Posted by: asprockett | June 6, 2013

International Public Health Cultural Night

Each year, the International Public Health students at Sydney Uni get together to celebrate our diverse cultures. Students dress up in their traditional clothing, bring foods from their home countries, and generally have a good time together. Dan and I struggled to come up with traditional dress and food for the United States, defaulting to our normal everyday gear. (So perhaps I was representing the United States circa 2004, which, as my friends will attest, was about the last time I went on a major shopping trip.) Choosing clothing was even more difficult knowing that so many of our Uni friends had such beautiful and distinct cultural dress. And, unlike our well-spoken professor from England, we didn’t even have a cool accent to get us out of our predicament. At cultural night we had a fashion show where each of us could explain the significance of the clothes we chose for the night.


I think my favorite explanation of the night was Kate’s (from the United States) who explained her outfit as the “traditional American thrift store chic, my pants are from K-mart and my shirt is from Goodwill.” Well done, Kate. Well done!

Only after the event did Dan and I come up with several passable clothing options:

  • Dan could have dressed up like a coal miner and I could have dressed up like a Plains farmer
  • Dan could have worn his Brown’s football jersey and I could have worn an old college t-shirt
  • Dan could have worn his “Yeah, I’m From Ohio” shirt and I could have worn my “Ohio Love” shirt (my personal favorite after-the-fact option)

Can we have a do-over?

The food bit was even more challenging because a) I love to cook but b) Baking is my go-to method and we don’t have an oven here. With some brainstorming help from my mom, we eventually landed on No Bake Cookies. No Bake Cookies are tied to our memories of scouting and camping, which seemed appropriate to represent the United States. The evening’s food, as expected, was absolutely delicious and represented cultures from all over the world. I now think we should make an International Public Health Student Cookbook.

And what cultural festivity would be complete without dancing to music from around the world? With a bit of reliance on YouTube for music (and dance moves), we worked up a sweat on the dance floor.

I continue to be impressed by my classmates and the many different talents and gifts they bring to this program. What an amazing group to be part of!


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