There is a part of the way I express my identity that has been swapped with trying to fit in in such a different environment, but at the same time, it has given me the opportunity to discover more about what truly shaped other people. Feb. 2 was the first time I participated in I-Fair, and as a Mediterranean that had been failing at adapting to the Midwestern weather, it truly energized me.
We had started preparing for the parade about 10 days before and my only concern at that time was waving my flag properly, as I never held an official one before. But the number of flags never impressed me more than during the last few minutes before the flag parade, the same minutes during which I realized I was lucky to share my college days with people from so many different places.
I-Fair was a colorful and happy moment in time, and being a part of the parade felt strange, although flag holders were from very different countries, I could sense we all related to the same sense of belongingness here.
An amazing part of I-Fair was seeing all the booths and understanding how it is to be behind one. Seeing what other students wanted to show about their culture and about their homes ultimately sparked nostalgic yet inspiring conversations with dozens of students, which made me feel like taking a term off to travel the world.
Every candy, handmade bracelet, origami, poster, painting, and outfit showed how involved every student was and how badly they all wanted to share their culture.
Another very cheering part of this experience had to be the great dinner at the end which reminded me that for no other day will the caf hold such a cool menu. A non-international friend of mine stated that it was the best meal she had all year.
Being in such a tiny town, lost in corn, and yet still experiencing little bits and pieces from all around the world makes me incredibly grateful, and even if, as an international student, I’m aware of Knox’s greatly diverse student body, I-Fair is a truly essential experience and I will definitely try to do even more for the fairs to come.