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Tuesday, September 26, 2023


Countries converge in debut of International Student Organization show


UH students performed songs from their home countries at the International Students Organization’s fashion and talent show, Monday night at the Student Center Theater. | Pablo Milanese / The Cougar


UH’s International Student Organization presented an opportunity for students from different nations to display their fabrics and fortes Monday night in the Student Center Theater.

ISO president and electrical engineering senior Fahad Mohammed admitted it was challenging to host this event for the first time

“We’re bringing it back because ISO was not there for 20 years,” Mohammed said. “(We want students to know) they can come up here and show whatever talent they have (to promote) their culture. We need to spread the word around more that we have the stage open for them. We (plan to) market ourselves and the event more. Hopefully next time it’ll be better.”

Mohammed said there were supposed to be more performers and variety of talents at the show. Of the 15 students on the event’s agenda, four entered the fashion show and the rest showed off their vocal skills.

“We had a few dancers signed up,” Mohammed said. “But some of the other singers and even the fashion show’s participants, people backed out at the last moment. Some of them have stage fright, and they thought they weren’t ready.”

The students who stayed for the spotlight were proud in representing their culture or country.

“I don’t know how many Hispanics are gonna be in the crowd,” Panamanian advertising student Juan Grimas said. “Not many will understand what I’m singing, but I just hope they will enjoy it.”

Grimas showcased his singing and strumming skills by performing the acoustic version of “El Perdón” by Enrique Iglesias, a song he said has been popular in the Hispanic community in the past six months.

A nutrition student from India, Malika Ghei, called upon her country’s popular culture, namely “Dhoom 3,” one of Bollywood’s highest-grossing films of all time, to perform the song “Kamli” for audiences.

“(The song) is basically her singing to her lover that she’s kind of crazy about him,” Ghei said. “I’ve been singing since a very young age. I’m actually a local Bollywood performer, singing at different gigs and events.”

The show concluded with students modeling traditional clothing from their various home countries including India, Bangladesh, Pakistan and Senegal.

A panel of judges, made up of members from UH’s units for international students, decided to give a trophy to every participant.

Mohammed found this was a meaningful decision.

“You cannot compare one culture to another and say ‘this culture is more beautiful’,” Mohammed said. “It’s like apples and oranges. I feel like every culture and tradition is beautiful in its own unique way.”

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