With students from 47 countries, Columbia College is an international hit.
A visible shudder ripples through the crowd of about 100 students, faculty and staff as the tall female, presumably American, student, whacks a noticeably shorter Japanese student on the head with a really big stick.
She gets him on the chest, too – but is he grinning?
It's hard to tell, because he's in full Budo (a Japanese martial art) regalia: a white robe, hood, cushioned face mask and a sparkly blue, slightly dented chest protector. He's all smiles when she steps off the stage, though.
The hair-raising demonstration is part of Columbia College's International Extravaganza, a celebration of all that is international at the college, held in Dorsey Gym in late September. With students from 47 countries, stepped up international student recruitment and an agreement with Kongju National University, Kongju, South Korea, which supplies the college with many new Korean students annually, CC has become a truly international college.
For example: Sports at the college have traditionally been a haven for student-athletes, but 2009's men's soccer may be the most international yet, with players from Tokyo; Glasgow, Scotland; Serbia; Brazil; Stokesley, England; Melbourne, Australia; and St. George's, Grenada.
Posters and displays from 16 nations hung on the track overlooking the historic gym from such reliable Columbia College student nations as China, Japan, Korea, Kenya and Nepal (a sizeable contingent from the rugged Himalayan nation attends the college's Aurora, Colo., campus), but also from Nigeria, Bolivia, Bulgaria, Ethiopia and Kyrgyzstan.
The extravaganza also featured tiny young women in Áo Dài, traditional Vietnamese floor-length dresses, singing a pop song and Anton Lukyanov, an international business and premed major from Barnaul in south Siberia, played a recording of "Katyusha," a sad World War II song about a girl pining for her beloved, away in military service.
Did we mention the food? Everyone ate very well -- thanks, Ameriserve! -- on:
- Salad with feta cheese from Greece
- Bourbon chicken (Bourbon chicken? Most of CC's students do come from the U.S.)
- Bulgoki and kimchi from Korea
- Sushi from Japan
- Spring rolls from Vietnam
- Fluffy, delicious long-grained Basmati rice from India
- African chicken with peanut sauce
- For dessert, flan from Mexico, baklava from Greece and peach cobbler (USA!)
"Once I got involved in the campus life here, and saw how warm and friendly Columbia College was, I really loved it," he says. "It's a better place, for me, than the university." Lukyanov says he hopes to secure a business internship after graduation, perhaps in New York, which is not always so warm and friendly.
Unity in the Community and The International Club sponsored the international extravaganza. The event was originally scheduled for the Lee Room of Dulany Hall, but was transferred to the larger Dorsey Gym because of the number of RSVPs.
Visit the college's international student site at http://www.ccis.edu/day/international/. Find out more about Unity in the Community.