Many international students on DePauw’s campus are celebrating Lunar New Year, which began on Feb. 1 this year. According to them, the celebration of Lunar New Year and traditional events in different cultures is a way to reconnect with their home countries and stay true to their identities.
Ji-Yoon Kang, a Korean first-year, is working as an intern at the Center of Diversity and Inclusion. She designed the posters for International Student Affairs to celebrate Lunar New Year.
“[While designing the posters] I found out that America and Korea have similar and different parts of their cultures…We still need to keep our identities with our traditional events and cultures, regardless of where we are,” Kang said.
Kang celebrated Lunar New Year by calling her family and her teachers at home. Meanwhile, Huy Phung, a Vietnamese first-year, cooked and ate traditional Vietnamese food with his friends.
“This is my first time celebrating Lunar New Year away from home so I do feel a little bit sad. But cooking and eating with my Vietnamese friends made me feel like I was home again,” Phung said.
According to Phung, it is important for everyone to celebrate their traditional events even when they are in another country, because it helps them feel more connected to each other and it is a way to share their cultures with other people as well.
“I’m glad that my American friends asked me questions about [our traditional events], so I could tell them about our cultures and ask them about their cultures too,” Phung said.
Tingwei Yang, a Chinese first-year, gathered with her friends to eat their traditional food and watch the Spring Festival Gala. “This is not my first time celebrating Lunar New Year away from China, but it's my first time celebrating with my friends. At first I thought I was so lonely but I really enjoyed the gathering time,” Yang said.
Yang thought that wherever we live or stay, we should celebrate our traditional events because they are parts of our culture. “We cannot change our culture even if we are not living in [our hometown],” Yang said.
To celebrate Lunar New Year, Hoover Dining Hall prepared traditional Asean food such as sticky jasmine rice, longevity noodles, and Chinese Ginger-soy Steamed fish.
Many international students appreciate DePauw’s efforts to support celebrations of traditional events in different cultures. “I work at the Center of Diversity and Inclusion, so I know that people there work so hard to support every celebration,” Kang said.
Yang hopes that the school can organize a day where students celebrate Lunar New Year together so that everyone has an opportunity to experience different cultures. “We can have the feeling like we are at home,” Yang said.