UAE Students Association at Iowa State University hosts first ever event

Malaak Aladawi, secretary of UAE Students Association at Iowa State University, is showing participants one of the cultural booths.

Mia Wang

UAE Students Association at Iowa State, a newly founded student organization that is still awaiting approval from the university, hosted its first ever event, National Day Celebration, on Friday night. 

The event took place at the Advanced Teaching and Research Building, which started with a buffet featuring traditional cuisine from the United Arab Emirates and followed by a cultural presentation.

Salem Al Nasi, junior in mechanical engineering and the vice president of UAE Students Association at Iowa State University, said Iowa State has almost 30 international students from the United Arab Emirates. Some of the students had an idea to form an organization two weeks ago and put together this event in one week.

“We want to get everybody together and showcase our culture,” Al Nasi said. “Hopefully, by the start of next semester, we will get our approval. We look forward to presenting our culture and answering questions about our country for Iowa State students because you can’t truly know somebody unless you know their culture.”

The presentation introduced the country’s history, founding father and the national flag. Al Nasi also recited a poem in Arabic.

Members from the association also invited a group of American students who studied abroad in the United Arab Emirates to tell participants their experience.

Sarah Ripperger, senior in chemical engineering, is one of the students in the study abroad group. She said she has studied abroad in four countries and likes to learn about different cultures. The United Arab Emirates was her latest destination.

“I love to find out their culture, like how they dress and the way their family works,” Ripperger said. “It’s really different from western culture, but they also embrace western culture in a number of ways. It’s interesting to see how they intertwine their personal value with everyday life.”

Ripperger also pointed out that there is a lot of misconceptions in the U.S. about the Middle East and everyone she met in the United Arab Emirates was very welcoming.

“Having students from the Middle East be able to share their culture and talk about their home is very important and to bring more awareness to the U.S.,” Ripperger said. “They don’t condone the violence that’s been happening or for the violence. The conflict you see is not overarching for the entire region.”