By Ryan Reinhardt
To learn about or experience other cultures is to open yourself to new potentially uncomfortable or life-changing information. Intercultural interactions are an important part of learning on a college campus– not all knowledge has to come from the classroom.
These ideas are relevant to the recent Muhibbah Night event on campus. As Muhibbah Club put on this event, it is important to know the rough meaning of the Malaysian word Muhibbah– “unity among nations.”
Muhibbah Night was a night that invited members of the club to let their cultures flourish through meal and performance. The dining hall helped prepare meals from students’ cultural backgrounds and, after the meal, dances, songs, and poems were performed by members from various cultures.
Being at this event gave me a level of satisfaction and fulfillment. Social interaction constantly happening around me, new foods to try, and beautiful acts of cultural expression. As an American member of the club, I also decided to read a poem– “America” by Claude McKay.
Being an active member in the event, I had a different experience than many others may have had. Being able to be familiar with many of the club members made the food and performances more intimate.
I could feel this intimacy in my blood– like humid air swelling up in my body, this togetherness felt both heavy and light. To be embedded in a group of people from very different places with very different cultures, is to be better able to recognize self, one’s flaws, one’s strengths.
Muhibbah Club and Muhibbah Night in particular provide an important pillar to cultural exchange at Wilson College. For students from various countries and cultures to connect with each other acts as a kind of support while also promoting learning about self and about the world that surrounds a person.
I cannot capture the Muhibbah Night in words– the food and performance can only truly be experienced in person. With this in mind, I am glad so many students and members of the community were able to attend the event.