The 33rd annual International Dinner and Show brings 12 countries to the stage on Feb. 22 at Eastern Oregon University. Attendees journey around the world through cultural food and performances, all without leaving the Gilbert Event Center. The International Student Services Office and the International Student Association (ISA) supports students from different countries navigate living in a new area and attending EOU. Together, 18 student members of ISA will share pieces of their homes. Performances highlight cultural components from six countries. As the main feature of the show, a professional Japanese taiko group will perform. Other performances include EOU’s African Drumming Ensemble, dances from India, Cuba and the United States, and a performance that intertwines traditional Chinese dance with a calligraphy demonstration.

Events like these are another way EOU serves as a cultural engine for rural places. Assistant Director of Student Diversity and Inclusion and International Student Services Mika Morton said cultural events, “provoke conversation and act as one step of someone’s personal journey of experiencing new and different cultures.” International students prepare dishes from their home countries. The menu includes rolls from Vietnam, chakalaka from South Africa, empanadas from Argentina, onigiri rice balls from Japan, crepes from France, jollof rice from Nigeria and Jamaica iced tea from Mexico. “Food is a gateway to experiencing new cultures,” Morton said. “It introduces traditions and connects families through the history and stories shared through cooking.” Joaquin Bermejillo, an EOU soccer player from Argentina, will be preparing empanadas for the dinner. He grew up watching his father, a chef, prepare them and learned to make them from his grandma. “Empanadas are a typical food in Argentina. They are easy to make and delicious to eat,” Bermejillo said. “I am looking forward to eating everyone’s food and experiencing someone else’s culture.”

Doors open at 5 p.m., dinner will be served at 5:30 p.m. and the show starts at 6 p.m. General admissions are $12 and $10 for students. Tickets can be purchased at the event or by cash or check at the EOU bookstore or Multicultural Center, both of which are located in Hoke Union Building. For more information, contact Mika Morton at mnmorton@eou.edu.

Written by PR Intern Briana Rosenkranz.