International students share opinions about Veishea

Fatema Aftab, sophomore in electrical engineering, is excited for the week of Veishea.

Rachel Sinn

Mengjin Sun – China

Freshman in business

What does Veishea mean to you?

“It’s like a bonding program so people get to know each other and they get to have fun together. It’s a way to better improve the school spirit; to make everybody connect to the school.”

Biggest cultural difference when it comes to celebrations in America:

“In China and Singapore [where she studied previously] since they are all Asian culture, people are more to themselves. They just do things according to rules and sometimes it’s quite boring I would say, but in America it’s very open-minded.”

Fatema Aftab – Pakistan

Sophomore in electrical engineering

Things to be excited for:

“I am more excited about the events they have around which includes concerts and some of the fun events; the craft events they have around Veishea.”

What does Veishea mean to you?

“Veishea is special to me in terms of it brings so many races together and it just brings so many different people with different mindsets along to one spot all celebrating at the festival.”

Things to be concerned about:

“The whole partying scene and seeing a lot of drunk people around is a little intimidating, but it’s not bad. It’s not something you would get scared of and pull yourself out of Veishea events. Yeah, it’s true it’s not always safe to be around it a lot, but it’s OK, I mean, we are all adults we can take care of ourselves.”

Biggest cultural difference when it comes to celebrations:

“Maybe partying, because in Pakistan it’s not allowed to drink because it’s a Muslim country. We don’t drink at all because it’s a Muslim culture, but I think that’s the only difference. People are pretty much the same around the world.”

George Saab – Lebanon 

Civil, construction and environmental engineering graduate student

What does Veishea mean to you?

“It’s a celebration week where students would probably all gather to enjoy the food fest, probably drink and there are a lot of shows happening as well.”

Biggest cultural difference when it comes to celebrations in America:

“I’m from Lebanon, but I was raised and lived in Dubai. I can say in Lebanon it would be almost the same because in Lebanon you have more freedom; it’s more open-minded. In Dubai, it’s more conservative due to the religion differences, but for example we have the international week at my old university. We have the international week where we have over 72 different nationalities. Every day during the week we have a different show or food fest where all the different cultures have a booth and sell their food. That’s kind of their Veishea.”

Biggest cultural differences in general:

“[In Dubai] no drinking is allowed. I’ve heard stories about students going crazy over here; over there you can’t do it, you’re not allowed to.

“What I have noticed in Ames, people are really friendly. This is really a huge difference and here they are more open-minded; more communication and you can talk about anything you want, whereas in Dubai you are not allowed to.”

Mo Almutairi – Kuwait

Freshman in chemical engineering

Things to be excited for:

“The concerts, but I’m not looking forward to the stuff late at night. I remember last year there was a party in the building that I live in and I parked my bike outside and I forgot to lock it. I left the next day to go somewhere and then I noticed that my bike was stolen. But it’s just the late night stuff, it’s a lot of fun during the day on Central Campus.”

Biggest cultural difference when it comes to celebrations in America:

“Obviously the drinks, because in Kuwait we don’t drink at all. Even concerts, we don’t have concerts there. It’s really mixed up [not gender segregated like Kuwait], and I don’t know; it’s fun [at Iowa State].”

Biggest cultural differences in general:

“There is no on-campus and off-campus. People just go to classes and then go home right away; there aren’t any events or anything there.”

Patricia Ishii – Brazil

Non-degree agriculture specials student

What does Veishea mean to you?

“I know some people like to get drunk, but I don’t know exactly what happens during Veishea.”
“[My friends] tell me it’s just like a crazy week where everyone just goes to bars every single day and go drunk to classes, so I’m just afraid a little bit.”
Things to be excited for:
“I am [excited] to know and see how it works because I’ve never been to Veishea before, so how can I say I don’t like it? I’m just a little afraid though, to go out alone.”
Biggest cultural difference in general:
“I think in Brazil people are more open to a new culture. Here at Iowa State, it’s very easy to make friends because everyone is so used to new international students, but outside Iowa State people are very very conservative.”