What is the best way to get to know people from other cultures? Food and music are definitely a great way to bring a diverse community together. Both are innately part of who we are as humans; they touch us at a more deep, subconscious level than we may realize--and it can be the perfect tool that brings us to one table, where we can truly interact in our love of culturally diverse food, music and art.

At Thunderbird School of Global Management, cultural diversity is celebrated and put on full display during "Regional Nights" organized by the Thunderbird Student Government. Regional Nights happen at least once each semester and celebrate the food, culture, traditions, art and performance of a particular region of the world--with students from that region sharing their culture with their classmates and others in the Thunderbird community.

During Regional Nights, all hands are on deck, from the students who welcome the guests at the entrance with warm smiles, to the student leaders who serve the food. This, after all, is our way of displaying our Thunderbird pride and our rich legacy of a global mindset borne out of diversity. This diversity is fully displayed, with students dressed in different national costumes representing the cultures being celebrated at the event. There is often a lot of laughter, as student see their friends in a new light, far from the classroom attire and more serious mood. And by the end of the night, there is a lot of clapping and dancing, as everyone gets into the spirit.

In the end, Regional Nights are the perfect opportunity to get out of the dorms, leave behind those business books and experience new activities, listen to music from other lands, and eat new foods right here on campus. Billy Joel is definitely right when he says, “I think music in itself is healing. It's an explosive expression of humanity. It's something we are all touched by. No matter what culture we're from, everyone loves music.”

And in a world where many seek to build borders, it helps to have a place like Thunderbird where people feel at home in diversity, and are willing to explore and try new things. So what are you waiting for? Come and join this community that goes beyond borders and sees humanity more clearly.

By Bethany Chijindu '17, Master of Global Management