Siyaya, a traditional Zimbabwean dance group, marked the end of a celebration of culture, religion and traditions with an interactive public performance at Hallam Square. Sheffield Hallam University’s International Week festival paid homage to the diversity of its rich number of international students.
More than three thousand students shared their experiences of living in South Yorkshire and being at Sheffield Hallam University, including New Yorker John Ngalame who explained why he came to study law at the University rather than attending the renowned Harvard University. Traditional recipes from far away homelands were also tried and tasted in an international cook-off, judged by David Baldwin, founder of Sheffield’s finest banqueting restaurant, Baldwin’s Omega.
This second annual International Week presented opportunities to experience different cultures, and brought home the true meaning of religious festivals such as the Diwalli ‘festival of lights’ interpreted through traditional Hindu dance, and an insight into the real meaning of Bonfire night and the history of Guy Fawkes. The festival is devised to improve the understanding of other traditions, values and beliefs through workshops, activities and discussions.
International Week organiser, Rick Brand, said: “Inter-faith understanding is increasingly important, particularly with young people who are the future opinion formers in our society. Through education and focused events such as International Week, we can help to promote a better understanding of different cultures and support the development of tolerance and peace. Sheffield Hallam is extremely proud of our international relationships and how they are expressed in our increasing number of students and academics from across the world.”
Other activities included a discussion of the importance of the Ramadan fast for Muslims, why the Buddhist religion continues to grow in popularity, and an insight into the Sikh religion and how it sits within contemporary British society.
The support provided to international students to ensure that their time here is welcoming, is of great importance to Sheffield Hallam. Recognising that a fertile base of culture and diversity is vital to maintain a fresh and vibrant university and city which embraces new ideas, it was one of the earliest adopters of a global benchmark for the international student experience. This has seen the University become a leader in global recruitment.