The University of Wollongong has hosted a multicultural gathering for exchange students, to foster understanding and lifelong bonds through global cuisine, drinks, and games.
The international students had the opportunity to present their nationalities, traditions, and heritage in a display of friendship and connection.
Canadian exchange student, Edward Riddell, 20, said these types of events made students reconnect with who we are and where we come from, at the same time as opening minds to different cultures.
“There’s this sense of pride when you take part in these events, otherwise you can sometimes lose a sense of identity,” Mr Riddell said.
“The whole point of exchange is to understand different cultures.
“We’re all raised differently but if you keep an open mind, you can take time out of your day and bond with anyone.”
The party took place at Kooloobong village, on campus, bringing together more than 10 nationalities from around the world, with the countries of the United States, Australia, Canada, England, France, Germany, Jamaica, Netherlands, Sweden, Switzerland represented.
Each person had to decorate their designated dorm, set-up food and drinks, and prepare an activity showcasing their home country.
French exchange student, Jeanne Peralta, 21, said she noticed commonalities and differences between her own country and that of others.
“I was surprised when I saw that France was the only dorm that had prepared a good amount of food, between the crepes, the cheeses, the bread, and the croissants, we easily fed every single person who attended the event,” Ms. Peralta said.
“Back home food definitely brings people closer together and that night was a testimony of it.
“However, what I noticed was that we all love our alcohol, it definitely was a common interest as every single country did an alcohol tasting without even planning it.”
Amidst the festivities, one realisation emerged – that beyond our nationalities, languages, and customs, we are all human beings with similar needs and desires, Ms Peralta said.
Cultural dances, songs, and conversations deepened an understanding of each other’s rich backgrounds, creating lasting memories and a sense of unity that transcended borders.
“Luckily most people speak English nowadays, and we can bond over anything, we can always find a common interest, we’re all the same people in the end. We forget that,” Mr. Riddell said.
The multicultural party at UOW he said served as a reminder of the shared humanity that binds us together.