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20th annual International Reception showcases diversity

EN Photo / Brad Young

This year’s International Reception was held Sept. 16, at 5:30 p.m. in the Cohen Center Ballroom.

It is FGCU’s longest running event and has been held at the university since 1997.

Snacks, informational booths and live music in the form of Harpist, Barbara Fischer, preceded the main event. Dr. Nicola Foote, FGCU professor and the master of ceremonies, introduced the event.

The night consisted of speeches from professors, exchange students and FGCU students that have studied abroad.

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Also included were live performances, informational slideshows about possible study-abroad locations and the introduction of Barbados into the university’s student and scholar home countries.

The night allowed for cultural appreciation, education and overall encouragement for interest in university-related international events and opportunities.

“To my fellow international students,” said Chad Moran, an international student from Jamaica. “Never be scared to share your culture because whether you’re rich, poor, from any race or background, the true richness in life is how willing you are to share your own culture. I want to say thank you to FGCU for opening up your doors (to international students). It is a remarkable opportunity to change the life of others through cultural inspiration.”

Between speeches there were performances that highlighted many cultures.

Young girls took the stage to impress the audience with their Irish dancing.

Luca Principi, an Italian international student, played piano alongside a slideshow demonstrating the beauty and uniqueness of Italy.

Pakistani student, Hafeez Ullah, followed an informative presentation on his home country with an inciting performance of a traditional Pakistani song.

“The one thing I loved about Ghana was how happy the people were,” said Evelyn Philistin. “We visited a school for the deaf and blind. And it reminded me to always find happiness even in the darkest of times. Their motto was ‘disability not inability.’ I remember crying, thinking about all the things I would worry about in America like getting a bad grade on a test, someone not texting me back, or the weather. These children had many more obstacles in their life but they still found a way to communicate with each other.”

The event ended with a speech from student-body President, Thieldens Elneus.

The 20th anniversary theme was incorporated into Elneus’ presentation, while encouraging international students to get involved with all FGCU has to offer.

“More importantly, have fun and make it the best experience you can,” Elneus said. “Take advantage of things we have on campus and be present.”

After playing an FGCUat20 video, the audience was directed into the hallway to try different kinds of international foods.

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