Tuesday, February 16, 2010

"Going Around the World with Culture"

For one night only, my students ditched their jilbabs, conservative clothing and university jackets to model different fashions from around the world at UNG’s second annual cultural show, which marked the culmination of a semester of CCU classes. My co-teacher, who taught the final 8 weeks of Cross Cultural Understanding, supervised the production of this magnificent all-day event. The first part of the day was filled with a lunchtime sampling of international foods from Indonesia, America, Korea, Japan, India and Saudi Arabia while the second part of the day consisted of wonderfully choreographed and costumed song and dance numbers. I was invited to watch the performances and was even given my own costume for the night – a traditional Gorontalese wedding dress!

A real highlight for me was seeing some of my most conservative students break out into a choreographed hip-hop routine to the Black Eyed Peas’ song Boom Boom Pow. It was a fun surprise to see Mary, a shy, jilbab wearing girl who sweetly smiles at me in class, suddenly standing on stage in a tracksuit, wearing a sideways twisted baseball cap and a hardened “don’t mess with me” look on her face. There were also some great martial arts displays by students dressed as Japanese ninjas. They did a couple of very technical numbers and then, in the middle of one number, the music suddenly changed to that old 80s one-hit-wonder, “Hey Mickey”, and the ninjas started pirouetting and doing other flouncy, girly dances. It was great!

Here's a picture of me with the "Indonesia" food group. Notice how most are wearing their batik!

And here's a picture of me in my Gorontalese wedding dress. To my right are students modeling other wedding dresses from Java, Sumatra and South Sulawesi.

Post-show, my ninjas struck a pose just for me!

It was a really fun night. I may have been horrified by my CCU students’ writing skills, but they are wonderful, funny, and kind people and I really look forward to having them for another semester. Plus, I’ll have them for Writing III, so I plan to set a few things straight!


  1. Those are some energetic students! Did anyone take videos and, if so, will they be posting them to YouTube? I'm a bit surprised that even here in Chicago with ample high-speed Internet, few students (or teachers) seem to upload videos. I've only done a very few.

    Where did students get the recipes for the international food? Are there teachers from those countries teaching there in Gorontalo?

  2. I don't know where the students got the recipes from. The American group made a fruit salad with mayonnaise and cheese! I don't think I've ever tried that in America... On the plus side, I found out that there's a Middle Eastern restaurant in Gorontalo. Who knew?

  3. It can be fun to get double foreign food, ie foreign food when in a foreign country. In Merida, Mexico there's a sizeable Lebanese community and when I got eager for a break from comida nacional, I'd go to a restaurant for baba ganoush, kibbeh, etc. Is the place in Gorontalo Levantine, Maghrebi, pan-Arab, Iranian?