Bridging the Gap MSU International Students Association’s Valentine’s Day Ball

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For international students on campus, February can mark the beginning of a cold, dreary month. The snow — once breathtaking and magical — is turning to slush, and the plunging temperatures — once new and exciting — have become insufferable. For the past 10 years, the MSU International Students Association has been remedying this winter melancholy with its annual Valentine’s Day Ball.

The ball, which usually sees an attendance of around 300 domestic and international students each year, is a formal, prom-like event that includes food, dancing and music. Though the ball allows international students the chance to attend an elegant outing during their time at MSU, the meaning of the event goes much deeper.

“[The International Students Association’s] goal of the Valentine’s Day Ball is to achieve inclusiveness for international students in the community,” said Dalal Alfarhan, director of events for the International Students Association. “It also helps both international and domestic students to raise their cultural competency with the music, clothes and culture shared in the event. We hope events like this help create a bridge between international and domestic students.”

Natalie Villarreal, a senior hospitality business major, echoes a similar sentiment. For her, the ball is a rare chance for a large amount of MSU students from all backgrounds to learn about each other and bond. “[The Valentine’s Day Ball] is a good way for international and domestic students to interact and have the opportunity to learn about various cultures, especially since they probably would not have this opportunity if the event wasn’t created,” said Villarreal.

This year’s Valentine’s Day Ball is inspired by a 1920s, Great Gatsby theme and will be held on Feb. 17 from 7-10 p.m. at the Huntington Club inside Spartan Stadium. Tickets, which almost always run out, are free and can be picked up around campus at the locations announced on the International Students Association’s newsletter and social media pages.

“The International Students Association’s Valentine’s Ball is one of our biggest anticipated events,” said Alfarhan. “We hope to continue this tradition for many more years to come … We can’t wait to see [everyone] at the ball looking fabulous and glamorous.”

For more information on the Valentine’s Day Ball, visit the International Students Association’s Facebook, Twitter and Instagram pages or visit the association’s website at