International Bazaar brings culture to FSU

Representatives from the Japanese community of Tallahassee sign the names event-goers in Japanese. This were one of 27 display tables at FSU's 24th annual International Bazaar.
Photo Submitted by Nathan Vinson.

Florida State University’s Center for Global Engagement held its 24th annual International Bazaar on Saturday in the Union Ballrooms, The event was a celebration of cultures around the world through performances, cuisine and interactive demonstrations.

Upon entrance, event-goers were handed a meal ticket for a free plate of food from around the world: samosa with tamarind chutney (India), spinach yogurt dip with lavash (Persia), chicken satay with peanut sauce (Indonesia), and jus de bissap, a French hibiscus tea.

In the center of the ballroom sat the stage, where performers showcased cultural ties from across the globe. Performances ranged from Brazilian martial arts to Filipino folk dancing to traditional Indian dance.

Lauren Lyons has been dancing with the Tallahassee Community College Dance Company for about a year. The company works in conjunction with Asian Coalition of Tallahassee, so for Lyons, the International Bazaar was a bit outside of her performance wheelhouse.

“We usually do a lot of performances for the Asian community here in Tallahassee, so this event is different than what we’re used to,” Lyons said. “But, I love events like this because you get to meet different kinds of people and new people.”

Lining the walls of the ballroom were display tables from various clubs and organizations from both FSU and the surrounding community. Some of the display tables included games, tutorials, and kid-friendly demonstrations.

Over at the Expressions Movement Studio table, participants were challenged to learn one dance move. Formerly known as the Women’s Belly Dance Center, the studio offers Zumba, Flamenco and, of course, belly dancing classes in Tallahassee. Paloma, a teacher for Expressions, said that coming to events like this is fulfilling for everyone that works at the studio.

“We love being out in the community and meeting people,” she said. “We love changing people’s perception of belly dance, and showing that they, too, can express themselves this way.”

Although the International Bazaar is the premier event for the Center for Global Engagement, the department facilitates international diversity year-round through workshops, classes, and offering international experiences and certifications for FSU students.

Center for Global Engagement intern Jeanne Martin learned about international opportunities by attending the International Bazaar two years ago. After studying in England last Spring, Martin said that the experience was worth it, and only possible because of her attendance at the International Bazaar.

“It was an amazing experience,” Martin said. “The trip allowed me to meet different people from other parts of the world and learn about new cultures, just like the International Bazaar.”