Koorosh Korfi, Persia
I was the president of one of the national societies of the university, Persian Society, in the academic year of 2006/07. The committee of the society organised loads of events for the Iranian students of the university and also participated in the 3 big international events of the university that are Intro Fiesta, Food Night and International Cultural Evening. It was an amazing experience for me to organise joyful and ecstatic events for the students from my country and also to introduce our rich and ancient culture to people from all over the world in the forms of foods, music, clothes, drinks and traditional tools.
My great experience as the organiser goes back to the Intro Fiesta, which is the 1st international event in each year and is held every year in October, right after the start of the academic year.
Apart from the great responsibility of showing my culture and my country in its best way, meeting new people from my country and organising a working committee to establish our stall was the main circumstance. The society committee was working side-by-side with the international committee of the union from late August till the time of the event.
Initially the national societies were asked to suggest a traditional or national game for their country that could be organised and played on the night. It was a very tough job because all the societies were really keen to take part, but there wasn´t enough space for all of us to perform. Therefore, better and more exciting ideas would be considered with more preference. After counselling with most of our members who were here during summer, we finally decided to suggest a traditional game which is usually played in some of the countries in our region, called "Kabbedi", which is a kind of group games that consists of two teams trying to catch the other team´s players combined with some sort of traditional wrestling.
Our idea was initially approved by the international officer and everything seemed fine till a couple of weeks before the event, the Health and Safety managers of the Octagon, the Intro Fiesta venue, did not let us to have this game indoors due to the physical contact between the players and the dangers that would cause in a busy event where alcoholic drinks are also being served. So everything was ruined in a night!
However, because of all the effort we made and the entire enthusiast we showed towards this event, the international committee of the union gave us another opportunity and other suggestions to integrate us again into the event.
Eventually, we ended up having a stall to introduce Shisha or Hookah, a traditional smoking device in Middle East, and also traditional Persian tea with Persian sweets. Most of our members helped the committee to establish our stall and to decorate it as a traditional Persian café with a traditional kettle, Samavar, to serve tea and some delicious Persian sweets on one side and cushions and Persian rugs on the other side to prepare a place for people to have their teas while they were sitting on the rug.
Beside the main part of our stall were four shishas which were served with three different flavours, apple, coconut and orange. Since everything was served for free everybody could try the shishas for a few minutes. The most amazing thing about that night was the huge number of people queuing up in front of our stall, and the number of people who were sitting on the cushions and didn´t want to leave its comfort.
Most of the students were British fans of shisha and some of them were quite new to it and after that night they were all asking us how we can get one in Sheffield! And still most of the people from that night know me and my friends as "Shisha makers"!
This was one of my unforgettable nights and experiences as an international student and also as a person who could introduce his country and culture as best as he could!
Koorosh Korfi, Persia