Surabaya – As many as 42 foreign students from Somalia, Egypt, Sudan, Libya, Uganda, Yemen, Mali, Sierra Leonean, Malaysia and Timor Leste took part in a traditional competition to celebrate the 78th Independence Day of the Republic of Indonesia. The competition was held at the Tower Yard of Universitas Nahdlatul Ulama Surabaya (Unusa), Tuesday (22/08).

The traditional competitions that were held included cracker eating contests, sack races, clog walks, and chain sarong competitions. The competition that became the participants’ favorite was the cracker eating competition. This activity is a series of events for the 3rd Brave Program initiated by the Global Engagement of Universitas Nahdlatul Ulama of Surabaya (GENUS).

A participant from Libya, a North African country, Salih Abdul Rahman, enthusiastically shared his experience as a participant in the competition held to celebrate the 78th anniversary of the Republic of Indonesia’s Independence. Salih expressed his pleasure at the opportunity to take part in this event, which carried the spirit of celebrating freedom.

Salih explained that the competition he participated in, namely the cracker eating competition, was something that was very interesting to him. Even though it was his first time trying this type of competition, he felt that the concept was extraordinary and unique.

“This competition is very interesting, this is the first time I have tried a cracker eating contest, which is really cool,” said Salih, who is registered as a UIN Malang student.

In his experience participating in a cracker eating competition, Salih faced quite an interesting challenge. He stated that this competition gave him difficulties because the crackers hanging from a rope kept moving when they were about to be eaten. For Salih, the dynamic movement of these crackers is a bit unusual. However, this is what makes this race interesting and entertaining.

“I am very interested in the increasing number of cracker eating contests because in his country, Libya, crackers are not common. Therefore, the existence of crackers in Indonesia is something special. This gives an added dimension to the race experience and brings a different feel that makes me even more memorable,” he says.

Head of GENUS/Unusa International Affairs Office, Wiwik Afridah, M.Kes., revealed that this event was the second time it was held at Unusa. The purpose of this event is to strengthen ties between foreign students who are currently studying in Surabaya and Malang. This year there were 13 students from Kelantan Malaysia who participated in this activity.

“In this series of activities, Unusa students and foreign students have a very valuable opportunity to exchange experiences. Through various traditional games held, a collaborative and interactive atmosphere was created between the two groups of students. These traditional games are not only a form of entertainment, but also a means to deepen understanding of each other’s culture,” he said.

Wiwik added, Unusa students have the opportunity to share experiences, learn, and develop in the campus environment to foreign students. On the other hand, foreign students can also share their unique views and experiences in adapting to new cultures and environments in Surabaya and Malang.

“This event provides positive and beneficial things for students from various backgrounds to interact with each other, broaden their horizons, and deepen tolerance for cultural differences. In addition, this activity also has the potential to increase intercultural relations in the campus environment, create closer collaboration, and build lasting friendships between Unusa students and foreign students,” he said.(Humas Unusa)