In this year’s International Festival, International Club brought students more food and entertainment from around the globe than ever before. As soon as the clock struck five, students, faculty and local families swarmed into the mailroom for the annual food festival. Greeted by arches of green and blue balloons, the pulsing rhythm of international tunes and the mouthwatering smell of different cuisines, everyone was eager to enjoy a flavorful meal. The Asian cuisines proved to be some of the most popular meals at the food festival. These included Andover Korean Society’s spicy and distinct dishes, which sold out within the first hour of the festival, and Andover Japanese Connection’s onigiri rice balls, which disappeared into the desperate mouths of students in the first twenty minutes. “I mainly bought Asian food because it’s pretty hard to find good Asian food around here at Andover, and I’ve been craving it for a long time,” said Gabriele Fisher ’13 as she munched on her plate of spicy tofu from Chinese Taiwanese Student Association. In addition to main dishes, buttery and sugary baked treats also sprinkled the other tables. Nalani Oines ’12 prepared delicate snowflake-shaped cookies called “Rosettes,” which originate from Norway. Emilia Figliomeni ‘14 baked a plate of golden brown savoiardi, a soft Italian biscotti. “It’s a family recipe from my family in Southern Italy in Calabria,” said Figliomeni. The food festival gave many international students the opportunity to reach home through the enjoyment that comes from making their national cuisines. Adza Tarka ’13 from Nigeria and her host sister, Gina Sawaya ’13, cooked six different Arabic dishes, ranging from savory meat pies and esfihas, to fried plantains. In addition, the food festival offered scrumptious dishes from Haiti, Cuba, India, and Germany, as well as familiar donated food from Papa Gino’s, Golden Chopsticks and India Bazaar, providing a truly diverse array of dishes. “I always look forward to [the Food Festival] because it’s a great gathering and it’s a great way of learning about other cuisines too,” said Christopher Walter, Instructor in Music. With their stomachs full and satisfied, people began to head to Kemper Auditorium for the greatly anticipated International Fashion and Talent Show. Despite slight delays before the performance began, International Club jumped straight into the first act, the fashion show. Glimmering qi-paos, which are Chinese dresses for girls, bell shaped Korean dresses, crisp African clothes from Ghana, Kenya and South Africa, flouncing Filipino, Jamaican and Colombian dresses and a Spanish suit, reminiscent of bull fighting garb, were highlights of the runway. International Club’s fashion show coordinator, Aube Rey Lescure ’11, said, “Clothing is usually really beautiful, and presenting these meaningful and traditional designs and colors is a way to show the cultures of the world.” Following the display of international fashion, Patrick Brady ’11 and Andrew Schlager ’12 kicked off the Talent Show as MCs, creating a humorous and entertaining environment for the audience between the performances. Combining American stepping and Spanish music, Andover’s SLAM opened the talent show with a dramatic and rhythmic “Egoista,” a Spanish song. In contrast, Jenny Zeng ’13 performed a Chinese piece, “Liu Yang He,” on the Guzheng, a traditional Chinese instrument. As the distinct sound and resonating music came to a close, the audience erupted in huge cheers. “I’ve always heard that kind of music,” said Olivia Lord ’13, “but I’ve never been able to see the instrument it’s played on, and I thought that was really cool.” Next Mimi Tanski ’11 sang “Quelqu’un M’a Dit,” a French song, as she strummed her guitar, creating a mellow but harmonious blend of tones. Similarly, Manuel Fernandez ’11 performed the warm “Sevilla Tiene Un Color Especial,” a Sevillian folklore piece, while strumming his guitar. “You could see tonight when [students] were singing their songs that they were at home. A moment on stage like this really brings them back to where they come from,” said Susanne Torabi, Advisor to International Students and Faculty Advisor to International Club. A definite highlight of the International Festival was the Irish step dancing performed by Graydon Tope ’14. Even though Tope was not able to use her Irish dancing hard-shoes, she still captivated the audience with her animated high kicks and fast feet. Afterwards, Oscar Chim ’13 and Iman Masmoudi ’14 sang “Lawn Eiounak,” an Arabic duet. Although the audience could hear the voices of the original singers in the music, they remained supportive and clapped enthusiastically at the end of the piece. Vidush Mahansaria ’12 said, “I loved the fact that everyone respected the performers regardless of the act.” The talent show presented several musical numbers. Linda Blanken ’11 played “Pink Panther” on the alto saxophone while the audience snapped to the beat, and Ayaka Shinozaki ’13 and Fernandez played “Japanish Duet.” However, “international” did not exclude the United States. Jorge Piccole ’14 blew the audience away with his Michael Jackson dances, as he managed to pull off many of Jackson’s signature moves such as the moonwalk. Hugely popular with the audience, the Illuminati performed one of their routines using glowsticks. Then a capella group Rhapsodies in Blue sang “Vois Sur Ton Chemin,” and Azure and the Yorkies sang “In the Name of Love.” These a capella groups added a taste of Andover flair into the night’s events. As a prelude to the finale, Drumline entered Kemper Auditorium thunderously, playing amidst strobe lights. To buoyantly close the International Festival, a group of Uppers danced to “Waka Waka” a song sung by Shakira for this year’s FIFA World Cup. Towards the end of their dance, they invited performers and models to join them on the stage, creating an almost party-like finale. This ending represented the diversity of Andover students, as well as their unity. “Andover is really just a medley and combination of a lot of cultures, and I think the talent show really showed that well,” said Alessandra Powell ’11, one of the co-heads of International Club. Though the delicious food festival, dazzling fashion show and talent show entertained the audience, the International Festival also served as an experience to learn. Torabi said, “The reason we are doing cultural events like [International Festival] is also for [everyone] to see what other people’s cultures are and to learn from one another and to be more open to it.” “This [learning experience] shouldn’t just be a cultural event, or a festival – it should be happening everywhere on campus. People have to have this openness to talk to one another and learn from one another,” she said.