A Blog by International Students at Leiden University
How is your summer holiday so far? I’ve just kicked off mine with a great start by participating in what seems to be the most anticipated event of your life as a Leiden University’s student: the Cultural Festival organized by ISN! As I went to international schools before, cultural festival is nothing familiar, and probably a must-have since it is the perfect chance to foster cultural exchanges, make new friends and especially liven up the spirit of your multicultural community.
At first I thought I would just be a visitor, because 1) I really don’t know anybody else from Vietnam like myself and 2) setting up a booth in the festival will take a lot of work. Surprisingly enough, this is also the chance for you to find your fellow countrymen: A Vietnamese guy posted on the Facebook page of Leiden Housing that he was looking for other Vietnamese to join him on the festival, and I found out that there are actually 5 of us! Everyone was a bit hesitant in the beginning though, since we have our own things to do and it’s quite difficult to plan anything with such a small team. Turned out, many other teams even had fewer members than we do, and in the end we managed to pull out quite a great presentation – we even had a performance!
In the end, I was really glad that I was “forced” to become a country representative. I feel so proud that we did a great job in introducing our traditional food and culture to friends in Leiden. We even took great length to visit the embassy to borrow the decorative pieces and extra traditional clothes so that other people could try them on too! It was a lot of fun seeing people dressing like Vietnamese and taking pictures with us.
Now for next year, even if you don’t fancy the idea of “cultural exchange,” you should still pay a visit because nobody can say no to food, a lot of international food. Thanks to the enthusiastic country representatives, you can have samples of many different kinds of food and drinks from all over the world. My advice: come early, the food usually runs out really fast.
So, do think about being a country representative next year and pack a few things from home when you go to Leiden. It doesn’t really matter if you just have 2 or 3 people in your team, just bring anything and a big smile, people are absolutely going to appreciate it no matter what.