See the world in a day at FIUTS CulturalFest

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The 2014 FIUTS CulturalFest will feature booths celebrating 35 different global cultures. (Photo by UW Admissions/Morgan Dusatko)
The 2014 FIUTS CulturalFest will feature booths celebrating 35 different global cultures. (Photo by UW Admissions/Morgan Dusatko)

For the past three months, my days have been really long: First there’s meetings, then shopping, then…dance practice.

Those long days can only mean one thing: it’s almost time for CulturalFest.

When I first walked into the FIUTS office back in 2011, I had no idea that it would transform the next three years of my life. I had no idea that I would spend months adding dance practice to the end of my already busy days.

But from the moment I first heard about it, I knew I wanted to be part of CulturalFest. So I walked in the door that day a newly arrived UW student, and I walked out the captain of the Chilean booth for CulturalFest. This was my chance to travel the world in a day, and to share my culture with the UW community.

The author's group from their first year at CulturalFest. (Photo courtesy of Rodrigo Cardenas)
The author’s group from their first year at CulturalFest. (Photo courtesy of Rodrigo Cardenas)

On the first day of the festival, we hosted an amazing booth about Chilean culture. I contacted my Chilean friends and we created a display that included music, dance, traditional outfits, musical instruments, information about Chile, and small presents for the kids who attended.

That first year we gave away handmade pinwheels. Last year we did small statues of Moais from Easter Island (did you know that Easter Island belongs to Chile?!). And we had a blast. Interacting with the kids, students, teachers, and the Seattle community made us feel so proud of our work.

I remember that our booth was like a party. Cesar and Rodrigo, two students at UW, played and sang traditional songs from Chile with the students; Camila danced the traditional dance, and Rukmini, Marisol and Roxana played with the kids and talked to them about my country. We had a crowd, all day long. It couldn’t have been better!

But that day wasn’t all. The following evening, it was time for the Cultural Fest Showcase, where performers from around the globe perform dances and songs, enchanting the audience with their culture.

he FIUTS CulturalFest Performance Showcase brings the best University of Washington artists, musicians, singers, dancers, and choreographers from around the world to the stage. (Photo by UW Admissions/Morgan Dusatko)
The FIUTS CulturalFest Performance Showcase brings the best University of Washington artists, musicians, singers, dancers, and choreographers from around the world to the stage. (Photo by UW Admissions/Morgan Dusatko)

With my Chilean folklore group, we presented four dances representing the culture from Southern Chile. And we did it as pros! We rehearsed for this event for over three months, and had new outfits made for this event – as a friend of mine would say “high quality performance”. And she wasn’t wrong. I do not want to sound biased, but she was right…not only about us, but about all of the remaining nine groups in the show.

Personally, the most exciting moment of the evening was being on stage, under the spotlights, feeling the music, and dancing the traditional dances with pride and energy to captivate. We were making the audience fall in love with our culture. And I think we did it well because the applause was the most rewarding gift we received that night.

After that first year, I knew I had to do it again.

This Friday and Saturday we’re coming back for a third time! We have brand new surprises in store that highlight cultural and geographical aspects of our country will be at the booths. And of course we have fabulous dances for the showcase on Saturday night.

Right now, on the eve of my third year at CulturalFest, I know all those long days and nights will be worth it. This is my favorite event of the year. I can’t wait.

Sponsor Post

Attend CulturalFest 2015

International Expo
Thursday, February 26th, 10:30am-3:00pm
University of Washington Husky Union Building (HUB)

  • Featuring activities, arts and crafts, games, and hands-on learning opportunities for the whole family. International students and volunteers share insights into their cultures and countries.
  • Free & open to the public.

Performance Showcase
University of Washington Meany Hall
Saturday, February 28th, 7:00pm

  • Performance art from all over the world.
  • Buy tickets online here! Discount tickets for students ($10) are available in person in the FIUTS office, HUB 206.

Reception & Silent Auction
University of Washington Meany Hall
Saturday, February 28th, 5:00pm

  • An opportunity to support FIUTS cultural and educational programs.
  • Buy tickets online here! Discount tickets for students ($10) are available in person in the FIUTS office, HUB 206.

CulturalFest is an annual celebration of the diversity and talent that international students bring to the University of Washington campus and community. It is produced by FIUTS (Foundation for International Understanding Through Students), an independent non-profit organization founded at the University of Washington in 1948. FIUTS connects students to local and global communities through programs that build international awareness, cross-cultural communication, and informed leadership.

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