By Sonaili Vasta and Arianna Lee
International students come from all over the world to study at the University of Sussex. With such a diverse body of students, it should come as no surprise that it is home to over 40 international student societies. The Badger explores why international societies exist and how they can benefit you.
In addition to meeting other students from your background, a massive benefit of international societies are the events. Each society holds its own events relevant to the culture being represented, such as the Chinese society throwing their annual Chinese New Year celebration. The Holi festival of colours, the Singaporean Nottingham ‘pilgrimage’, the Black History Month Showcase, and many more are all fun events that are catered for international students (or domestic students with international heritage). Along with having a great time, these are also good events to meet people similar to you, and learn more about your heritage!
The president of the South Asian Student Soc agrees, saying “as an international student, SASS has allowed me to meet people with similar backgrounds, while also developing my own understanding and appreciation for my culture and where I come from”. SASS is one of the largest international student societies on campus, and promotes inclusion and learning about South Asian culture.
The South Asian society is one of the few societies that I am a part of as I ethnically and culturally identity as Indian. This society has allowed me to engage with my culture in different ways, such as during the annual Diwali show which allowed me to showcase my passion for Bollywood and Indian dancing! Now in my final year, I have the chance to choreograph the dances. It is also where I met some of closest friends at university.
The Malaysian, Bruneian, and Singaporean society (USMBSS) also strives to make international students feel welcome at Sussex. “The society understands that being a student in a foreign land is no easy task, with homesickness being the biggest issue [students face]”. That is why their regular get togethers and events are in the spirit of building a community. “[In addition to] having local cuisine, we have get-togethers to connect, and catch up with major events happening back home. Additionally, being with people who speak similar languages and have familiar accents makes settling into university whole lot easier”.
If engaging with a traditional hobby from your background is more your speed, the Cuban Salsa Society has you covered. Cuban Salsa Society socials are popular and fun, and their classes are for learners with any level of experience. A society member states that “we have a chilled, welcoming atmosphere at every salsa session. In salsa, dancers change partners regularly throughout the class, so everyone meets and chats to everyone – there are no awkward introductions!”.
International student societies are easy to join and well worth it! You will meet people with similar experiences to your own, and find a community to spend your time at university with. Don’t feel left out, even if there isn’t a society specifically for your background, you can create your own! Find more information and meet some of the committee members at the Sussex Freshers fair on September 23rd!