Photo by Nina Bayatti/The Gazelle

Celebrating Asian culture at DTC

Photo by Nina Bayatti/The Gazelle On Friday, April 12 students had the chance to experience the flavors of Japan, China, Taiwan, the Philippines, ...

Apr 13, 2013

Photo by Nina Bayatti/The Gazelle
On Friday, April 12 students had the chance to experience the flavors of Japan, China, Taiwan, the Philippines, Vietnam, South Korea and Indonesia, with some 200 people gathering in the Downtown Campus garden for Asian Night. Among them were staff and faculty members and their families, a delegate from the Taiwanese embassy, the Philippine Ambassador and other members of the Abu Dhabi community who wished to celebrate a night of cultural heritage. Asian Night was entirely organized by students, with a dedicated team of around 20 putting together the event.
“It was a great experience to see the differences between all the traditional dresses, cuisines and performances throughout the evening,” said sophomore Umair Ahsan. “I never really thought about how different countries within Asia are and how diverse the cultures within a single continent can be.”
Booths for seven countries were set up around the courtyard with food, books, photos and other items displayed for those interested in learning more about these countries. Some groups cooked their own food, while others received food from their embassies and local restaurants. Food was also prepared by NYUAD’s dining staff in a large buffet-style meal for the main course.
“I was really impressed by the setup of the food on the individual booths,” said sophomore Israel Desta. “It was extremely enjoyable exploring each country’s distinctive cuisine, by going from booth to booth. I particularly enjoyed all the desserts served that night.”
Dining was interspersed with performances throughout the night. A seating area with chairs, mats and cushions were set up in front of the stage for the audience. Multiple acts featuring both students and staff, as well as a guest performer from outside of the university, showcased the rich cultural heritage of Asia.
“It was my first time but it was definitely an experience that I won't forget,” said sophomore Daniel Kim, one of the emcees for the night. “It was like seeing the world in front of me, in a way, because people from so many cultures were sitting in the same area, the same mat and the same chairs. I loved that I was able to take part in an activity that could bring our community together in such a global way.”
Both the traditional and the modern were shown to an enthusiastic audience that night. Performances ranged from Japanese koto and iai jutsu, the art of drawing the katana, to popular songs and a K-pop dance.
Sophomore Christine Hristova, the main student coordinator of the event, described the event as an opportunity for students to proudly show off the distinct identities of their countries.
“It was nice being able to organize an event involving so many people from different countries and everyone was really passionate about representing their countries,” Hristova said. “It was a nice experience and being able to gather seven countries to celebrate our cultures is also one of the amazing things that can happen in a university such as NYUAD.”
Judy Mei is a contributing writer. Email her at
gazelle logo