Claire Allison McGuire

Contributing Writer

“There’s no place like home” has been a sentiment echoed for decades, but for international students, Wooster, Ohio, does not quite fit the definition. Perhaps that is why the annual Culture Show is one of the liveliest events here at the College. The event is a part of International Education Week, an initiative by the U.S. Department of State and the U.S. Department of Education to promote global engagement. Held at McGaw Chapel on Nov. 11, the Culture Show celebrated a multitude of cultures, with performances by the Wooster Pipe Band, the Chasing International Dance Team, Blackbirds Irish Dance team, classical Indian dancers, the Chinese Students and Scholars Association, the Ballroom Dance Club, Impact Scholars, VINAGANG, Latinas Unidas, the South Asia Committee and the African Students Union.

Walking into the chapel, you could feel the intensity of the event right away as people were cheering, waving flags and speaking with strangers and friends alike. The chapel, nearly full, was alive. As the performances went on, the energy did not falter, but strengthened as students, faculty, staff and community members in the audience supported this show of community and diversity.

“This was my first time performing of the past three years they have held the Culture Show,” said Giselle Rivera ’24, of her experience dancing with Latinas Unidas. “It felt great to share my culture with all of the student body and I love learning to dance folklórico. It was a great bonding experience with people who share my culture, too.” 

Another performer, Avni Benjamin ’27, enjoyed her performance with the South Asia Committee. “Dancing in the Culture Show was so, so much fun!” she said. “I loved learning about all the different cultures and dances, some of which I took part in.”

The performers were not the only ones to have fun at the Culture Show. Adelita ’26 shared, “It’s my favorite event of the year because you get to see all the different groups on campus and it’s super high energy. My friend and I actually lost our voices from cheering so much.” And that is precisely the energy of the Culture Show: cheers, gasps, laughs, pride in the performers’ culture. Comedy, traditional music and cultural dances create a range of entertainment through which the College of Wooster student body can learn and share what makes each of us, us.

For international students, homesickness — a typical part of the college experience — can feel amplified. Holidays, family gatherings and birthdays are not just a short drive away, as is the case for so many Wooster students. For those who have left their home countries in pursuit of an education, the Culture Show provides a space where they can embrace, remember and celebrate where they came from. This event is the epitome of what makes the College of Wooster what it is; the community of diverse, independent thinkers from diverse and independent backgrounds is the heart of our educational experience. If there is one thing to learn from the Culture Show (though there are many), it is that we as a College need to embrace, appreciate and encourage the diversity in our community.