Talents and food from around the globe were on display at Missouri Western State University on Wednesday night as the university hosted its annual International Fair.

The large event gave students and community members the chance to taste the cuisine of almost 30 different countries while meeting with students who had traveled to the campus from all over the world. The International Center’s Director Ann Rahmat said the fair gives visitors the chance to experience cultures beyond what is portrayed in the media.

“I think it’s a good opportunity to connect, to have something to engage in that’s friendly and welcoming. It’s something new that they will not be able to get just from reading or watching TV, so this is connecting with another person in a face-to-face, personal way.”

The event was organized and staffed by the almost 100 international students attending Missouri Western. Many students put together booths with information about their homelands, while others cooked their favorite foods to share.

“It is tough, and I know we are asking the students to do a lot, but we want them to not be shy, to step out of their comfort zone, that way they get to benefit more from their education in the U.S.,” Rahmat said.

While some conversed at their stations, other students stepped into the limelight to share their culture. Dance numbers featuring Michael Jackson mixed with Bollywood and K-Pop dance battles were just a few of the performances guests enjoyed.

For Raquel Castellano, a freshman from Spain, the event gave her the chance to connect with another Spanish student to learn a new dance number.

“It’s like a typical dance that we do in Spain, mostly typical in the south of Spain,” Castellano said. “Because I’m from Madrid, and I didn’t have any idea how to dance that, but the girl from Sevilla taught me it.”

Castellano said that along with the dance, she got to interact with many of her fellow students and hopes that they will learn a little about the fun-loving side of her culture.

“We’re really, really open people, and they should know that we’re always pretty much down for every party or anything that is going on.”

Jessika Eidson can be reached

at jessika.eidson@newspressnow.com.