ISO dinner brings cultures together for the holidays


Photo courtesy of Alexandra Baldwin

Photo courtesy of Alexandra Baldwin

Students from many countries travel to San Diego to attend college at the University of San Diego. This cultural transition can be very challenging for some students. The International Student Organization (ISO) attempts to be a sort of safe haven for our international students on campus.

ISO hosts many events celebrating the different cultures represented on campus.  One example is the Holiday Dinner and Dance, held in the UC Forums. This event celebrates the numerous ways different cultures celebrate the holidays.

According to Khaled Alaskar, senior at USD, who was in charge of the event, ISO creates this event almost two months before it happens.

“I’m always excited to learn about the different holidays from around the world,” Alaskar said. “This year we were able to promote it on monitors at the entrance of campus and on the TVs in the SLP.”

Senior Krista Pinyan is not an international student nut felt welcome at the event.

“As an American, it was so fun learning about how other cultures celebrate the holiday season, I has so much fun and celebrated the holiday season with my friends from all around the world,” Pinyan said.

This annual holiday event focuses on the cultural exchange among international and domestic students. Attendees ranged from San Diego natives to students from completely different continents.

Senior Christina Marie also attended this year’s event. Marie explained that she enjoys the ISO social experience.

“I loved this event because I was able to interact with new students, I saw a lot of my friends when I first arrived and it was nice to eat a buffet and dance at the end of the night,” Marie said.

Authentic food from different international restaurants in San Diego was served.  Students had the opportunity to feast on traditional means from numerous different cultures.  This year The Kebab Shop, Tandori Hut, Super Cocina, Island Splice, and Szechuan Chef catered the event.

Senior Lauren Gutierrez enjoyed this diverse display of food.

“I really loved the kabobs,” Gutierrez said. “My favorite part was getting to meet new people from around the world, and the dancing was really fun.”

Following the international feast, students closed the night out with a DJ, playing primarily international hits. Alaskar also created a video montage of both domestic and international students talking about their favorite holidays in their home country.

Senior Fira Sofa stated the video was one of her favorite aspects of the night.

“My favorite part of the night was probably the dancing, picture taking, and video,” Shofa said.

According to ISO, this annual celebration gets more popular each and every year. They say they love introducing people to different cultures.

Junior Mrudal Tasgaonkar enjoyed spending a Friday night with her classmates.

“I loved spending a great Friday night with my friends and meeting such a diverse group of people as well,” Tasgaonkar said.

Students spent the night taking and sharing photos from the event on social media. Senior Ikyot Kaur commented that taking photos was a highlight of the night for her.

“At the end of the night we all got to get a group photo at the entrance, which is always good for nostalgia and memories,” Kaur said.

ISO’s Holiday Dinner and Dance offered USD students the chance to learn about the many cultures here on campus.