The much-anticipated Melbourne University’s Overseas Student Services Night Market went off without a hitch last week.
The event is an annual highlight for international and local students, who flock to the university’s Union Lawn to enjoy the market’s many food stalls and activity booths.
This year more than 5,000 people tucked into bulgogi, fried radish cakes, teh tarik, crepes and other delicacies, all cooked by members of the university’s international student clubs and societies.
When they weren’t eating, students tried their hand at Chinese calligraphy and Henna art painting, got their photo taken, played games powered by PlanetUNI, and tested their balance with free surfboard rides.
MUOSS cultural and social director Jamie Wong said this year’s food stalls and activities were chosen to encourage multiculturalism and diversity at the event.
“We were hoping to change people’s impressions that the Night Market is an event that only sells food. In fact, there are also arts and crafts, games and performances,” she said.
On the night, students were treated performances by a number of different cultural acts including the Hong De Lion Dance Association, Kaylah Bellydance and Flare Dance Ensemble.
MUOSS president Yee Hooi Tee said such performances captured the different nationalities of the students who attended the university.
“It was essentially a melting pot of cultures, where students from various nations and ethnic groups could come together for one night to showcase their unique cultures, as well as to learn and appreciate the wonderful diversity of our community,” she added.
Malaysian-born commerce student Looi Wen Jie was at the market and said he was mesmerized by everything on offer.
“I listened to a few singing performances and they were really good at it. I visited every food stall at the Night Market, but my favourites were Aunty Angie’s cendol and everything by Home Cooked Delight,” he said.
“MUOSS did a good job. It provided an opportunity for international students to meet new people. It also reminds me of the night market back in my home country, Malaysia,” he said with a smile.
Arts student Lattana Thommaly, from Laos, was also at the market and said she loved the event’s vibrant atmosphere.
“I think it is one of the greatest events at the university because it gives overseas students the opportunity to present their traditional cuisine to other people. I tried the food from several stalls, namely the Taiwanese, French and Malaysian students’ stalls. The food tasted beautiful,” she said.
“Seeing the sellers cooking and selling also made me think that it might be a good idea to see Lao students participate next year and present our lovely cuisine to the local and international students.”
If you missed this year’s Night Market don’t despair, the MUOSS is already organising their Festival of Nations, to be held in second semester.
Summing up at the event, the president of MUOSS said the university experience for international students extended beyond having a high calibre education and a graduate certificate.
“It’s about embracing every essence of the Melbourne community, be it sipping a good cup of latte with some friends or spending a sunny afternoon at the Melbourne Museum with a friend from a different continent,” Ms Tee said.
Were you at the MUOSS Night Market and did you get your snap taken by Meld’s roving photographer? Check out more pictures on our Facebook page.