International Club provides classic American experience


Alexa Fletcher

Exchange students Yoko Koike (Japan), Risako Yokote (Japan), and Yuna Seo (South Korea) enjoy the final international event of the semester.

Pretty dresses, corsages, limousines, promposals. Around the world, young men and women watch TV shows and dramas portraying the big dance: Prom.

Students like Tamaki Seimiya, a Japanese international student, see a beautiful experience they can’t have in their home countries.

“When I was little, I think 10, I watched TV shows or movie and I knew about prom,” Seimiya. “We don’t have prom in Japan and it’s so cool because I want to go to prom.” 

On the night of April 30, international students held a prom in the Billingsly Student Center’s Ballroom. Approximately 50 students were in attendance and photos were taken in front of the lion statue as well as in front of a backdrop inside the ballroom. Pictures were available 7:00-8:30 and the party concluded at 9:30.

I was excited because I never had a prom.

— Alex Fortes Álvarez

The vice president of the international club and exchange student from Trinidad, Tobago, and the British Virgin Islands, Faustina Marie Waterman, attended the event.

“International Prom is to showcase our cultures. Music, dance, food… You get a lot of international students in one area where we can feel comfortable,” Waterman said. “Very often a lot of the international students who attend MSSU are not here for a very long period of time so it’s a wrap-up to the semester.”

Students were looking forward to the experience, including Alex Fortes Álvarez, a student from Spain.

“I was excited because I never had a prom and I think most of us internationals don’t have proms in our countries,” Álvarez said. “It was like, ‘Oh the American Dream, having a prom.’ We saw it on TV shows, so we’re like, ‘we would like to have something like that now that we are here in America.’” 

Looking to the future, Jesse Briscoe, MSSU’s new international student services coordinator, speculates on future opportunities for fall exchange students that may mirror the spring prom’s size.

“I think that for some of our exchange students, who may only be here in the fall semester, we need to provide some kind of larger-scale event for them,” Briscoe said. 

Until then, however, exchange students such as Risako Yokote, a Japanese exchange student, enjoyed this experience.

“Here at the party, we can be whatever we want. The way we are,” Risako said. “So from the bottom of my heart we can enjoy, can be crazy, we can dance, we can sing. I really love this freedom.”