Saree not Sorry

Kayla Petersen
October 12, 2015

Before I came to New Zealand I thought I’d spend my time being 100% immersed in Kiwi culture. However, that ended up not being the case at all. Ilam apartments consist of multiple cultures from all over the world and are a common place for international students to live. I am currently blessed with two wonderful ladies from the beautiful country of Malaysia as my flat mates. Sometimes it can be really difficult to get to know true Kiwi culture when barely any Kiwis live around me, but I’ve been really thankful to have them in my life even if they aren’t from New Zealand. I would have never guessed that not only did I learn how to embrace one culture, but to be more understanding and welcoming of others in the process. I was lucky enough to get the opportunity to attend the Indian Students’ Association Ball with my flat mates. In preparation for the ball, Priya (one of my flat mates) let me borrow one of her sarees that she had brought from home. It was a beautiful royal blue with a gold outline and an under layer of pink. The saree that she let me borrow used to be her mother’s and I couldn’t believe I was given the honor of wearing it. Priya finished up my makeup and Shalini (other flat mate) plated and dressed me in the saree. After a quick bus ride we made it to the ball and Bollywood music played in the background. The night was filled with laughing, dancing, and learning a ton of information about their culture and making new friends. I couldn’t speak the language the music was in so I just hummed along and danced the best I could with everyone. One thing I will definitely take home from this experience is a much more open mind to different cultures and how they perceive and experience things differently. I am also more willing to take part in more cultural events whereas I used to feel as if it wasn’t my place because I’m not from their culture. Truthfully, they love when people are interested and want to know more about where they come from. The scenery and life is amazing in New Zealand but I’m definitely going to miss my friends and flat mates the most when I get back home. They’ve truly become an amazing part of my journey here and I wouldn’t have picked anyone else to live with!

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Kayla Petersen

<p>I&nbsp;<span style="font-size: 13.0080003738403px; line-height: 1.538em;">am a sophomore at Miami University in Ohio. I major in nutrition and have a concentration in Dietetics. &quot;Home&quot; is&nbsp;</span><span style="font-size: 13.0080003738403px; line-height: 1.538em;">wherever I feel happy, and for that I find my home in many places. After undergrad I plan on taking part in a Dietetic&nbsp;</span><span style="font-size: 13.0080003738403px; line-height: 1.538em;">Intership that will last about a year and then take the RD exam to become a Registered Dietitian. I am apart of the&nbsp;</span><span style="font-size: 13.0080003738403px; line-height: 1.538em;">Miami tribe, and hope to give back and work with the tribe after I become a Registered Dietitian. I am hoping that my&nbsp;</span><span style="font-size: 13.0080003738403px; line-height: 1.538em;">experience in New Zealand will help lead me to better understand how culture plays a role in people&#39;s health and diet.</span><span style="font-size: 13.0080003738403px; line-height: 1.538em;">The Maori tribe plays a crucial role in being able to research and compare the different revitalization efforts from the&nbsp;</span><span style="font-size: 13.0080003738403px; line-height: 1.538em;">Miami tribe.</span></p>

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