The first thing any international first-year hears about when they arrive on campus is the Slater Culture Show. It’s drilled into our brains from the first day of international pre-orientation as the most phenomenal night of the year. When we think of a show, we think of music and dance, lights and colors, poetry and performances. The Slater Culture Show offers all of this, and more. As a first-year, the Culture Show presented—beyond P.E. credits—an opportunity to find my place on campus. Participating in the show and bonding with my international classmates were the first real signs that I had settled in and become a part of the community.
Three years later, as a senior about to take the stage for one last round (shoutout to members of the Green class who will be trolling on stage with me), the wave of nostalgia and the warm sensation of familiarity and belonging are just as profound.
Adjusting to life the U.S. wasn’t always easy, though. It took half of my first semester at Wellesley for me to realize that 30-degree weather was nothing to be excited about; I eventually managed to train some of my American friends to tell me the temperature in degrees Celsius instead of Farenheit. That said, I still haven’t the foggiest idea what an ounce is, or why the U.S. presidential election seems to be a multi-year process. I contend with the overwhelmingly
U.S.-centric syllabi on a daily basis; often, as the sole international student in the classroom, I’m expected to represent the foreign perspective—as though there is a single, generalizable opinion. I grit my teeth and smile when people remark about how wonderful my English is.
Coming to study in the U.S., I knew I would stand out; I accepted this. Most of the time, I represent my nationality proudly. Sometimes, though, I can’t help but feel like an outsider—never more so than when I tell people I don’t like apple pie. Even after being here for three years, there are days when I miss the feeling of being part of a culture without having to try.
This is why international students are so enthusiastic about Culture Show. Being able to recreate a piece of ourselves on stage to share with the community is essential in making us feel at home at Wellesley.
This year, the theme for the Show is Unmasking Our World. Masks are important part of cultures from all regions of the world, from ceremonies and rituals honoring ancestors and spirits, to giant decorative floats during New Year parades. We’ll be sharing the stage with everyone from seasoned performers like Wellesley Wushu, Aiko and Yanvalou to our traditional first year dance, which is truly a rite of passage. We’re delighted to be hosting the Harvard South Asian Dance Company for the first time! In addition, Slater wants to ensure that we unmask not only pieces of our cultures, but also engage inimportant dialogues on campus, and share both the exciting events that are happening at home, and the things that keep us awake at night. We hope to raise awareness about issues of global importance that concern students that live, eat and study on this campus. With this in mind, Slater has decided that all proceeds from the Culture Show this year will be used to support the people of Kashmir. Come to the show to hear more about how we hope to do so, and contribute to this compelling cause.
Earlier this summer, I was tagged in a Facebook post with three previous Slater presidents. In the thread, one person shared that when she is stressed, she dreams about Culture Show going wrong. This particular alumna graduated from Wellesley over two years ago. Maybe because I’ve been haunted by the same nightmare over the past couple of weeks, but to me, this is a remarkable example of the amount of dedication and heart that not only the president, but the Culture Chair, the whole eboard, the volunteers, and- last but not least- the performers put into creating a spectacular show. We are thrilled to present the first culture show of the year on Friday, Oct. 28 at 6 p.m. at Alumnae Auditorium.
Join us, as we share with you a piece of our homes.