Festival showcases international student cultures

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The South Asian Student Association’s (SASA) Festival of Culture took place in the TSAR on Saturday, Nov. 18, at 6 p.m.

The event kicked off with the national anthems of the countries being sung by participants from their respective countries, which included Bangladesh, Thailand, India, Nepal, Pakistan and the U.S. Participants from China and Russia also performed at the festival.

The fifth Festival of Culture offered a platform for international students to share their culture with campus. That cross-cultural exposure is something that Rubaiath Hossain, SASA community relations leader and one of the festival’s coordinators, is glad to see more of at SVSU.

“In order to make people understand more about different cultures, learn different cultures, I think it’s very important,” said Hossain, a fourth-year finance major. “I would say in terms of … learning new things, and building better understanding and awareness, programs like this play a huge role.”

The night was filled with plenty of musical performances and dance numbers. There were songs sung by students from Nepal, China and a foreign-exchange student from Russia. There was even a Nepali-Hindi-Bengali-American hybrid performance of the song “Californication” by the Red Hot Chili Peppers. Attendees could line up to receive Henna tattoos as well.

“I like the singing … the food is amazing,” said fourth-year mechanical engineering major Jassim Alnajadah, who came out to the festival upon the suggestion of friends. “It’s hard to find different cultures if you don’t meet different people.”

Some of the dance performances of the festival included two students, one from Nepal and the other from Taiwan, performing Bollywood dance routines. There were also other dance shows put on by Pakistani and Nepalese students.

Nepalese student Reecha Upadhyay, a third-year math and physics major, appreciated the sense of comfort and familiarity the festival brought.

“We have a lot festivals back home and we don’t get to celebrate a lot of those here and it’s like a replacement for that,” Upadhyay said. “It makes SVSU feel more like home to us.”

This sentiment was echoed by Tayyaba Chaudhary, a Pakistani foreign-exchange student.

“The people here … make me feel at home,” Chaudhary said.

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