News and Events

It can be difficult to leave your family and friends behind to live in another country. However, most international students make new friends through activities, clubs, and organizations on campus.  Explore some of the many ways in which you can get involved.


Fall 2017 Schedule

  • Monday, August 21—Library Pizza Party for International Students, location TBD, 5pm
  • Tuesday, August 22—International Cafe and Dinner Hour, Mary Jean’s Cafe, 5-7pm
  • Wednesday, August 23—Ride on SMTD Bus—Springfield Downtown Adventure, PAC bus stop, 1pm
  • Thursday, August 24—International Cafe, Mary Jean’s Cafe, 3-5pm
  • Friday, August 25—”Welcome to your new home, Springfield” Party, PAC conference room H, 6-8pm
  • Friday, September 1—New International Student Welcome Party, SLB Gym, 5-8pm
  • Friday, September 15—Floating at Meramec State Park, 7am
  • Friday, September 22—Jefferson National Expansion Memorial trip, 8:30am
  • Friday, October 6—Mid-Autumn Festival, Diversity Center, 3-5pm
  • Saturday, October 14—Jack-O-Lantern Pumpkin Carving, Washington Park, 1pm
  • Friday, November 3—40th Annual International Festival, TRAC, 5-8pm
  • Tuesday, November 14—International Education Week, Guest Speaker Presentation, Brookens Auditorium, 5-6pm


Fall 2017 Schedule


40th Anniversary of the UIS International Festival!

This year, UIS will celebrate the 40th International Festival. Come discover the rich history of the University’s International Festival.

Each year, hundreds of campus and community members have met for an international meal, program and exhibits. Held this year at The Recreation and Athletic Center on November 3 from 5:00 p.m. to 8:00 p.m., the Festival’s theme is “Anniversaries”

The event is made possible through the work of volunteers, who spent hours working as masters of ceremony, setting up the stage, greeting guests at the door, and cleaning up afterwards.

40th Anniversary International Festival

Past Workshops and Programs

International Festivals

Read more about the history of the International Festival, view the gallery of photos, and learn how you can get involved in the 40th Annual International Festival next year!

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Religious Holidays

Holidays marked with * indicate an official holiday for which most schools, offices, banks, and stores are closed.

*January 1, New Years Day
Celebration of this holiday begins the night before, when Americans gather to wish each other a happy and prosperous coming year. Many Americans make New Year’s Resolutions.

*Third Monday in January, Martin Luther King, Jr.’s Birthday
Martin Luther King, Jr. organized and led the civil rights movement in America during the 1960’s. His leadership was characterized by peaceful dissent in the tradition of Gandhi. He is often quoted for his “I Have a Dream” speech.

*February 12, Lincoln’s Birthday
Abraham Lincoln was President during the Civil War (1861-1865), a period that had a profound effect on the history of the nation. He acted to bring the seceded states back into the Union and was instrumental in obtaining freedom of slaves. This is an official holiday in many states, including Illinois, often celebrated as President’s Day in conjunction with Washington’s Birthday (see below).

*Third Monday in February, Washington’s Birthday or President’s Day
Honors George Washington, the first President of the United States. This date is commonly called Presidents’ Day and many groups honor the legacy of past presidents on this date.

February 14, Valentine’s Day
A romantic holiday, Valentine’s Day is celebrated by sending cards, giving candy to friends, and giving flowers to loved ones.

March 17, St. Patrick’s Day
This is a day dedicated to the patron saint of Ireland.  Many people wear green on this day.  Beware; you may be pinched if you don’t!

April 1, April Fool’s Day
This day is marked by the custom of playing practical jokes on friends.

One Sunday in March or April, Easter
This is a religious holiday for Christians. Many traditions are now connected with Easter, including the decoration of brightly colored eggs, giving baskets of gifts to children, and Easter Egg Hunts.

Second Sunday in May, Mother’s Day
On this day Americans honor their mothers.

Third Sunday in June, Father’s Day
Fathers are honored on this day.

*Last Monday in May, Memorial Day
Memorial Day is the day when Americans remember those who died in the military service of their country. Many families visit graves and decorate them with flowers.

*July 4, Independence Day
Independence Day is the U.S. national day. It commemorates the day the Declaration of Independence was signed in 1776. This official holiday is celebrated all over the country with picnics, political speeches, and community gatherings that culminate with fireworks displays.

*First Monday in September, Labor Day
This official holiday honors the nation’s working people.  It is the last holiday of the summer season and is celebrated with picnics and other festivities.

October 31, Halloween
Children dress in costumes and visit the neighbors to receive candy on this holiday. This is called “trick or treating.”  Adults may attend costume parties.

*November 11, Veterans’ Day
This day is to honor American men and women who have served in the military services of the United States.

*Fourth Thursday in November, Thanksgiving Day
The first Thanksgiving Day was observed by the Pilgrims at Plymouth Colony in Massachusetts in 1621 to give thanks for the bountiful harvest and their triumph of survival over the wilderness. Now it is a day when Americans give thanks for the life they enjoy and they celebrate by gathering with family to eat traditional foods, such as turkey, cranberry sauce, potatoes, and pumpkin pie.

Late November or Early December, Chanukah
An eight-day Jewish holiday marking the rededication of the Temple.

*December 25, Christmas
Many people regard this as the most important holiday of the year, with the holiday season extending from a few days before Christmas until New Year’s Day. The origins are religious in nature, but is has become a day celebrated by almost everyone in the United States. Family members travel great distances to be together for this day. Gifts are exchanged and a traditional dinner is shared. Even families who do not have strong religious convictions decorate a Christmas tree and join in the festivities of the season.

December 26 to New Year’s Day, Kwanzaa
This seven-day celebration is based on the African principles of family, community and spirituality, with an emphasis on children. Kwanzaa is particularly celebrated among persons of African descent.