May 20, 2019

Students celebrate culture at iFest

“Back home we don’t have events like this,” Vietnamese student Du Le said. “Everybody here treats me like their friend or family and we all dance with each other.” 

Story by Alyssa Quinonez

Webster’s International Festival, iFest, transformed the Grant Gym into a world dance party April 12. The Multicultural Center and International Student Affairs (MCISA) brought different countries and cultures together with cuisine and music from all over the world.

Sophomore Dylan Pert-Smith arrived at iFest with his Webster St. Louis friends and interacted with students from the Ghana campus. Pert-Smith grew a fascination for African culture and music after spending a semester studying abroad in Ghana, Africa

DJ Nune played a variety of cultural music at the annual iFest. Photo by Ryan Gines.

last Spring.

“It was fun to see my non-African friends dancing with my African friends. Especially to songs that had become my favorites while I studied abroad.”

MCISA Assistant Director Bethany Keller hired DJ Nune for this event because of his eye in international pop music.

“We hired him for the way he see recognizes ideas and rhythm in music in order to bring people together across cultures,” Keller said “There really isn’t somebody in St. Louis that brings that kind of world fusion mix to music.”

MCISA assigned students with different international backgrounds to help figure out what type of music is popular in certain countries.

Marko Torres, a freshman from Peru, helped with the Spanish section for the playlist. Torres found it difficult and time consuming to find Spanish trap music that did not contain any sort of explicit content for the event.

“In the end I am happy that everyone enjoyed the selection that I worked so hard for,” Torres said.

Students dance to live DJ set under disco ball lights in the Grant Gymnasium. MCISA, the Confucius Institute and the Assocation of African Students sponsored the event.

Vietnamese international student Duc Le danced in the center of the dance circle as the crowd cheered him on.

“Back home we don’t have events like this,” Le said “We don’t have parties. It’s a completely different culture. Everybody here treats me like their friend or family, and we all dance with each other.”

Freshman Larry Hearn, a member of the Association of African American Collegians, got on the dance floor and started a student-wide conga line.

“I thought it would be a great idea to start a conga line just to make sure the students who didn’t dance got a chance to enjoy themselves and leave with a good memory of the night,” Hearn said.

If students weren’t dancing to the “Cha Cha Slide,” they were snacking on food from Eastern Asia, Latin America, the Middle East or Europe.

International student Kurumi Nakae from Japan listened to the pop music underneath the Eastern Asia tent while serving Japanese stuffed rice balls.

“I love that all of these countries can come together under one roof for this event,” Nakae said.

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