SPEA’s International Night is an annual event in spring, hosted by the Master’s Program Office, SPEA Overseas Education Program/Institute for Development Strategies, International Public Affairs Association (IPAA), Returned Peace Corps Volunteers (RPCVs) and the International Student Community. This event also engages practicum students from the Masters in Arts Administration in planning and organizing.
International Night is truly a great way to appreciate the diversity of experiences held by SPEA students. Undergraduates interested in Peace Corps service are able to learn from those who have returned, faculty and administrators can see their students outside of the classroom, but most importantly, students can relax and mingle with each other in a stress-free atmosphere.
We are proud to say we have around 150-200 guests including faculty, staff, administrators, and students of all levels, and around 16 countries represented this year. The countries ranged from China, Vietnam, and Mongolia to Belize, Panama, and Peru, all the way to Rwanda and Guatemala. Representatives are encouraged to dress in their host country or their native country’s apparel. Throughout the night students are free to move from table to table learning about the pervious service of their peers and different culture and arts around the world.
The diverse international students group at SPEA, in conjunction with Returned Peace Corps Volunteers, put on an evening filled with food, performances, and fellowship. We choose different hosting venues each year. In the past, it has been at the IU Art Museum, where you get a chance to have a closer look at the available art. This year, the Indiana Memorial Union provided a sophisticated space for socializing and networking. Another distinguishing highlight of the event is that we accepted recipes from students of their favorite international food, and catering prepared them to serve during the evening. The recipe book is available for anyone to download, as well.
The evening is also filled with performances by various individuals and student groups. The Chinese Calligraphy Group and different dancing groups take an active part in our event each year. The international students at SPEA contributed many performances to the night as well, such as a lute performance. Student artists in the Arts Administration program present talent shows varying from British songs to Chinese Guzheng.
SPEA’s International Night is a notoriously popular event with attendance growing every year. As any good SPEA student would note, the trend is for the event to continue to grow as word of mouth spreads and also as the student body grows. The involvement of culture centers and institutes around the campus, including Center for Latin American and Caribbean Studies, Polish Studies Center, Inner Asian Uralic National Resource Center, Russian and East European Institute and Institute for European Studies, also helps to highlight all the diversity present on our campus and in our SPE community.