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OIA Hosts Lunar New Year Banquet for International Students

On January 13th, as noon approached, a rare sight certain to invite one’s curiosity could be witnessed on campus, as a large number of international students gathered together on the side of the road, all dressed in red. Lunar New Year was nigh, and for locals in Taiwan, many preparations had already begun. But, just before everyone took off for the winter holidays, NPUST and Office of International Affairs (OIA) staff kept with tradition by putting on a festive New Year banquette for its international students to enjoy.

With the semester behind them and academic activities wrapped up for most, the atmosphere was relaxed, cheerful and full of chatter as the students boarded the coach headed for the Hur-Lur Banquet Hall in Pingtung City. As usual, the students in attendance would find themselves presented with more than the great local cuisine on the menu. On the agenda for Lunar New Year celebration also included live song performances, a series of games and prizes, and other activities that kept everyone involved and entertained.

A spectacular duet by Wai Teng Tan and Jenny Ho –two international students from Malaysia—won the audience over. The young ladies shared their amazing vocal skills with the banquet goers through the performance of three popular songs – “Fight Song” in English, and “Rain Butterfly” and “Light Years Away” sung in Chinese. The crowds loved it.

Lien-Chung Lin, the Section Chief of the Overseas Community Affairs Council made a special trip down from Taipei to be in attendance for the banquet. Addressing the students, Lin shared briefly on the services of his organization and wished all the students a happy and prosperous new year.

Every year, the President of NPUST and the Dean of the OIA have always been part of the New Year banquet for the international students. This year, however, with a business trip taking both of them out of the country, they were unable to be in attendance. In their steads, the OIA Chief of Education Division, Chun-Yi Lee, hosted the event and handed out red envelopes to students on the President’s behalf.

As the meal progressed, a “Bingo” game was initiated and it was announced that prizes would go to the first players to fill-in five full lines. With every number drawn, the level of suspense went up; and with each new number, new winners went up to claim prizes. Finally, lucky number 8 was announced and a huge swath of students all found themselves making the target simultaneously – nearly depleting the prizes. After bingo came to a close, a word association game ensured, putting the students’ creative thinking to the test and giving everyone a good laugh. Finally, as the tradition goes, prizes were awarded to three “Mister Reds” and three “Miss Reds” –those students who had dressed up in the most vibrant or eye-catching red attire for the Lunar New Year themed event.

NPUST has around 700 international students from over 40 different countries on enrollment—and as many of them are unable to return home for the winter break, the Office of International Affairs always makes a special effort help them feel at home right here in Pingtung during their stay. The New Year Banquet for International Students is a chance for the university to demonstrate Taiwan’s hospitable culture, share some of the special traditional features of the Lunar New Year holiday, and let the international students know that they are all part of the big NPUST family.
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