International Festival 2013: Connections and Beginnings

Apr 26, 2013 (Fri.)

On a clear Sunday in April that was once shrouded with doubts about the quality of the weather, the second annual International Festival was held successfully at Kurumazuka Park.

Constructed based on the lessons learned from the previous year, the festival was simpler in design so that it would not be as vulnerable to the strong gusts, and featured more chances to build connections through language and cultural interaction between more than three hundred Japanese participants and over one hundred and twenty international volunteers and staff members.

Pictures and texts were produced on stamp rally sheets, whiteboards, Polaroid photos, and even the faces of the participants with great creativity. In the World Section – where participants and volunteers conversed freely about themselves and about the world – Polaroid cameras and whiteboards were used effectively to allow the participants to connect with the volunteers, and also to create lasting memories.

Of course, there was no shortage in physical activity and excitement through a variety of games and sports. Children were able to take turns at swinging the bat and dashing out for treats that spread through the sky in the game of Pinata, and many rounds of tag and capture the flag allowed everyone to move their bodies and come together as a team, regardless of where they were from.

At the end of the event, when the closing ceremony was held on the same stage where countless volunteers and participants danced and sang together, you could really feel a sort of warmth that was shared between everyone at the park. Sure, rain occasionally fell from the skies and the wind sent chills down many spines, but the excitement from the activities and the joy from making friends from around the world to huddle together with made everything better.

Thanks to all of our participants, photographers, equipment suppliers, staff and faculty members, and of course, our volunteers, the International Festival of 2013 was a great success.

And with the connections and new friendships that we have been able to construct between the university and the local community, we believe that this year marks a new beginning, and next year, we can create an even better event for everyone.

HU, Chia Chi,
Student Assistant, Center for International Education
Home Institution: Simon Fraser University - Canada