Students experience Saudi Arabia for a night

Saudi Student Club president Salem Sahary speaks at Saudi Arabia Culture night. Photo by Nick Nelson/The Dakota Student.

UND is home to a variety of diverse cultures and backgrounds and on Thursday night, students had an opportunity to get a taste of a different culture without ever having to leave campus.

Saudi Arabia Cultural Night was an informative social event held in the Memorial Union Ballroom and offered a chance for students to explore the unique culture of Saudi Arabia.

“We have a very diverse culture and so many different tribes in Saudi Arabia,” Saudi Student Club President Salem Sahary said. “There is a lot to learn about the culture.”

The event was one of the many ongoing cultural nights coordinated by the International Center and was primarily organized and prepared by the Saudi Student Club.

This year’s gathering received one of the largest turnouts the event has ever seen. More preparation by the student club went into shaping this year’s culture night.

During the event, the ballroom was heavily crowded with people eager to learn about Saudi Arabian culture while a line of guests steadily flowed in and out the door.

Throughout the evening, free Saudi food was available to all guests in attendance. Food selections included fresh brewed Arabic coffee, dates and Baklava.

Guests also had the opportunity to win prizes, enjoy henna decoration, learn how to write names in Arabic, take pictures at the photo booth, tour cultural stands and sit in a recreation of a Saudi Bedouin living room tent.

The event allowed students and other guests to become more familiar with Saudi Arabian culture and discover the unique philosophies and lifestyles of the country and its people.

Guests had the opportunity to ask questions and chat with Saudi students to gain a deeper understanding of the culture while exploring the event.

The Club

While campus is home to many international students, cultural awareness is an important dynamic for students to participate in.

“Nowadays we have more than 111,000 Saudi students here in the U.S,” Sahary said.

While encouraging a better understanding of Saudi Arabian culture for UND students, the Saudi culture night and student club is something that makes the exchange for Saudi students on campus easier.

“We try to make an easy transition for the new Saudi students to emerge in the U.S. culture and make their college experience better,” Sahary said.

The Saudi Student club is an extended part of the Saudi Cultural Mission to U.S. and works closely with the International Center. The group will continue to work together across UND to bring cultural awareness to all students.

“We believe that the better people understand your culture the better they understand you,” Sahary said.

Amanda Hefner is a staff writer for The Dakota Student. She can be reached at [email protected].