A cultural kaleidoscope – EGSC’s International Evening 2024 shines bright!

International Evening 1

On the evening of March 9th, the highly anticipated International Evening took place at the Expo Center in Pécs, known as the largest complex event venue in Western Hungary. The PTE ÁOK English-German Student Council (EGSC) spearheaded the event, orchestrating an exciting three-part extravaganza followed by an afterparty featuring talented guest DJs and musicians. The theme of the night was Shine Bright, as the organizers described the event as a “cosmic collision of empowerment” as students from diverse backgrounds could come together to “light up the night with their uniqueness”. The gala was anticipated to welcome 2,000 participants, encompassing University of Pécs students, VIP guests, and attendees from across Hungary.

The evening commenced with a culinary feast, where students presented dishes from their respective countries, encouraging everyone to indulge upon their cultural heritage. A group of students from each country took the lead on curating a delicious menu and preparing approximately 400 servings per booth at the event. “It was our first time having to cook for that many people, so it was overwhelming at first,” Lydia, the lead chef for the Nigerian table, pondered over the extensive preparation prior to the event, “However, as we served the dishes, I felt immense pride in sharing a taste of our culture. We have a lot of amazing dishes to offer, like jollof and gizdodo. The guests really loved the food.” A total of 24 nations were represented during the culinary aspect of the program: Albania, Kosovo, Austria, Canada, Egypt, Germany, India, Indonesia, Iran, Japan, Jordan, Laos, Lebanon, Nigeria, Norway, Pakistan, Palestine, Sierra Leone, South Korea, Székely Land, Thailand, Uganda, Vietnam, and Yemen.

As Expo Center filled with guests, the hosts took to the stage to launch the second part of the event: the catwalk. The hosts, Liyanda and Milica greeted guests with boundless energy and enthusiasm. Liyanda recounted her role as an emcee, describing it as a roller-coaster ride of emotions, “I was filled with nerves and a bit of anxiety. But once I got on stage and saw everyone’s excitement, all my worries faded away.” From the intricate embroidery found in Sierra Leone’s traditional garments to the colorful Indian sherwani and stunningly embellished sarees, the catwalk highlighted the vibrant cultures that represented the student body. As co-organizer, Farid expressed his thoughts on the event, “I’ve been helping EGSC with this cultural event for years, and I never get tired of it. I’ve seen it grow from the beginning, when the cultural catwalk started, and now it’s become a tradition. This year was particularly special to me because there were even more participants. I hope this event continues to grow with more programs added each year.”

The energy from the crowd was electrifying, especially during the commencement of the performances, marking the grand finale of the evening’s main event. Paul, an EGSC officer in charge of overseeing the performance segment, remarked, “It turned out really well for the most part, especially compared to the morning’s practices and soundchecks. I took the lead on coordinating the performances, so, from that side, I’m happy with the outcome.” The USA kicked off the show with a bang, featuring a captivating vocal performance. A total of 21 countries graced the stage, presenting a variety of talents that kept the audience delightfully entertained. Brazil delivered the final performance, exuberantly showcasing their vibrant and lively culture through a dance number that left the crowd yearning for more. Reflecting on the evening, Paul also suggested implementing a cap on the number of performances to ensure that the event does not run excessively long, which is something to keep in mind for the future.

The triumph of the event is the fruition of many sleepless nights and tireless days undertaken by the EGSC officers, along with other organizing bodies. The event would not have been possible without the passionate students who dedicated their time and energy to weeks of planning and practice to share their culture with the community. Following the success of this year’s International Evening, anticipation is soaring for what awaits in the coming year.

Images by Lajos Kalmar

Roselle Torres

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