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Discover how international students celebrate Indian festivals like Holi, and Diwali abroad, creating a sense of community and cultural connection in a foreign land.
Anam ShamsUpdated on: 31 Jan 2024
Insights by Srijith, Master in Construction Management Student at Michigan State University
Being an international student at a university like Michigan State University (MSU), which boasts a diverse student body from across the globe, provides a unique and enriching experience. Amidst this diversity, celebrating one's own culture and traditions becomes a vital aspect of maintaining a sense of identity and belonging. As an Indian student at MSU, I have been fortunate to witness and actively participate in the vibrant celebrations of Indian festivals, thanks to the university's inclusive approach and the presence of various student organizations dedicated to cultural festivities.
Michigan State University takes pride in its commitment to fostering an inclusive and diverse environment for its students. With a global community that represents a multitude of cultures, MSU ensures that all students have equal opportunities to celebrate their respective festivals. This inclusive approach extends to various cultural organizations on campus, such as the Indian Student Organization (ISO) and Deepam, which play a crucial role in organizing and promoting Indian festivals and customs.
Read what Srijith has to say about the Differences Between Indian and US Classroom Experience
One of the significant festivals celebrated by the Indian community at MSU is Sankranthi, the Indian harvesting festival. As a member of the Diversity, Equity & Inclusion committee in my department, I took the initiative to arrange a Sankranthi celebration by collaborating with fellow students and ordering traditional Indian delicacies for the entire department. Additionally, we organized a kite decorating event, providing students, staff, and faculty with an opportunity to participate in the joyous festivities associated with Sankranthi.
The Indian Student Organization (ISO) plays a pivotal role in bringing these cultural experiences to the forefront. ISO, a student-led group at MSU, is dedicated to promoting Indian culture and heritage among the university community. They organize various events and festivities, including Diwali and Holi celebrations, which are significant highlights for the Indian student community at MSU.
One remarkable aspect of celebrating Indian festivals at MSU is the strong sense of community among Indian students. It goes beyond attending organized events to a more intimate level, where students come together to cook traditional Indian food and celebrate festivals collectively. This practice not only replicates the warmth of celebrations back home but also helps in building lasting friendships, turning the university into a "home away from home."
In conclusion, being an international student at MSU provides a rich tapestry of cultural experiences, and the university's commitment to diversity and inclusion ensures that every student has the opportunity to celebrate their cultural heritage. As an Indian student, participating in festivals like Sankranthi, Holi, and Diwali has not only allowed me to stay connected with my roots but has also provided a sense of belonging and community in a foreign land. Through events organized by cultural organizations like ISO and personal initiatives within the academic community, MSU has truly become a home away from home for international students, fostering an environment where diverse traditions are not only respected but celebrated with open arms.
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