Deakin students came together to celebrate Diwali – the Hindu festival of lights – as part of the Deakin University English Language Institute (DUELI) Fest (or DUELI Fest) last week.
During the two-hour festival, students and staff participated in traditional Bollywood dance, henna tattoos, enjoyed delicious Indian food, as well as watched the final of DUELI ‘Best No-Waste Chef Competition’ in partnership with the Whitehorse City Council.
Since the inaugural event in February 2014, the DUELI Fest has promoted a number of different themes which align with worldwide multicultural events relevant at that time.
Ben Stubbs, Director of DUELI, expressed how essential DUELI events, such as this one, are for students and staff. ’The festival was a huge success. It was great to see DUELI students celebrating and connecting with other students and staff within an energetic atmosphere.
‘The DUELI Fest, which takes place on nine occasions across the year, aims to provide international students with a friendly atmosphere and facilitate engagement with Deakin College and Deakin University staff,’ Mr Stubbs explained. ‘This interaction enables students to ask questions and meet new people, which becomes invaluable when transitioning into higher academic programs.’
The Festival was organised by a team of 20 current Deakin University students, who were employed on the DUELI Leaders Internship Program, with the assistance from staff and students on the DUELI Volunteer program. DUELI Student Coordinator Zoe Tseng enjoys connecting and supporting students during these festivals, and finds the role of organising DUELI events highly rewarding.
’I really enjoyed working with my colleagues to share different ideas to create something meaningful together for DUELI students,’ Zoe said.
During the second half of the festival, DUELI hosted the final of the ‘Best No-Waste Chef Competition.’ The competition was partially funded by the State Government and ran over several weeks. It offered students workshops, tips and recipes to assist them with cooking and limiting food wastage.
DUELI volunteer Chika Sugano explained that the ‘Best No-Waste Chef Competition’ is expanding and encourages students to work in a team. ’This program encourages students to participate in the community,’ she said. ‘Which enriches the student experience overall.’
For the final, students created a meal in 45 minutes, including ingredients that are regularly leftover from preparing meals, and are often thrown away. Competition winner Satjarwat Suchairat made a delicious ‘Easy Sweet Corn Fitters with Spicy Cheese Sauce’, gaining inspiration from his many café visits in Melbourne during his stay.
Satjarwat was grateful for the opportunity to participate in the competition as he loves cooking and had a lot of fun. ’The best part is to be able to do something challenging,’ Satjarwat explained. ‘You have to create recipes around a theme and you have to be creative and do research.’
Coming to Melbourne from Thailand on his own, Satjarwat found that participating in the competition has been a valuable opportunity to improve his English and meet new friends. ’I learned more English vocabulary about cooking and have also learned about generosity – sometimes you win or lose but you still have to communicate with friends.’
The DUELI Fest is one of the many activities hosted by the DUELI, which provides English teaching programs. The Institute provides the necessary English skills for pursuing academic studies as well as for individual, personal development.
Further information about DUELI can be found by visiting the Deakin University website.