COISO international week celebrates cultural diversity at UM

COISO member runs the bangle toss at the COISO Asia Night on April 12, 2024 at lakeside patio. Photo credit: Sophia Metzner

The Council of International Students and Organizations (COISO) recently brought its annual week-long celebration dedicated to embracing the cultural diversity of UM’s campus.

On Apr. 8, from 7:00 to 9:00 p.m., the student organization kicked off International Week with COISO Fest at Lakeside Patio.

COISO’s mission is to integrate international students into campus life and spread cultural awareness, forging connections across communities and bringing light to UM’s commitment as an international university.

“I think there is only one other person from my country in this school, but they were able to make me feel like I am at home, even though I’m not,” said Uyanga Erdenebayar, co-chair of Asia Night.

After the opening day’s festivities, COISO hosted four themed nights throughout the rest of the week showcasing native food, dance workshops and prizes. The four nights included Latin America and Caribbean Night; Middle East and Europe Night; Africa Night and Asia Night.

On Latin America Night, students participated in a salsa and bachata workshop taught by Latin dance club UFuerza. Students were seen joyfully dancing in pairs and immersing themselves in Latin music.

Additionally, students had the opportunity to get creative with Aztec woven bracelets under the guidance of Lucha Latina. After a variety of activities to educate the participants about Latin culture, they were offered free food that included empanadas, tacos, tres leches, caramel flan and an assortment of South American sodas.

“What I am looking forward to is really immersing the UM students into Latin American culture, seeing as Miami is always an extension of that,” said Laura Garcia, freshman chair of COISO.

During the Middle East and Europe Night, students found themselves practicing a new language, writing their name in Arabic and watching belly dancing.

The festivities continued on Africa Night, where students were immersed in cultural dances and music. COISO provided baklava pastries to further introduce the culture to all of the students attending.

On Apr. 12, COISO hosted its last event of the week, Asia Night, which involved activities like having names written in Korean and K-Pop memory games.

Wangming, a member, and Jiahao Zhang, Vice-President, of the Chinese Students and Scholars Association set up a table to present their country.

The table was filled with different objects as a challenge for participants to learn to use chopsticks. The menu for the night also included dishes from vegetable lo mein, sesame chicken, fried dumplings and fried spring rolls.

“We’re excited to share our culture using chopsticks. It’s part of the culture because we are Chinese and we use chopsticks to eat instead of forks and knives, so I’m very excited to just teach people and let them try it out,” said Wangming, member of the University of Miami Chinese Students and Scholars Association.

I-week was concluded with the Closing Ceremonies held on April 13. COISO celebrated the hard work and creativity of their members throughout the week.

“I think events such as I-week are so fun and important in order to expose people to different cultures to gain a broader perspective on the world. I had such a good time at Asia Night, learning about the cultures and values,” said Elise Roman, junior Marine Policy major.