UHV to host on-campus International Festival

After two years, the University of Houston-Victoria will once again host the International Festival and showcase the diversity of cultures and countries represented on UHV’s campus, including a flag parade, cuisine from different countries, a fashion show and traditional dances.

Ludmi Herath

The International Festival will be at 5:30 p.m. April 8 in Pyramid Row, located behind UHV University Center, 3007 N. Ben Wilson St. The festival is free and open to all UHV students, faculty, staff and the community.

The fifth-annual festival is hosted by UHV International Programs staff and the UHV International Student Organization. The event was held virtually last year and was canceled in 2020 because of the pandemic. Previously, the event was held in Jaguar Hall. However, since the last in-person International Festival had more than 500 attendees, the event will now take place outdoors to accommodate more space for attendees and parking. There also will be a Facebook Live stream for those who are unable to attend.

“The goal for hosting the festival for free for our UHV faculty, staff, students and community is to showcase cultural diversity, bring global awareness and bring global competence to our students,” said Ludmi Herath, UHV International Programs director. “We have citizens from all around the world living in Victoria, and this event brings everyone together to celebrate cultures and have a day to travel around the world without leaving Victoria.”

The event will open with a flag processional featuring the flags of the more than 40 nations represented by UHV international students. There will be multiple tables and booths with displays and information about the countries with UHV international students available to talk about their home countries and cultures. There also will be more than 20 traditional food dishes of various countries for attendees to try.

Cassandra Ward

Cassandra Ward, a graduate student from South Africa studying forensic psychology, is looking forward to her first in-person International Festival. Ward is the president of the UHV International Student Organization, and although she enjoyed the virtual event last year, she missed the opportunity to have a large, face-to-face event where students can celebrate and share their home countries. The student organization and International Programs have discussed the festival since the fall semester, Ward said.

She is excited for the UHV and Victoria community to attend the festival and is looking forward to all the food dishes students will be preparing for the event. Ward plans to make a dessert dish of South African milk tart.

“I think it’s great that we get to share our culture with the community, and we encourage the Victoria-area community to come out and bring their families to the event,” Ward said. “This is a way to travel around the world without having to leave this area. It’s such a unique event, and all the UHV international students are happy to share what they love about their countries and cultures with everyone.”

Attendees can look forward to student performances, including a fashion show, belly dancing, and traditional dances from countries including Brazil and Sri Lanka. There will be a children’s booth with art activities and demonstrations of the different types of henna, including henna tattoos for attendees and henna wood carving. Kona Shaved Ice also will be on site.

Lorraine Yap

The International Festival also will help UHV students meet and get to know each other, said Lorraine Yap, a graduate computer science student from Malaysia. For the past couple of years, students have not had many opportunities to interact with each other in person. The International Festival also will bring the Victoria community to get to know the diverse UHV student population. Yap is the treasurer of the UHV International Student Organization.

Yap is looking forward to experiencing the various food dishes and seeing the cultural attire featured in the fashion show. She also will perform a dance with the student organization as well.

“We’re excited to have this event and encourage people to come by and talk to us and get to know us more,” Yap said.

To learn more about the festival, go to

The University of Houston-Victoria, located in the heart of the Coastal Bend region since 1973 in Victoria, Texas, offers courses leading to more than 80 academic programs in the schools of Arts & Sciences; Business Administration; and Education, Health Professions & Human Development. UHV provides face-to-face classes at its Victoria campus, as well as an instructional site in Katy, Texas, and online classes that students can take from anywhere. UHV supports the American Association of State Colleges and Universities Opportunities for All initiative to increase awareness about state colleges and universities and the important role they have in providing a high-quality and accessible education to an increasingly diverse student population, as well as contributing to regional and state economic development.

Amber Aldaco