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Globetrotting on Golden Avenue: NTNU's Festival of Cultures

The annual NTNU International Cultural Festival kicked off on March 26. The three-day event took place along Sunlight Avenue on the Heping Campus, where students from Japan, Jordan, Southeast Asia, and other regions decorated stalls that showcased their countries’ delicacies and cultural products. With many adorned in their traditional attire, students presented a rich tapestry of global cultures and made Sunlight Avenue a nexus of international cultural exchange and friendship across borders.

The festival theme of “Golden Avenue” this year drew inspiration from the Chinese proverb “Each book holds a house of gold,” celebrating books as repositories of knowledge and conduits for communication. Opening the event with a ribbon cutting ceremony were NTNU President Cheng-Chih Wu; Director Vu Tien Dung of the Vietnam Economic and Culture Office in Taipei; NTNU Vice President Yung-hsiang Frank Ying; National Taiwan University (NTU) Vice President for International Affairs, Hsiao-Wei Yuan, and NTU Associate Dean Pei-Shiue Jason Tsai.

Live performances at the festival included an aural feast was provided by NTNU Graduate Institute of Ethnomusicology highlighted the role of music in cultural exchange with a performance rich in Taiwanese musical elements. Visitors also sampled fragrant tea at a traditional Japanese tea ceremony demonstrated by students from Japan. Indonesian students from the NTNU Academy of Preparatory Programs for Overseas Chinese Students reinterpreted the theme song from “Mulan” through traditional Indonesian music in a vocal performance that amalgamated Indonesian and Chinese cultures. An exciting martial arts demonstration by Malaysian students further broadened the cultural perspectives of the attendees.

In a speech thanking NTNU’s international students for enriching the cultural diversity at the university, President Cheng-Chih Wu said, “Internationalization is a goal shared by the Taiwan government and NTNU. In recent years, the university has actively developed and optimized educational policies to attract qualified international applicants.”

Representative Vu Tien Dung from the Vietnam Economic and Culture Office thanked NTNU for providing a welcoming education environment conducive to learning. “This festival is an opportunity for exchange among international students, who will become future ambassadors for cross-cultural exchange.”

In her remarks, NTU Vice President for International Affairs Hsiao-Wei Yuan highlighted the many collaborative activities since 2015 aimed to strengthen intercollegiate friendships within the three-university system comprising the NTU, NTNU and National Taiwan University of Science and Technology. She envisioned a mutually beneficial future for the institutions, and invited participants to visit the international cultural festival at NTU in April.

The multicultural food exhibition featured students in traditional attire introducing cuisines from a cornucopia of cultures: from Jordanian rose fereni pudding to Japanese curry, to the Malaysian breakfast staple of Kaya bread paired with Milo beverage.

In addition to the cultural and cuisine showcase, the festival also included the “Cultural Journey” storytelling and song-guessing challenge on March 27, and the “Fly to the Ends of the Earth” trivia quiz on March 28.