International Week 2017: Arts, Crafts and Dances Workshop
A part of Phi Beta Delta Honor Society‘s International Week, “Cross-cultural Arts, Dances, and Crafts” in Tuesday, Feb 21 gathered AUBG students, faculty and staff for the event’s annual workshop. The interactive class is one of International Week’s traditional events and creates a way of sharing diverse cultural experiences. Some of the highlights of the night were origami, henna tattoos, Martenitsa and Turkish jewelry workshops, Georgian and Mongolian writing as well as Georgian, Bulgarian and Greek dance classes.
The first workshop appeared during the International Week in 2011 and the idea was to bring a fun and interactive platform where students can share their cross-cultural skills according to one of the organizers. There are no limits to the people who could show or create, as long as they could pitch the idea to the organizing team.
“And every year we do something different, depending on who we can find to teach and to show us something,” said Radosveta Miltcheva, Coordiantor in Conferences, Institutes & External Events Office of AUBG. “One year we had Japanese silk drawing and knitting. But we always have origami and Turkish jewelry. The planning of it is organic, its natural.”
According to the organizing team, the arts and crafts represented in the workshops are not necessarily constrained to the cultures or countries represented in AUBG. They encourage students to participate with any idea or skill that can be included in the event.
“We always send out an email to all students, so everyone who wants to show us any kind of art and craft that they want,” also said Miltcheva. “That’s how we get the good stuff. One year we had paper sculptures. We had a girl who can do these cities out of paper. That’s not culture-specific or country-specific. But it was amazing.”
Surprisingly, AUBG students have a lot to share about their interests and hobbies. Anastasiya Kolvakh, a fourth-year student in AUBG, majoring in Computer Science and Information Systems was drawing henna tattoos during the event. In respect to her unusual hobby, she commented that AUBG students are not defined by their majors and they can have many different hobbies and interests that others do not know about.
“Doesn’t mean that COS people are different, we also have our own hobbies – some of us like drawing, some of us do a lot of sports, some of us like performing arts,” said Kolvakh. “We have such a great opportunity to introduce this very traditional Indian art to everybody in AUBG. Why not? I think it’s a good idea.”
While some people participated in the various art workshops, others put their dancing shoes on and took the stage for the Georgian, Greek and Bulgarian dances. In a short amount of time, students had the opportunity to learn simple steps and choreography for some of the traditional national dances in those countries.
“So we kind of came randomly with my roommate, because we have a tutorial session after this,” said Nikola Toshev, a third-year student in AUBG. “And we saw the dances and we were like: “Why not?” We didn’t know what to expect. But the Georgian teacher Zura Pertsuliani made the workshop really nice and fun. And we enjoyed ourselves. This semester, for me personally, has been a bit tougher, but easy going in how I handle it. So I am really happy that we have events like this.”
While the International Week is a way to promote diversity and respect for other cultures, it also is a way to unite students from the respective countries represented during the week-long events. According to Anastasiya Kolvakh, this kind of events are a way for students who are away from their families, home, and country to remember their cultural traditions, and also share them with the world. According to Kolvakh, a representative of the Ukranian community in AUBG, this is the time when people feel closer to home.
But International Week is the time when everybody is uniting,” said Kolvakh. “And by everybody I mean people from other cultures and countries and people from my own Ukrainian community. For us Ukrainians, it’s a really great chance to get together and do something together, show it to the people and say: “Hey, this is what we can do. Even though we are not at home, this is who we are. This is what our culture is. It brings pride and it brings satisfaction to all of us. And it is really great to share something with people who are here, who have never visited your country.”
The International Week continued with AUBG Got Talent on Friday, Feb. 24 and the culmination of the celebrations with the traditional International Taste Fest today, Feb. 25.
“We had a panel discussion, country challenge, and our favorite event – the AUBG Got Talent show,” also said Miltcheva. “We know that they are gearing up. Professor Lucci is going to be the host again, I think for the third year in a row. So it’s going to be amazing. And of course, the International Taste Fest which is going to be on Saturday which is the culmination of the International Week.”