Fourth Estate/ Kaylyn Barnhart

Mason hosts 43rd annual International Week with a week of festivities


On March 29 through April 7, Mason celebrated its 43rd International Week (iWeek) where students and faculty proudly shared and displayed their home countries and cultures.

With Mason being the most diverse university in Virginia, iWeek represents the commitment and celebration of diversity and the international community on campus. “This includes many multicultural, international and generational diversity from students…we celebrate that during International Week…” Jonathan Carmona, Office of International Programs and Services assistant director for International Engagement,  said. 

According to Carmona, recent years have shown a growth in the international student population at Mason, resulting with an increase in interest and participation for iWeek. “Some of these students are not able to go home for a long time. This gives them an opportunity to have that feeling [of home] on campus, and we love that we are able to provide that,” Carmona said. 

The week kicked off on April 2 with the International Week Parade and festival marching through the Johnson Center and Wilkins Plaza where students of various nationalities walked under the flags of their heritage and home countries. “We show pride for our culture…we love to get people knowledgeable about where we are from,” Parvez Mostafa, a student representing Bangladesh, said. 

Each day throughout the week, a different cultural event would be hosted on campus including the traditional International Dance Competition and “Tour Around the World” which featured global cuisine. 

Most participants in iWeek events are involved with registered student organizations, demonstrating the wide diversity Mason’s student body has.

Sophomore Simeon Omorodion participated in iWeek for his second time by playing a role in “Oni’s Bride,” a stage performance by Mason’s Japanese Studies department. “I returned because I genuinely enjoyed roleplaying…I love Japanese culture and I wanted to share my love with a wider audience,” Omorodion said. He plans on being a part of iWeek again next year to help continue increasing cultural awareness and appreciation on campus. 

According to Carmona, iWeek gives students from other disciplines who may not interact with cultural related classes to expand their knowledge and experiences. Participating in iWeek events is encouraged to help create a culture of inclusivity and welcomeness on campus. 

“It’s a chance for students to get more connected to their own culture and to be prideful. They get to know other cultures while representing their own at the same time,” sophomore Josephine Myers, a student representing Indonesia said.

International Week occurs every spring semester at Mason, so do not worry if you missed out this year. “We are very excited to celebrate the 43rd year of International Week, and we hope that you participate in this event and take some initiative to explore something outside of your everyday life and everyday culture,” Carmona said.