For an Oklahoman town of its size, it’s fascinating how many people from all over the world with different cultures and backgrounds call Stillwater home, at least for the next four years.
To celebrate these cultures at Oklahoma State University, the International Student Organization is hosting their annual pageant Mr. and Ms. International on Friday.
Mr. and Ms. International focuses on the international students at OSU, allowing them to showcase the places they come from while also competing for scholarships.
Fatimah Firdaus, ISO president, and her team have been working on preparing the pageant and making it the best platform for the students to display their culture on stage.
“It is the biggest event put on by ISO,” Firdaus said. “It’s an opportunity for the different area clubs to have two people compete for the title of Mr. and Ms. International. The pageant consists of two parts, the talent portion and the question and answer portion… The talent portion is where they focus on showing off their talent and their diversity, their culture.”
Area clubs are specific groups on campus for students to join that educates people about a ethnicities culture. While some groups focus on a specific country like the Vietnamese Student Association, others offer more inclusion like the Latin American Student Association. Each of the organizations has their own way to select who will be representing them and wearing the name of their country for a night. Nicolas Lopez, Mr. Ecuador, saw it as a way to share his culture as well as experience new ones.
“I have been here for three months and this is my opportunity to get more involved with the activities of the university,” Lopez said. “Also, I’ve been fascinated and interested in all the cultures that are here together.”
The talent portion of the show is similar to other pageant where contestants will display their ability but for Mr. and Ms. International, they will also be showcasing the culture they come from. For Lopez, he will be performing songs from his childhood in Ecuador while others like Nikee Shrestha, Ms. Nepal, will be dancing to the traditional music to capture her country’s spirit.
“What I want them to know about my culture, about my country and to show them how beautiful and diverse my country is through my talent round,” Shrestha said. “I’m going to dance to describe how diverse my country is and I want them to know even if it is a really small country you can explore so many things, you can know so many cultures and people there.”
The pageant will be held on Friday at 7 p.m. in the Student Union Theater.
“A big part of OSU is the diversity on campus and ISO is very proud of how diverse it is,” Firdaus said. “We have around 2,000 international students and we just want to show the rest of campus, the rest of Stillwater how diverse we are.”