The independent student newspaper at the University of Illinois since 1871

The Daily Illini

The independent student newspaper at the University of Illinois since 1871

The Daily Illini

The independent student newspaper at the University of Illinois since 1871

The Daily Illini

The independent student newspaper at the University of Illinois since 1871

The Daily Illini

    International students shine onstage, share culture at Global Talent Show

    James Hoeck
    First place winners of the global talent show at Lincoln Hall Theater, Off The Record, win first place for their a cappella performance on Oct. 17.

    Eight acts performed at the fifth annual Global Talent Show yesterday. The talent show, located in the Lincoln Hall Theater and sponsored by International Student and Scholar Services, International Education, Student Affairs and Student Alumni Ambassadors, represented a variety of countries and cultures through art, dance, poetry and song. 

    Dayana Rubio, a volunteer from International Education, said these events are for both domestic and international students. 

    “We organize these types of events to bring a sense of community and also bring awareness to the variations within cultures — things that bring a sense of home and belonging to students from all around the world, and here too,” Rubio said.

    Brian Carter, Student Alumni Ambassadors’ vice president of communications, said the Global Talent Show is an opportunity to learn more about the international community at the University of Illinois.

    The first act was Aaryaman Patel, who played a medley of Coldplay covers on the piano. 

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    Patel encouraged the audience to sing along and said it was his first time performing live.

    The lights dimmed as Patel played and sang along to “Viva La Vida,” “Yellow,” “The Scientist” and “Fix You.” 

    The following act was a performance of a traditional Bengali folk song.

    “The lyrics are metaphorical and convey spiritual and emotional connections,” the performer said.

    Yilin Li performed a classical Chinese dance to “Phoenix in the Flying Palace” by Hanna Koo. Li donned a flowy, pink traditional dress with long, oversized sleeves, a blue sash and embroidery. 

    Rashmi Ahire performed a Kathak dance to “Ghar More Pardesiya” by Pritam and Shreya Ghoshal while clad in a shimmering gold traditional dress.

    Asmaa Elsayed, graduate student studying global studies in education, shared Arabic poetry and calligraphy. She told the story of her illiterate grandmother and talked about her work mentoring first-generation students. 

    “This is as raw and vulnerable as it could get,” Elsayed said before she read aloud one of her grandmother’s favorite poems in Arabic. “She was my first student and my life now is a dream for her.”

    She also asked audience members to volunteer a phrase for her to translate into Arabic calligraphy. 

    “The sun is bright,” one audience member suggested. Elsayed obliged, writing the phrase in calligraphy on an easel and presenting it to the audience. 

    Guha Preethi Karthikrajan, graduate student studying bioprocessing and bioenergy, covered “Blank Space” by Taylor Swift. 

    The seventh act of the show was Off The Record, a co-ed, noncompetitive a cappella group. The group wore a red and black color scheme. They performed “Lavender Haze” by Taylor Swift, “As” by Stevie Wonder and “Runnin’ (Lose It All)” by Naughty Boy.

    Before the judges announced the results, the emcee abruptly announced another act, Juan David Campolargo.

    “Technical difficulties,” Campolargo clarified to the audience as he waited for the stage crew to hand him a microphone.

    Campolargo prefaced his performance of the song, “Mad World” by Michael Andrews, with a short explanation of its meaning.

    “I’ve always thought that in a world of crazy people, the sane ones are called crazy,” Compolargo said. “For the rest of us, there’s hope, and I hope this song can give you that.”

    “I didn’t know I was performing tonight, so my friend texted me and I learned this song in the last few hours,” Campolargo confessed to the audience after he finished singing, and was met with laughter.

    The judges announced their final decisions. Off The Record placed first, Ahire placed second and the performer of the Bengali folk song placed third.

    After the show, audience members and performers expressed their appreciation for the Global Talent Show.

    “I liked that there were so many different performances from literally all around the world,” said audience member Savannah Pagan about the show. 

    Patel reflected on his act and the overall event, recognizing the low attendance for the Global Talent Show and calling for greater awareness of it in the future. 

    “I feel like they did a very poor job advertising it,” Patel said. “Anyone I asked didn’t know about it; I think the only place I saw it was the ISSS newsletter. People who are not international students didn’t know about this, so I think that’s something that they should improve next time.” 


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    About the Contributor
    James Hoeck
    James Hoeck, Photo Editor
    Heyo! I am James Hoeck, a third-year undergraduate student in photography with a minor in media. I have been a part of Illini Media for two years, starting back in fall 2021. I hold the position of Photo Editor here at The Daily Illini. I also work as Photo Editor for Illini Media’s Illio Yearbook. There is a good chance you will see me out and about on campus taking photos for my personal work or for The DI and/or Illio! If you want to check out more of my work, visit my socials linked below.
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