On Saturday night, the University of Tulsa hosted their annual international extravaganza for the campus, called the International Night Market, serving tastes from all around the world, with over 350 of TU’s community in attendance. This event stood in place of the International Bazaar that has been a tradition and favorite of many; it fostered many collaborations across the inter-cultural active organizations on campus, such as Latin American Student Association, Asian American Student Association, Multicultural Recreation Center, South Asian Student Association, Association of International Students and Vietnamese American Student Association.
Though the event was scheduled for the previous night on Friday, the weather had its own plans, with its thunderstorms and fierce tornado alerts, forcing for the Night Market to be rescheduled to the following night. This paved way for the event being the perfect rainbow after a brutal storm. The weather was beautiful and constituted a great evening for a dinner picnic. The programmers found the ideal way to take advantage of the outdoors to both foster a beautiful communion of the campus. It was one that’s hit the record number for events this school year, with a safe environment with pre-packaged food and social distancing.
The ambiance and atmosphere was perfect. The string lights, stage and different cultural clothing worn by many built up exhilaration for all who first stepped in, wondering what kind of experience they were in for.
There were seven tables in total hosting a variety of foods and snacks to cultural decorations from all over the world. The food highlighted tastes and appetites from all over including Latin America, various parts of Asia, France as well as international twists. This was the first in-person event for the University of Tulsa to please the masses and attract both new and familiar faces since COVID-19 hit.
After exploring from table to table seeing the artistic talent and special programming to orchestrate a table, enjoying the food, pastries and snacks that expressed cultural tastes of each country or culture, people sat down to picnic in anticipation for the performances.
While the food was a present that tendered your tastes and provoked cravings that you didn’t know you had, the performances sparked your soul. Special performances were from our beloved TU students themselves, displaying variety from many countries and respective cultures. Performances included an aerial performance on an aerial hoop, called an Iyra. Another was a performance of an Indian-Classical dance piece that the performers choreographed themselves. Indian dance often stimulates a relationship and relationship-building among the performers, seen in the friendship that was formed through dance between the two TU performers.
Other performances included a Chinese Martial Art dance, martial arts being essential to the Chinese culture. The performance combined elements of both Chinese martial arts and traditional Chinese dance, showing the unique charm of Chinese martial arts. Other performances enticed our interests with an intricate fusion of both Hindi and Telugu songs, establishing a beautiful performance of a modern twist on Bollywood music.
Those who attended felt the same awe as those who helped plan and make the event into a reality. From the decoration of the Student Union to lights on the trees around Chapman Commons that brings up memories from Homecoming festivities, the entire event had everyone absorbing the TU community spirit. The event, right before Springfest, had all the correct reminiscent points to wrap up the interesting school year that we will all remember.
There was a general consensus of strong yearning from attenders for more future events like this one. The International Night Market left the crowd reminiscent of the times pre-quarantine. Next year, perhaps they will get their wish — that events that spark such reminiscence will be the norm. One can only hope.