Beyond Borders Club Hosts 5th Annual InterNation Celebration


Photo by Madaline Stevens

Lane Barton

The fifth annual InterNation Celebration was held in Reid Ballroom on Feb. 20, providing a space for Whitman students and community members to embrace the wide range of cultures on campus.

The InterNation Celebration includes various performances highlighting the talents of those involved and was hosted by Beyond Borders Club (BBC) with support from the Intercultural Center, ASWC and a variety of other clubs on campus.

“The InterNation [Celebration] is a platform where people can show the dances, music [or] clothing from whatever nation or culture they want to present–often it’s their own culture,” said junior Faith Nyakundi, a member of BBC.

This year’s edition of InterNation Celebration featured 11 different performances and a fashion show, with first-year Dorothy Mukasa and senior Annie Boyenneh serving as emcees to introduce each set. The performances ranged from dance numbers, such as those by Irish Dance Club River Rince and Club Latin@, to musical numbers frequently involving either traditional instruments or songs.

Another inclusion in the lineup was a skit by members of BBC, which involved a girl trying to understand various conversations in different languages through an online translation tool, poking fun at the common inaccuracies of such devices. The conclusion, in which the girl eventually speaks to the others in person and discovers they can converse, provided an important lesson about communicating with those around you.

“They actually have a conversation with each other…that conversation marked another step of understanding one another instead of relying too much on technology and creating our own technology bubble that separates ourselves from the person that is sitting right next to us,” said senior Phuong Le, a participant in the skit.

For others, the fashion show in which approximately 15 people got the opportunity to present traditional clothing that they may not frequently wear on campus was an excellent window into the diverse backgrounds of people on campus.

“I think [the fashion show] was the best part–you see your friends in a different light, in that even though we don’t get to live in that culture every day, there’s something special and unique that we’ve probably missed about them. That was a really unique part of the entire show…and being able to see my friends embracing their culture was really cool,” Mukasa said.

For all the artistry and glamor that may be associated with such performances, the cohesion and continuity of the InterNation Celebration also demonstrates that the talents of international students and other performers extend to that of bringing parts of the community together.

“I would not say that my opinion represents the rest of BBC, but as a performer the hope behind this is to show that there are a lot more to international students that we can bring to campus and actually get people from different cultural groups already on campus together–that we’re not just a set of numbers for diversity’s sake,” Le said.

All of these exceptional talents, whether in terms of performances or organizational and collaborative unity, are key reasons why the InterNation Celebration has become an annual tradition and a wonderful event for anyone to experience.

“It’s always amazing how much unique talent [there is]…you’ll definitely see something or hear something or watch something that you would have never been exposed to and you might learn something new,” Nyakundi said.