All Nations Night celebrates culture and business

Rachel Jenks

Over 160 people, international and domestic, filled the Explorer Rooms of the University Center Thursday, Oct. 29 to celebrate various cultures from around the world at NMU’s first All Nations

Eight different countries were represented, including Brazil, China, South Korea, Germany, Finland, Nepal, Curacao and Puerto Rico. By sharing traditional food and playing cultural games, the students representing each country taught the attendees about their home countries.

“The whole concept of this event is to share our cultures,” Yufang Zhuo, a junior marketing major from China, said. “Each country has their own special culture and we want everyone to understand that.”

All Nations Night was put on by the All Nations Club and sponsored by the President’s Office and College of Business. As a part of the event planning class at NMU, Zhuo and his classmates were required to not only learn how to plan an event, but put the information to practical use by planning an event of their own.

The students teamed up with the All Nations Club to spread global awareness, especially in a business setting.

While the attendees enjoyed the fun activities, they were also learning what it meant to be involved in global business. David Ollila, founding director of [email protected], emphasized how it’s important to understand other cultures in order to be successful in a global market. Every country has its own cultural approach to the business world. Ollila and Zhuo demonstrated how a small act, such as the acceptance and treatment of a business card, could make or break a business deal.

“I don’t know if you can call it ‘global business’ now,” Ollila said. “We are such a hyper-connected community, now it’s just ‘business.’’’

Zhuo also stated the importance of his decision to study outside of his native China.

“When I was in China, I only knew how Chinese business worked,” Zhuo said. “But now I understand global business.”

Studying abroad is common among international students studying business at a global level. Luisa Kneppers, a sophomore international management major from Germany, said that she was required to study abroad as a part of her program.

“I love NMU. It’s definitely different than Bielefeld, where I’m from in Germany,” Kneppers said.

It’s international experience, Ollila said, that gives businesses and entrepreneurs an edge.

Each person was given a “passport” as they entered the event. The “traveler” could gain stamps in the passport from each country by playing a game or trying a food, all while learning facts about each country.

South Korea offered the games alkkagi and slap-match, while the Curacao students taught how to play dominos.

Brazil offered samples of dolce de leche, a caramel-like spread. From Germany there were soft pretzels and Nutella.

“I came because I wanted to see which countries the international students at NMU come from,” Lydia Henning, a junior graphics communication major, said. “I’m a Spanish minor, so I really like learning about different cultures.”w

Sanjay Gnawali, a junior finance major from Nepal, helped plan the event and said he thought the evening was very successful.

“We didn’t expect this many people to come. It’s a very good turnout,” Gnawali said.