Worlds collided at the Chinese New Year Festival that was held on Monday in the upstairs of Blum Student Union, as Missouri Western students competed in trivia and challenges learning about an unknown culture.
Lili Wang put this event together to educate Western students about many different aspects of Chinese life. Wang says everybody knows about American culture, so now it’s time to learn about a different one.
“If you ask a Chinese (student), I think probably all Chinese college students can identify more than 10 American celebrities and American cities,” Wang said. “We know so much about American culture. We hope (Americans) can do the same thing.”
The festival was initially postponed due to weather conditions as have many events have been all semester long. Despite that, the festivities drew a packed house in Blum 218.
“It is a lot more people than I expected,” Wang said. “I’m surprised in a happy way.”
President Dr. Robert Vartabedian, who was apart of the table who took third place in the trivia game, was not only impressed with the turnout for the festival, but also feels it is vital to learn more about the rest of the world.
“I was a little bit worried about an empty room since it had been rescheduled, but this is a packed house,” Dr. Vartabedian said. “Where we’ve come in terms of progress over the past 11 years is amazing. From just a handful of international students to events like this that pack the house. I think it’s extremely important both to allow that opportunity and then for us to broaden our horizons and meeting international perspectives.”
As for his team’s third-place finish, Dr. Vartabedian was glad he didn’t get in his squad’s way.
“We had a great time,” Dr. Vartabedian said. “We did well. I guess we placed third, so that’s not too bad. I didn’t mess things up.”
Robert Evilla, a Western graduate from the fall of 2018, studied abroad in Qiannian Village, China in the summer of 2016, as well as teaching Chinese locals at Guizhou Forerunner College.
“For me being a Missouri Western student, I have a lot of exposure to (Chinese culture) because you have all the international students,” Evilla said. “One of things Chinese culture has is they love when foreigners want to know more about them. Especially the time I was there, anytime I would explain to one of the locals that I’m an American who learned about language and culture, it was one of the things they got really excited about.”
Evilla will eventually return to China to teach locals once again.
Other competitions at the festival included which team could make the best dumpling out of Play-Doh, with food and music also provided.