Tuesday, October 19, 2010

Beer, Pretzels & the Buzz about Cultural Diversity Written By Neha Mukherjee-Nathani

          Living on the budget and the schedule of a business school student makes it really tough to enjoy the things that young adults often love doing. Luxuries like international travel and cultural exploration become almost other-worldly fascinations for which we as graduate students have neither the required time nor the money! This isn’t a unique circumstance by any means, but one that I suspect so many of my fellow classmates find themselves in!
          So when the International Student Organization, (the ISO,) announced that it would celebrate Oktoberfest on October 12th I knew I didn’t want to miss my chance at an introduction to the German festival and its culture! When I got to the 2nd FL lounge I saw that the good folks of ISO had transformed the place into a Bavarian festival, complete with banners, signs and a healthy dose of German, folk music. My eyes immediately roved the room for food and refreshments, (give me a break, I’m a grad student!) Rahul Gada, V.P. of ISO, was pumping chilled lager from a keg for all to enjoy, and there were ample sandwiches, cookies and of course, pretzels for our enjoyment! (If this kind of hospitality is what German culture’s all about, sign me up!)
          Somewhere between refreshing my parched throat with cold beer and munching down on the snacks, I made my way back to the sign-in table and saw the some of the other ISO Board, Gayathri Ganesh (President,) Komal Motwani (Treasurer,) and Akshat Gupta (V.P.) I chatted up Gayathri and found out that the motivation of sponsoring this event was twofold, (1) to give us a break from the hectic schedule of classes, meetings, networking and if there’s any time left, studying! And (2), they wanted to get people together to talk about their experiences and cultural backgrounds. Gayathri explained, “We try to create a home away from home by celebrating some of the most important festivals of other countries. We also think of ourselves as a cultural club, as providing an opportunity to learn about other cultures and traditions so that when we are out in the real world and doing business globally, we have some exposure to the culture of the people we meet across the globe. We at ISO feel that everyone stands to benefit from the diverse student population of RBS. I think it is wonderful that we can learn from each other.”
          Maybe it was the perfectly-formed foam of the lager in my cup or the yummy goodies the good folks at ISO arranged for us, but looking around at all the different faces and the backgrounds they came from gave me a feeling of confidence that I’m better prepared for a relatively “flat,” global community.

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