Preeti Adhikary, an NUS MBA exchange student from Vancouver, shares her experience about International Day 2009.
Why do people come to Singapore on exchange? To travel, to learn about Asian cultures and to escape the cold are all logical answers. My reason is a bit personal and different. As an Asian who had spent many years in North America, I needed to reacquaint myself with Asia and Singapore seemed like the perfect location. However, charting unfamiliar territory is not always fun. Coming to a classroom full of strangers and sitting alone at lunch are not the experiences I had envisioned. After juggling mixed feelings and undergoing withdrawal symptoms, I finally decided to try to mingle and attend a social event. In hindsight, I realize this decision was the turning point of my exchange experience. As corny as it sounds, I feel at home at NUS now.
The MBA International Day is an annual celebration organized by Student Activities, NUS MBA Student Council. This year, it was held on a Sunday, October the 4th. The Guild Hall at the NUSS Kent Ridge Guild House came to life for the occasion. First and second-year MBAs, joint-degree MBAs and a few exchange students came together to celebrate the event. The students, some along with their partners and children dressed up in their national costumes, showcased their rich cultural heritage and celebrated the diversity of the NUS student population.
The night started with a welcome speech by Prof Nitin Pangarkar, NUS MBA Academic Director. The two emcees Jennifer and Luke spiced up the night with their wit and humor. Presentations about various countries like Indonesia, Ireland, Brazil and Canada allowed the student body to understand and appreciate the uniqueness of each nation. It was interesting to learn that Indonesia is comprised of thousands of islands and also how Rio de Janeiro won the bid for the 2016 Summer Olympics. The subtle differences between USA and Canada were also explained. Dance and song performances from different countries and varied musical genres took the audience to another level of excitement. Shipra enthralled everyone with her rendition of Kathak while Vivian performed a wondrous Chinese dance.
The final portion of the night was aptly titled ‘Crossing Borders’. Bilal’s song entitled ‘Dosti’ or ‘friendship’ seemed to capture the hearts of all present, no matter if they understood the language or not. Music, like friendship has the magical power to break down barriers and unify people. The night ended with a mesmerizing fusion of musical genius – a Carnatic Raag (Srini) combined with Spanish beats (Rashid) and Pakistani pop music (Bilal). Crossing Borders could very well be the theme of the night – a borderless world that celebrates cultural diversity and religious harmony. Overall, it was truly a night to remember, not only because of the flawless performances, but more so because it brought the diverse student body together.
MBA Exchange Student
University of British Columbia, Vancouver, Canada