A celebration of diversity: Highlights from the International Evening 2024

Pécs, being well-known for its diverse population of students and hosting multiple cross-cultural events, was again distinguished with the most awaited celebration – International Evening 2024. This grand occasion served as an insight into the city’s rich tapestry of welcoming nature and the unifying power of community. 

Organized by the English-German Student Council (EGSC), a student organization committed to fostering cross-cultural understanding and friendship, the International Evening showcases an array of traditions, cuisines, and performances from around the globe annually. According to the EGSC’s representatives, the theme of the 2024 year – Shine Bright! -was not just about sparkling outfits but the cosmic collision of empowerment, where students light up the night with their uniqueness at the University of Pécs. Complying with the theme and endorsing participants, the evening started with a massive fireworks show. The opening speeches were given by the mayor of Pécs – Attila Péterffy – and the rector of our university – Dr Attila János Miseta – who testified to the importance and scale of the event. 

One of the highlights of the International Evening was the gastronomic journey it offered. Every year, participants come up with absolutely new and creative ways of how to impress the rest of the audience. Guests had the opportunity to sample a mouth-watering array of international cuisines, from spicy Indian curries to delicate Canadian poutines. The tables with Asian, European, Balkan, and Middle Eastern cuisines all around the hall offered multiple options to pick from vegetarian, halal, and vegan. I had a chance to try out Laos, Thai, and Egyptian cuisines – all of them were astonishing. Some of the tables even had small cards (similar to menu cards) with presented food options and ingredients; the gesture is small, yet it displays a sign of care for people. Every country that participated in the cuisine fair had their flag in the back and representatives wearing traditional garments. As I learned later from the English-German Student Council’s Instagram posts, all countries had their own cooking teams and shared a big kitchen with each other. There is no wonder why each dish was prepared with love and care by volunteer students eager to share a taste of their homeland with others. 

As the night progressed further, the stage came alive with a showcase of talents from around the world. Performers from more than twenty countries dazzled the audience with catwalks, traditional dances, musical performances, and theatrical presentations. The performances started with a heartwarming song represented by the USA, followed by an impressive German flash mob, and further continued with cultural representations including dancing, live band performances, and displaying traditional elements. The air of the EXPO Center was filled with laughter, applause, and the shared joy of experiencing such a precious moment. The night drew to a close, and the International Evening continued the entertainment by holding a large after-party with locally well-known DJs. For the convenience of all attendees, the organizers provided free bus services from 14:00 to 19:30 and from 23:00 to 4:00 in the morning. 

Throughout the event, there was a sense of unity and acceptance. Strangers became friends as they bonded over their shared love for cultural exploration and mutual respect. The International Evening served as a powerful reminder that despite our differences, we are all part of a global community enriched by the mosaic of cultures that make up our world. 

Photo source: EGSC Facebook