August 18, 2019 | 81° F

International Student Association takes Rutgers 'Around the World in 80 Minutes'

Photo by Facebook |

On Friday night, the International Student Association (ISA) took students on a journey with their event "Around the World in 80 Minutes," which featured performances and food from a variety of international cultures.

Students were able to travel across the world from the comfort of Busch Student Center this past Friday night through traditional Indian dance.

The International Student Association (ISA) hosted “Around the World in 80 Minutes,” offering students the opportunity to experience snapshots of life through different cultures around the world. Various performances, dancing and ethnic food all added to the suspended disbelief that attendees were experiencing different international cultures firsthand, according to their Facebook

The Rutgers University Programing Association (RUPA) sponsored event aimed to celebrate multinational diversity through dance and promote the organization's understanding of cultural diversity among American and international students at Rutgers. Self-acclimating to an American life is imperative to the group as they try and provide a home for all students, according to their site.

Maalya Ramachandra, co-captain of RU Natya and a School of Arts and Sciences junior, said in performing with ISA the organization sought to raise awareness for their cause and encourage other students to explore a variety of Indian cultures.

RU Natya is Rutgers University's first and only Indian classical dance team focused on bringing together various forms of Indian classical dance to university, state and national audiences. The team strives to maintain the traditional aspects of these ancient dance forms while mixing it with contemporary innovation, according to their Facebook

The organization preserves the cultural lessons instilled in them by their gurus, integrating them into all of their performances. They have placed first consistently for the last three years at national competitions and continue to perform in showcases and productions across the Tri-State Area, according to their site

Feeling nervous before performing in front of a large crowd was quickly masked by excitement as the group made their way on stage, Ramachandra said. Knowing that they poured everything into a performance while helping inform people about their cultural background was priceless, she said.

The event turned out a substantial crowd, with a good blend of students from diverse backgrounds to further illustrate the diversity of the Rutgers community that the event was looking to achieve, Ramachandra said.

The organization was able to show some of the event and activities they partake in while teaching students about Indian culture through traditional dance, Ramachandra said. Additionally, they were able to learn more about other cultures through fellow student performances.

“I think it is an incredible event that allows the students at Rutgers to not only hear about how diverse this school is but actually see and really appreciate what the students do. As performers it's always exciting to show the school what our team does and teach them a little about our culture through dance,” she said.

Rutgers Business School senior and ISA treasurer, Abhilasha Negi, said "Around the World in 80 Minutes" gave students an opportunity to learn a great deal about different cultures from all over the world without having to leave campus.

As the organization’s treasurer she helped in planning the event along with executive board members of ISA, Negi said. Some of the activities planned included an open dance floor, where attendees were encouraged to get involved in the event’s upbeat culture along with live performances from different Rutgers international student organizations.

Fusion K-Pop dances along with Latin music and Bollywood tunes were just some of the different multicultural events students were able to get involved with. Additionally, they were encouraged to take part in various games and sign up for a chance to win prizes, Negi said.

Student turnout for the event exceeded expectations, providing all in attendance the opportunity to socialize with other members of the community outside of their cultural backgrounds over delicious food and music, Negi said.

Negi said the organization seeks to better educate domestic students about the diversity of student cultures that exists at Rutgers. They hope to better connect the community as a whole through displays of multiculturalism in events such as this.

“The International Student Association provides a platform for international students to socialize with the general student body at Rutgers. We help international students assimilate to life in the U.S. and at Rutgers. As we like to say, we are your home away from home,” she said.

Christian Zapata is a School of Arts and Sciences sophomore. He is a contributing writer for The Daily Targum.  

Christian Zapata

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