It was USF's first International Festival, and staged as part of
the university's commitment to bringing its domestic and foreign
cohorts together. International students, many from INTO USF,
thronged the lawns outside the Marshall Student Center and
displayed dances, food and dress from their cultures.
Maria Crummett, the USF Dean of International Affairs, said:
'Many of our [domestic] students will never be able to travel, so
by us bringing the world to them, they get a snapshot, a taste of
what it means to interact with someone from Venezuela, South
Africa, Ghana, Saudi Arabia, you name it.'
Every INTO USF student played a part in the fair, having
prepared for the event over the previous four weeks in class. All
presented exhibitions and displays, representing over 40 countries
in the process.
Students from China, Saudi Arabia, Venezuela, Colombia and Japan
also performed. Of note was the Fisherman's Dance performed by
Japanese students, as well as the flag parade in which many INTO
students got to carry their nation's flag.
INTO USF Director for Student Support, Ariadne Miranda, said:
'It was important for INTO USF to be part of this… Our students
felt very proud to represent their countries on the day. They are
real ambassadors of their countries in the US.'
The positive global image of events like the International
Festival is likely to help USF increase its international student
population, which fell after the September 11th terrorist attacks
but has begun to rise again in recent years.
The University's partnership with INTO has contributed to this
turnaround, and looks set to increase the foreign intake
significantly. This year alone the University has welcomed 125
nationalities to the campus.