The Global Week was a week-long celebration at NTU that celebrated the vast cultural diversity that university boasts, running this year between 25 February – 1 March.
For a lot of people, the appeal of the event lies with the amazing range of free food that tingles our taste buds, taking us around the world in a single bite.
The week is popular among internationals for the chance they’ve been given to show others where they come from- their food, their clothing, their dances and among locals for the chance they have to get a glimpse of the world without actually stepping out of university.
I’d be lying if I said that these parts didn’t appeal to me. Free food, a chance to experience various cuisines and take a look at different traditions, is never going to be a bad thing. But the week means something else, something invoking a sense of belonging – to me.
As the only international student in my year, I’ve found it hard to connect with people in my three years at NTU as a British resident. And yet surrounded by people each proudly showing off their roots, I feel like I fit in.
I’m no longer “the only international student” feeling out of depth, getting to grasp with an unfamiliar world. I’m not the only person that had to learn to fit in and integrate.
I am just another student, another person, that just so happens to belong to another country and suddenly I feel at home despite only having strangers around me.
Everyone feels most at home, when they are with someone who shares their language, culture and in some cases even appearance. And this week gives everyone the opportunity to understand that they’re not alone; that there are so many people just like you strolling along the corridors of the university.
The only pitfall of this otherwise amazing week is that it lasts only one week. Of course, there are other events aimed at international students taking place around the clock, all year round, at the Global Lounge, but somehow, it’s not the same.
As people come in and leave the café in groups, there doesn’t seem to be the same excitement to share cultures and trade stories of your home country that exists during Global Week. And I am left feeling like I don’t belong once again.
A week of free food, different cultures, and fulfilling a desire to belong – all great, all memorable. If only it was a daily thing, instead of yearly, maybe I would feel at home all the time- even greater, even more memorable.
By Malvika Padin