'Kapustnik' at HSE – Niznhy Novgorod
At Higher School of Economics — Nizhny Novgorod, the international office organizes interesting and engaging events. One of them is the event called “Kapustnik”, which takes place every week at the university. During this event, international students are invited to present a few facts about their own countries and prepare a traditional or cultural dish for other students to try. Such an event really gives one a unique, insider’s perspective on different cultures, straight from people who were raised in those cultures.
In the last few weeks we had the opportunity to participate in the Chinese, Netherlands and French “Kapustnik”. During these presentations, the students talked about the history, the geography, the most important cultural peculiarities, and the food of their own countries. Students focused especially on the image that foreigners have of the nations they come from by breaking down the various stereotypes that are not true. Here some impressions about the events:
Sietske Galama: (Dutch student studying Russian) 'During the “Kapustnik”, I decided to introduce the students to the Dutch culture. I mainly focused on the recent history, creation of new land below sea-level, political system, and the Dutch cycling paths. In addition, I gave more insight on the Dutch drug policy and gay scene, topics which seem to attract the curiosity of many students. Finally, we talked about Kingsday, Sinterklaas and we ate Dutch food including pepernoten, appelflappen and broodje haring. It was fun to share some of Dutch culture with the students. Being currently the only Dutch student, I do feel that my fellow students now have a better idea about where I come from. I received positive feedback and there was great atmosphere. I would like to thank you all for coming.'
Pietro Capurso: (Italy, University of Bergamo) 'I think that “Kapustnik” is a great opportunity for students to get in touch with different countries and cultures in order to build new relationship—friendship even—between continents. Furthermore, they allow people to challenge the stereotypes they have about foreigners.'
Camille Rubichon: (France, University of Besançon ) 'I like this event because it is an occasion to discover different cultures and to meet with friends. It's great because we can also taste foreign food. “Kapustnik” is very nice!.'
George Strohl: (USA, University of New Mexico) 'I truly enjoy going to the “Kapustnik” presentations because I always learn something new about the countries that my fellow students come from, and we get a chance to hear an insider’s perspective about some of the stereotypes others have about them, and we always listen to music from that country at the end of the presentation. I have to say, though, my absolute favourite part of “Kapustnik” presentations is the part where we get to try the food! All of the people who have cooked for the “Kapustnik” presentations I’ve gone to so far have made absolutely wonderful food! When my turn comes, I’m looking forward to making some traditional New Mexican food for my fellow students.'