Talent show contestants pose on stage. The top three winners were Yi Ning, Ravi Baldota, and Sammy Ramirez.

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Bursts of laughter and chatter in several languages filled the room. Forks and knives clinked over steaming Indian curry, Turkish baklava and American chicken wings. Friends and strangers huddled in for pictures in front of a “Flight Around the World” themed backdrop.

The International Spring Banquet brought a full house to the University Christian Church on Feb. 19.

The banquet, hosted by the International Student Association (ISA), featured a talent show, traditional dress fashion walk and cultural food. Fifteen countries, including India, Thailand, Mexico, Vietnam and the U.S., were represented at the banquet.

The lights dimmed as guests settled back into their seats. The show was about to begin.

The Talent Show

Most of the night centered around ten talent acts.

American and International students entertained the audience with mostly vocal and instrumental pieces. Audience members enjoyed cultural meals during the show and voted on their three favorite acts.

First place winner Yi Ning won the crowd with an English rendition of the Korean track “Nobody.”

As she belted out the final chorus, the audience exploded into applause and rose to their feet in a standing ovation.

Out of breath after her performance, Ning told the audience she chose the song because she thought it would be interesting for a Chinese girl to sing an originally Korean song.

Another crowd-pleaser was a ukulele-toting songwriter.

Sammy Ramirez, a junior history major who came in third place, sang an original song called “Falling” while strumming his ukulele. He taught himself to play the instrument, he told the audience, only two weeks before taking it to the stage.

The lyrics alternated between Spanish and English, he said, to “add a little culture” for the occasion.

Ramirez talked about his love for TCU’s international community and the friendships he’s formed. He said he participates in many cultural organizations when he can and hopes more people get involved in organizations like ISA.

“They want to get out there and they want to share their culture,” Ramirez said.

The Fashion Show

Chinese brocade robes, a Pakistani kurta and Mexican dresses bounded past tables toward the stage strutting their vibrant outfits to the cheering crowd.

On this night, comfort colors were out of style.

Fourteen students showcased traditional clothing from their respective countries like Ghana, Pakistan, USA, China and Mexico.

Janvier Rutsobe and Claudine Mukanyamwasa wore ceremonial African clothes to represent Rwanda.

Mukanyamwasa said her dress is for formal events in her country, such as festivals and weddings. She said she was very excited to model in the fashion show.

“It’s just to show that we are Rwandese and we are here at TCU,” she said.

Offstage

TCU students and Fort Worth community members mingled before and after the shows, congratulating participants and taking pictures at the flight-themed
photo booth.

Van Do, president of ISA, said she wanted American and International students to get to know each other. She said the banquet is a way for people to learn more about countries outside of America.

The president said the banquet was a success.

“When I looked at the room, I see the diversity from each table and that makes me really happy,” Do said.