My Adventures with Cultural and National Societies (Weeks 1-4)

Namaste friends!

My name is Ishita and I am the South Asian rep for ISC and I have set a challenge for myself.  The challenge entails attending an event, cultural showcase or campaign of each of the fifty plus cultural and national societies at the university of Sheffield. I will be writing this blog about my experiences and about the beautiful national societies. So here is how I’ve done in the first 4 weeks of university.

Eid Milan by Pakistani Society

Fashion show of traditional costumes.
Fashion show of traditional costumes.

On the 5th of October I went to a ‘Milan’ (which translates to gathering in urdu) organized by Pakistani Society which included delicious traditional food and exciting

Starting a traditional Middle Eastern dance
Starting a traditional Middle Eastern dance

performances from both PakSoc and other societies. USIC (University of Sheffield Islamic Circle) gave an informative talk about origin and significance of Eid, SMSA (Sheffield Malaysian Students Association) played traditional music and Bangladesh society produced a video about Eid. The organizers did an excellent job of engaging the audience and many in attendance participated in the fashion show and traditional Arabic dancing (lead by ArabSoc). PakSoc’s Eid Milan was a fantastic event that was so successful in immersing attendees in the culture and traditions of Eid and it was a great way to start the year.

Hong Kong Society’s Campaigning

If you visited to the students union in the first weeks of October you are likely to have spotted Hong Kong Society’s stall in front of the union. Here, members of Hong Kong Society were raising awareness about the current political situation in Hong Kong and the ongoing protests. HKSoc also collected signatures supporting the peaceful resolution of the situation and even took their campaign to the city centre.

Diwali Celebrations by Indian Society

Attendees listen to prayers
Attendees listen to prayers

On the 23rd of October I attended ‘Agni 2.0’, organized by Indian Society to celebrate Diwali, also known as the ‘Festival of Lights’  where the lights or lamps signify victory

Sparklers were handed out during the firework show
Sparklers were handed out during the firework show

of good over the evil within every human being. This event started at the Hindu Samaj (Temple), where participants were shown how the prayers for Diwali are conducted.

Following this, we went to the Gurudwara, (the Sikh place of worship) where we first participated in prayers and also enjoyed ‘Langar’, traditional Indian food served voluntarily by members of the Gurudwara. Since fireworks are a traditional part of Diwali Indian Society also organized a stunning firework show. Indian Society did a fantastic job of providing Indian students with a sense of home and home and other international students with a brilliant new experience.

Impact of these events

I come from a country where Eid and Diwali are celebrated. However I realize now that I didn’t know very much about background of these events and I usually associate these occasions with the food my friends who celebrate share with me.  Thanks to the events recently attended I have learnt a great deal about their origin and significance of these festivals. I think it’s amazing that, by travelling thousands of miles away from home, I was able to learn more about my own country. I am truly thankful to the societies who have made this possible. I am also impressed by Hong Kong Society taking the initiative to raise awareness of the situation in their country and contribute to helping those in Hong Kong.

Challenge Progress

So far I have attended events, showcases or campaigns by;

Pakistani Society, Arab Society, Bangladeshi Society, SMSA, Hong Kong Society and Indian Society.

In addition to the events I mentioned, many Cultural and National Societies have organized great events. I am so proud as a regional representative and liaison to be able to support these brilliant societies.
To all those who are lucky enough to study at Sheffield, why not take part in national society’s event? There are so many languages, cultures and traditions to experience at Sheffield.

That’s all from me for now. Thank you for reading.


Khuda Hafiz


Upcoming Events

Here are some upcoming events organized by National Societies.
Latin American Society organizes Conversation clubs every Tuesday at  Arts Tower -LT08 from 6 pm to 8 pm, and on Thursdays  a weekly social at interval bar from 6pm and everybody is welcome in both (both are free by the way).
LatAm society are also celebrating the Day of the Dead at the end of this month and  have a traditional altar at the Students union, will also be doing a dance presentation at the Activities Zone at 11 am on Friday.
Latin American Society:
Latin American Society Conversation Club:
Latin American Society Day of the Dead Campaign

Bangladeshi Society have a meet and greet dinner, so if you’re a Bangladeshi student looking to meet people from home or if you’re interested in learning more about a new culture do take a look at the society and their event.
Bangladeshi Society:
BanglaSoc meet and greet event:

Interested in spending an afternoon solving riddles, exploring the city centre and picking up a new language? Italian Society are organizing a treasure hunt this Sunday (2nd of November). It sounds like a lot of fun and I hear there will be prizes. You can find details on the event page.
Italian Society:
Italian Society Treasure Hunt:

First South Asian Rep Blog (an introduction to me and my multiple personalities)


Greetings world of blogging. My name is Ishita and I am a third year Civil Engineering student at the University of Sheffield. I am originally from Sri Lanka, a beautiful sunny island inthe Indian Ocean and at present I am serving as the South Asian representative for the International Students Committee (ISC) for 2014/2015. This means that I am a link between all South Asian students and national societies and the ISC and I work to represent and support all students and societies from my region. In addition, thanks to ISC’s brilliant media officer who came up with the idea, I will also be writing regularly on this blog to keep everyone out there updated on representative work I do and my portfolio.

