Culture Day at HSE St. Petersburg
On December 2, 2016 a traditional Culture Day was held at HSE St. Petersburg. Students from 21 countries took part in this colorful and enjoyable celebration. International students organized competitions and performances and cooked traditional food in order to showcase their home countries’ unique cultures. The organizers say over 500 people attended the event.
Culture Day is probably the most colorful, original, friendly and definitely the most delicious student events held at HSE in St. Petersburg. It’s the second time it has been held at HSE, and it drew a lot of international students who enjoy sharing the best traditions of their countries with each other. The event was organized by the International Office and the Unit for Student Extracurricular Activities, but the programme and presentations were prepared by students.
This year the hall on the fourth floor of the HSE building on Kantemirovskaya street was decorated with the flags of 21 countries, including the UK, Germany, France, Hungary, China, South Korea, Mexico, Kazakhstan, Uzbekistan, and Russia. One part of the hall hosted a Kazakh rap performance, while another gave space to a British poetry recital. In Chinese corner participants had the chance to learn the basics of calligraphy and practiced writing their own names in Chinese letters, and fortune telling and quizzes took place in the Ukrainian corner. Guests moved from table to table, tasting national dishes. The feast started with Moldovan hominy and Kyrgyz cheese balls, and continued with Mexican spicy snacks. The Uzbeks and Ukrainians generously served main courses: cooking plov and dumplings accordingly. For dessert, the students prepared Kazakh chocolate, French meringue, African sweets and baklava. Camel’s milk turned out to be the most popular drink at the festival.
The celebration continued with performances. Students sang folk songs, played musical instruments and danced. The evening ended in a kaleidoscope featuring all colors, costumes, and languages present. The students organized a flash mob for the representatives of all countries involved. People from all continents, dressed in Uzbek, Indian, Moldovan, Ukrainian, African, Kazakh, Korean and Russian national costumes danced to national music.
At the end of the event the participants shared their impressions:
Exchange student from the University of Bremen, Germany
‘I think organizing a culture day is a great idea. This celebration gave us the opportunity to come together and get to know each other better. International students got acquainted with the culture of Russia and the CIS countries. I think that the Russian participants also learned something interesting. Many of them are now thinking about studying abroad on an exchange programme or applying for a master’s programme in an international university. International students from the countries they might want to go to gathered here for the event, so Russian students had the chance to learn more about the countries and universities firsthand.’
2nd-year BA student in Management, Hungary
‘It’s the second time I have taken part in this event, and I see that there more and more participants each time. This time, looking at the crowd, there was more than I could take in, in one glance. I think next year there will be even more people. I set myself the goal to learn how to cook Hungarian goulash to offer it to all the participants in next year’s event.’
Jorge Pérez Aguilar
Exchange student from the University of Monterrey, Mexico
‘I liked the holiday a lot! The atmosphere here is very friendly; students from all over the world come to us and ask questions about Mexico. I like the university, the city and the country. Russia doesn’t resemble Mexico or Europe, the culture, weather, and people here are different. But I like it a lot.’