Douglas Students’ Union celebrates the college community’s diversity
By Cazzy Lewchuk, Staff Writer
The lobby of the New Westminster campus was packed on Thursday, November 21 as Douglas College hosted students for its annual International Day celebration. A similar event took place two days prior at the David Lam campus in Coquitlam. Douglas College has a proud reputation of attracting many international students from all corners of the globe, and the event proudly showcased the diversity of the Douglas College community.
The crowded concourse saw students make their way through the booths and stages on display. Over 30 booths were set up around the area, and there was representation from all around the world, from First Nations to Malawi culture, and as far away as Japan and Kazakhstan.
The exhibits presented students and attendees with the opportunity to learn more about the cultural icons of different countries. Several booths featured alphabets or phrases of the culture’s native language and taught a few sample words to visitors. Many others featured small trinkets or objects commonly associated with their culture, such as Russian nesting dolls or origami from Japan. A few tables even featured screens with music videos or shows that are culturally relevant—perhaps the most memorable being the international hit “Gangnam Style” from South Korea.
A makeshift tea and coffee house was set up in the concourse, featuring a variety of hot drinks from around the world as well as many types of popular snacks from a number of different countries. Candy, dried fruit, chips, and carbonated drinks—some directly imported—were all made available.
The Douglas Students’ Union (DSU), the organizers of the festivities, also took the opportunity to plug some of their initiatives, including an information booth for the International Student Identity Card (ISIC). All full-time students at Douglas College are eligible to benefit from the perks associated with the ISIC, including substantial travel discounts through the Canadian Federation of Students. The ISIC is valid all around the world and offers discounts and exclusives. By simply filling out a form and getting your picture taken, you could get registered and have the card mailed to you shortly thereafter.
Tables were also available advertising the many exchange programs offered by Douglas College. These all involved travelling to a different country for internships, jobs, or studies. Some programs were just for the summer while others involved working for an entire year on a student visa. Former and current participating students and teachers were available to provide more information.
In addition to showcasing cultural exhibits, International Day featured a variety of live performances. In the morning, lessons were taught to anyone willing to try bhangra and salsa dancing. Throughout the event, there was dancing, singing, and music representing various countries.
As with all DSU events, representatives were there to answer questions and explain the activities and rules. There was a contest available to students to win valuable prizes, including Canucks tickets, a night at a hotel downtown, and a tablet. To enter, students had to actively participate in International Day through “passports” that were provided at the DSU table. The passports were to be stuck with stickers and signed by eight separate booths at the event, indicating that the student had fully involved themselves in the activities. The passport could then be entered into the draw for prizes.