Me and my multiple personalities

This year, myself and the seven other regional representatives have each undertaken a portfolio to support and bring awareness to specific topics or groups of international students. For each portfolio, representatives will organize a campaign during the year. The campaigns run by the other representatives are ‘Women’, ‘Disabled and Dyslexic’, ‘LGBT’, ‘SIC and ELTC’, ‘Sports’, ‘Education’ and ‘Mature students’. If you’re interested in learning more about these campaigns, do read the blogs by the other representatives.

My portfolio is a bit different. Instead of organizing a campaign, in addition to serving as south Asian representative, I also serve as Cultural and National Societies liaison. This means I am part of Societies Committee and my role is to help support, promote, develop and represent the vibrant Cultural and National Societies at the University of Sheffield. I love this role because it means I get to interact with and regularly help remarkable, hardworking societies that add colour and culture to the University of Sheffield.

Setting Goals

Part of my role description as national societies’ liaison is to attend events organized by the national societies I represent. Unfortunately, given the number of societies I represent (over 50), the many events these amazing societies organize and my heavy workload as a third year civil engineering student this is no easy task. Thus I usually rely on Facebook events and communication with society presidents to keep up to date with the ongoing projects. In an attempt to fulfill my role and to give some attention to the hardworking cultural and national societies I have challenged myself to go to an event, performance or campaign of each society. I will be posting regularly about the events and campaigns as well as representative work I am involved in. Keep an eye out for my blog posts. In the meantime, visit the students union website and check out the societies I represent.
That’s all for my introduction.  If you have any questions, comment here or contact me on my Facebook profile or through email.

Best Wishes,

Ishita Ranasinghe (South Asia Rep)
Ishita Ranasinghe (South Asian Representative)

South Asian Representative:


Who are the Reps? – 2014

The representative committee of the ISC consists of 8 representatives and the inclusions and welfare officer. The representatives each represents and supports students from a different region of the world, so if you are facing any difficulties please do contact your regional representative and they will do their best to help. Representatives also liaise with the national societies within their respective region when it comes to ISC events and supports these societies with their events and to utilise the resources on offer in the Students’ Union.

 In addition to this, each representative will be in charge of a portfolio which focuses on a different group of international students or an key issues international students face. These portfolios are Women, Mature, Post Graduate and Part-Time Students, LGBT students and Sheffield International College and English Language Teaching Centre students, Sports and Education. During the course of the year each representative will organize a campaign with the support of the Campaigns and Inclusions officer and the Welfare Committee.
The representative committee is comprised of

Screen Shot 2014-09-11 at 07.14.33 African Representative:Ammaarah Sachedina
Ammaarah represents all African students and societies will be in charge of the Sheffield International College and English Language Teaching Centre students portfolio.

Screen Shot 2014-09-11 at 07.10.07European Representative: Ana Gabriela Popa
Ana represents all European students and societies and will be in charge of Disabled and Dyslexic students portfolio.


Screen Shot 2014-09-12 at 02.01.50Middle Eastern Representative: Alaa Al Sairafi
Alaa will represent all students and societies from the Middle East and will be in charge of the Women’s portfolio.


Screen Shot 2014-09-12 at 02.12.00East Asian Representative: Xiaoke Xu
Xiaoke represents all East Asian students and societies and will be in charge of the Sports portfolio.

Screen Shot 2014-09-11 at 07.10.03South East Asian Representative: Santhana Gopalakrishnan
Santhana represents students and societies from South East Asia and will be in charge of the LGBT portfolio.

Screen Shot 2014-09-11 at 07.10.12South Asian Representative: Ishita Ranasinghe
Ishita represents students and societies from South Asia and will also serve as the Cultural National Societies Liaison for Societies committee and will works to support and represent national societies.

Screen Shot 2014-09-11 at 07.09.38Campaigns and Inclusions officer: Devarshi Shukla
Devarshi will support the campaigns mentioned and will also chair the Welfare sub-committee of the ISC.

The representative committee will also include a Home Rep and an Americas rep who will be elected at the upcoming EGM.

To contact your regional representative or if you’re  interested in getting involved in the campaigns please do email them.