family.

International Night is an annual event hosted by McLean’s International Club where students, friend, and families have the opportunity to have a closer insight into multiple nations. This year, International Night occurred on Feb. 10 along with the help of student volunteers and McLean organizations such as the German Club, Korean Club, and the Spanish Honor Society.

“[International Night] was celebrated by [students through] performing unique and entertaining [shows] that showcased the cultures that were [being] presented,” said sophomore Josephine Koh, one of the performing dancers.

At the beginning of the event, families and friends met at the school’s auditorium at 6 p.m. Here, students performed dancing, musical instrumentals, and singing acts that ranged from Latin America to southeast Asia.

“I performed a Bollywood dance with seven other students, [where] we worked together to choreograph and learn this dance,” said sophomore Manushri Singh, one of the performing dancers.

Students prepared for their presentation with hard work and tremendous discipline to perfect their acts on International Night for weeks, including the upstage rehearsals that all performers went through the week before the event. Students were able to decide to participate as solos or as groups and were even able to participate more than once. For example, some students decided to create a dance show with some friends and also engaged in solo performances.

“My dance partner, Chloe Hyun, and I’s performance consisted of a mixture of a few K-pop songs, including the iconic Gangnam style by Psy,” Koh said. “We chose to perform this huge mashup to showcase how the K-pop industry grew to be so well known from just these songs. The process of this long performance took us weeks to prepare considering how difficult it was to plan practices, what props we wanted to put in, and how complex the choreography was overall.”

International Night also allowed students to reconnect with their own cultures, and to have an overall fun and insightful experience regarding the event.

“I think [International Night] impacts the community by allowing people to be open to all kinds of cultures and appreciate more the [beauty] of all [cultures],” Koh said.

After the performances, students and families were able to enter the cafeteria at 8 p.m., where multicultural food and small presentations about some countries were displayed.

“I tried the Somali food [that] one of my friends made, and [I absolutely] loved the Somali rice,” sophomore Urania Valentina Estévez Anza said. “Trying different plates from all [around] the world brought the opportunity to people to [taste] new combinations of food, of which they [never] knew and loved them.”

Each food stand was decorated with some cultural items of the origins of the food, along with short descriptions of its ingredients. Additionally, this year the International Club implemented a new idea to avoid people who already had their food once repeat eating dishes before everyone had gone through the food line, which meant that the people who got to the food event last couldn’t try as much food or barely tried any.

“[Students] had some type of sticker put on their hand [when] they finally got to try food, in which the people behind the food tables checked to see that no one repeated food after everyone got something to eat,” Estévez said. “I think that the plan could have worked, but there was still not enough food for [all] the people who [attended] International Night.”

Even though the food ran out, students were still able to experience a one-of-a-kind cultural experience.

“[This event] impacted the community by making everyone feel more connected to each other,” Singh said. “[It showed how] by learning about others’ cultures and traditions, we can all come closer together and create a close, caring community.”

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