By Claire Cameron
International students from 73 countries will showcase their Baylor spirit Saturday at the homecoming parade.
International students and students part of the Global Living and Learning program will come together and carry flags from different countries from all across the world.
San Diego senior Hayley Gibson, an International Student Relations student worker, helped organize the flags for the parade.
Gibson said having international and American students come together to walk in the parade was a great way to present the diversity of Baylor and the students who study here.
“It’s encouraging to see how global our Baylor community is,” Gibson said.
Gibson said she has been part of the parade for the last three years and many of the students who participate in the parade have a lot of pride in their country.
“Many of the students come dressed in traditional clothes or outfits from their home country,” she said. “Those who participate are proud to represent their country when they are so far away from home.”
Australian graduate student Ben Cooper said he will be participating in the parade.
“This is the first American university I’ve been to and I wanted to experience that iconic American college tradition of homecoming so I was keen on getting involved in the event,” Cooper said.
He will be carrying Australia’s flag and said he is looking forward to representing his home country.
“I think it’s a truly unique opportunity and a lot of fun,” he said.
Cooper also said he is a big football fan and after the parade, he is excited to watch the football game.
“I’m a big fan of American football,” he said. “It’s a good time to be a Baylor Bears fan.”
Finland exchange student Elina Bruk said she will also participate in the parade.
“I got an email asking if any international students wanted to sign up to hold a flag in the parade, and I thought there is probably no one else from Finland here at Baylor, and I would like to hold that flag,” Bruk said.
Bruk said this is her first time to come to Texas and she is looking forward to being a part of the homecoming tradition.
“I wanted to participate in something important to Baylor because I will only be here for one semester and I think this is a really fun and unique way to do that,” Bruk said.
She said she is glad American students will also participate in the parade with the international students.
“It’s good for everyone to participate and come together in something so special to Baylor,” she said.
Cooper said he is excited to show off the Australian flag and is looking forward to seeing all the different countries represented in one place.
“It’s a big wide world out there and for students to see all of us caring our nations’ flags will be really special and a great experience not just for us but for all the people watching,” he said.
Gibson said she was also gearing up to be a part of the parade.
“I’m an international studies major, so I love different cultures,” Gibson said. “It’s really special and exciting to see so many cultures from all over the world come together and participate in one of our treasured traditions.”
The parade will take place at 8 a.m. Saturday at Eighth Street and Austin Avenue. From there, it will go down Austin Avenue, make a right on Fourth Street and progress down Fifth Street. It will be broadcast live at 9 a.m. on KCEN-TV Channel 6.