Malaysian Society: A Home Away From Home

The biggest concern I had before coming to London was that I would not fit in. The drastic cultural differences between London and South-East Asia can be noticed easily from the food we eat, the way we speak and sometimes even the way we dress. People in London are phenomenal and I always find myself being able to dive into deep conversations about various topics. The experiences and ideologies that we grew up with are so different that it amazes me every time and allows me to constantly learn new materials from every conversation. However, there comes a point in every international student’s time abroad that we will miss home more than usual. We miss the food which can’t be found here and also the subtle slang and familiar accent from our home countries, but I am lucky enough to have found a home away from home here in London.

The Malaysian Society

One of the most wonderful things about being in Imperial is the diversity here. With international students filling up almost half of the population here, you can find students from various countries all around the world. This led to the creation of over 50 cultural societies here in Imperial.

I was surprised to find out that there are so many Malaysians studying in Imperial as well, giving me a huge sense of comfort. The Malaysian Society in Imperial consists of over 250 members a year and hosts events throughout the year to maintain the welfare of Malaysian students studying in London. They host different events throughout the year such as Amazing Races, cultural dinners and even their very own buddy family system.

The society has been a big support for me throughout my first two years in University. There were times when I’ve gotten sudden surges of homesickness, and was missing home more than I usually do. It is a blessing to have a family here that I can confide my issues with, knowing they are facing similar troubles as I am and are able to give me the right support and the right words of encouragement.

Malaysian Night

The annual Malaysian Night remains the flagship event of the society. It involves a two night play, showcasing our culture through a series of dances, music and art alongside an intriguing storyline. Imperial’s Malaysian Night also presents London’s largest Dikir Barat crew annually, consisting of more than 50 people on stage working together to produce a series of beats and patterns which rattles the whole of the Great Hall.

My two biggest takeaways from this performance was that I was able to showcase my culture to my friends here in London. Even though the performances might be new to foreigners, my friends’ bright smiles and hearty congratulations showed me that even though they do not fully understand our culture, they appreciated it and they enjoyed the performance that we have put up. A few of my friends and I even managed to convince one of our coursemate to join us to perform in Malaysian Night, and it was one of the best decisions he has ever made here! Besides that, the weekly rehearsals and constant practices allowed me to forge a strong friendship between the other performers, allowing us to keep in close touch with one another even until today.

Cultural societies in Universities are such an amazing way for you to explore and connect to your own culture even in foreign countries and are also fantastic platforms for you to discover and appreciate different cultures around the world too! Despite the heavy workload and responsibilities in University, I’m glad that I’m still able to walk down this route with my home away from home.

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