Colour, culture and communities at heart of celebrations
The University of Huddersfield’s highly anticipated International Week returned for a third year earlier this month as students came together to celebrate different cultures and showcase their heritage.
This year’s event welcomed more than 3,000 international students from over 120 countries, and included a wide range of events, from sports to films and even food tastings.
Organised by the University’s international student societies and sponsored by the International Office it has become one of the cornerstones of the academic social calendar, growing in size every year.
“There is always great anticipation and excitement in the run up to and throughout the International Week,” said International Marketing and Events Officer Alan Tobi.
“The passion, initiative and effort our students put into the growing list of events highlights the high calibre and commitment of students at the University.
“International Week provides the perfect blend of sports, food, culture, traditions, film, arts and education and supports the development and skill sets of our student body.
“I would like to personally thank all students, staff and participants involved for making the week such a resounding success.”
Often the most anticipated day of the festival is the mid-week International Food and Culture Festival.
On this day, the international student societies prepare traditional food from their countries bringing a taste of the world to the campus.
Live music and dancing keep the crowds entertained, with audience participation welcomed. This year saw a diverse range of acts from a Syrian cover of a Pink Floyd classic to a Vietnamese bamboo hat dance and from Iranian heavy metal to bellydancing.
Elsewhere, as sport often unites people with a common passion, students had the opportunity to take part in a world of sport and international football tournaments, as well as an international Zumba session and Bhangra dancing.
For the first time this year, the festival introduced ‘Ding’ a three minute speed-geeking event which enables students from different countries to meet and talk whilst raising money for the National Autistic Society.
Another festival first was an ‘international market’, which offered a range of food and gifts from India, China and Africa.
The ancient Hindu festival, Holi, also known as the festival of colours, brought students from all nations together in a fun water-fight using coloured water-filled balloons and powder.
Even the University’s Campus Kitchen joined in the festivities by serving up an international themed menu with everything from traditional British fayre to a taste of Africa.
Amongst those to experience International Student’s Week for a first time was Advertising and Marketing Communication student Vivienne Lau from Hong Kong.
She said: “International week was full of fun, entertainment, joy and excitement for students and attendees.
“For me, it was a great opportunity to talk to people from different backgrounds and cultures.”
MSc International Business Management student, Eva Šperlíková from the Czech Republic, added: “International Week is one of the events that bring students from all over the world closer.
“It is an amazing opportunity to make new friends who will stay in your contact list for the rest of your life. My favourite events during the week are the food and cultural festival and the world of sports.”