MU international group hosts student prom

Tuesday, March 17, 2009 | 3:22 p.m. CDT

COLUMBIA — High heels, tuxedos, dresses, up-dos, roses and awkward nervousness.

Students from countries like Nicaragua, Russia, France and the United States danced together in Memorial Union's Stotler Lounge on Monday night to take part in the first International Prom. They enjoyed a wide array of music from Colombia, Japan, the U.S. and Spain, bringing together sounds from all over the world.

Pangaea, the international learning community housed in MU's Laws Hall, decided to host an event for residents after having a get-together in the hall. Pangaea's Web site describes its purpose for international and domestic students to "expand their knowledge of other languages and cultures through interaction with native speakers and participation in cultural events."

"We had a mini dance party on our floor and it went really well," said Marina Shifrin, a Laws Hall community adviser. "So we decided to have something bigger."

Ben Christ, a peer adviser in Laws Hall, said he wanted to offer the international students American experience. "Prom is very traditionally American," Christ said.

Music blared, heels came off, arms swung as hips shook from side-to-side while others students posed for pictures to remember their prom experience. Around 50 students attended.

Halfway through the event, Pangaea crowned a prom queen and king: Tim Dugin, a senior business management student from Russia, and Kokoro Ikkai, a psychology student from Japan.

"I was surprised," Dugin said. "I didn't expect it."

Both Dugin and Ikkai enjoy their experience with Pangaea, at MU and the prom.

"I love it," Ikkai said. "I'm interested in cross-cultural psychology."

Ikkai explained that because of all of the different backgrounds, countries and cultures, she learns a lot about people from all over the world.

Dugin shared similar feelings about the international community in Laws Hall.

"I am really happy that I was involved with it thanks to the International Center," Dugin said. "I meet a lot of people. It's always interesting — different countries, different cultures.

"We all share our experiences."


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