‘Huge opportunity to learn more about other cultures’

| Michael Maurer

The UT’s faculty of Science and Technology (TNW) organised the ‘bring your culture’ event yesterday at Technohal. Whether it was Polish comedy, Dutch folk dance or Bulgarian music, all students were able to show other students a part of their culture at the event.

Photo by: mark damhuis

The goal of the event was to celebrate diversity and interculturalism at the UT. The event consisted of food stands where people could enjoy culturally specific food, but also an open stage where UT students performed music and stand-up comedy related to their respective cultures. The event is part of the Week of the International Student, initiated by UT's Science & Technology faculty.


‘As an international student myself, it took me some time to get used to Dutch culture,’ says event organiser Karan Raju (working at TNW). According to him, many international students share this feeling, which is why the event was organised to help students understand other cultures. Another reason why the event seemed important to the organisers is the end of the Covid pandemic. 'The pandemic made it normal to be isolated and we wanted to offer people an event that would allow them to leave this isolation.’

Interestingly, the organiser feels that the 'Bring Your Culture' event is not only aimed at international students, as Dutch students can also have different cultures and lifestyles. 'We have found that it can also be difficult for Dutch students who leave their hometown and come to Enschede to get used to the new environment and people.'

Experiences of the participants

For Luise Schmitt, a bachelor student of Psychology, the event led her to find out more about her personality. 'I realised through the event that I am not afraid to try new things and that other cultures arouse my curiosity.' Her experience as a student who is not from the Netherlands but from Germany was very positive: 'As a non-Dutch person, I feel very welcomed at UT and this event was an huge opportunity for me to learn more about other cultures.’

According to Minye Jin, a PhD student at UT, the highlight of the 'Bring your culture event' was the open stage. ‘I enjoyed the stand-up comedy that deals with cultural differences.’ As a PhD student originally from China, she appreciated the event for different reasons. 'I had the chance to talk to others, visit different food stands and learn about other cultures.’

Bachelor of Communication Studies, Fara Ghozat, also mentions the problems internationals face at the UT. 'Many international students have problems with accommodation when they come to the UT.' But apart from that, he had no troubles as an international student coming to the UT. 'I didn’t have a culture shock, everything went smoothly and I have enjoyed my experience at the UT so far.' Like for the other interviewed participants, the cultures of others were also interesting for him: 'I participated in the event to learn about other cultures.’

Outcome and future

The organisers are satisfied with how the event went. 'For a pilot event, we are really happy with the number of participants,’ Raju says. ‘We would have liked to have more participants, but I think we had 80 to 100 people today, which is a good number for an event that was planned three weeks ago.' The organisers have big plans for a similar but bigger cultural event. 'Hopefully one day we will organise such an event outdoors in the summer where we could have space for 2000 people.'

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