Bo-Jhih Guan, a graduate student in microbiology, wants University of Tennessee students to learn at least three things about Taiwan during tonight’s International Culture Night, which will be held at the International House at 6:30 p.m.
“Taiwan is different from China, Taiwan is an independent country, and Taiwan is a modern and democratic country with its own culture,” Guan said.
International Culture Night, an International House series sponsored by different groups, allows students to visit and experience a whole new culture without having to take the trip. The Taiwan Student Association is sponsoring this week’s Culture Night to help students understand and experience Taiwan and the Taiwanese lifestyle.
Taiwan is an island nation off the southeast coast of China. It separated from China after the Communist Party took over in 1949. It is known for its strong, capitalist economy.
A traditional Taiwanese meal will be served and will consist of fried rice, fried noodles, egg and spring rolls, mixed vegetables, orange chicken, fortune cookies, sweet tea and pearl milk tea. In addition, Guan said the meal will be vegetarian-friendly, with any dishes containing pork being labeled.
After the meal, students native to Taiwan will make a presentation about the country and its culture, which will include performances representative of classic Taiwanese entertainment.
“We will have a puppet show, which is a special and traditional culture of Taiwan,” Guan said. “After this, we will perform an aboriginal dance to show our respect for Taiwan’s aboriginal people. Then we will have a simple bamboo dance, during which we will urge all the visitors to join the dance. Finally, we will have several ‘night market games’ to represent the spirit of night market culture in Taiwan.”
After Taiwan night, the International House will host five more Culture Nights this semester. The cultures of Thailand, Peru, India, Saudi Arabia and Persia will be showcased.
“The goal of the culture nights is to showcase different cultures through their dance, food, music, etc.,” Vishal Arora, a graduate assistant at the International House, said.
The International House usually hosts about six such nights for students each semester.
“All culture nights have been very successful,” Arora said. “We usually have about 150 people attending each one of them.”
The next scheduled events are Thai culture night on Feb. 27 and Peru culture night on Feb. 28.
The event begins at 6:30 tonight at the International House and will cost $3 per person. Children under 12 can get in free.