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Dancers perform at Indonesian Night, hosted by the Indonesian Student Association in the Baker Ballroom.

Indonesian Students Association to host cultural celebration

The smells and sounds of Indonesia will be in the air as students and Athens residents celebrate Indo Night.

The event is hosted by the Indonesian Students Association and will happen Saturday at 6 p.m. in Schoonover Center 450. Admission is $8, and the ticket price includes food. 

“It’s an annual event because we want to promote our Indonesian culture to the students and community members in Athens,” said Junia Purwandani, a graduate student studying environmental studies and a member of the Indonesian Students Association. 

The goal of the event is to expose people to Indonesian culture, as well as hopefully inspire them to travel to the country one day, Purwandani said. She hopes people leave the event knowing the beauty of Indonesia. 

“We want to show them that this is Indonesia,  and we can say, ‘Look at how beautiful our country is and how diverse our culture is,’” Purwandani said. “I hope that they will be able to come to Indonesia one day.”

Kelvin Yudianto, a graduate student studying history, is from Indonesia and is also a part of the Indonesian Students Association. Yudianto feels that the night will be a good way to show people his culture. 

“I’m Indonesian by birth, and I grew up there, and I just feel like it’s a good way to represent my culture here,” Yudianto said.

Yudianto pointed out that there are many different cultures within Indonesia, so the night will try to capture a little bit of them all. There will be different cultural aspects in terms of food and music, Yudianto said.

Regina Yoong, a doctoral student studying American literature, has never been to the event but is excited to go this year. 

“I am from Malaysia,” Yoong said. “We share similar culture in a way.” 

Yoong is looking forward to the food that will be served. She has heard good things about the authenticity and is also excited to have a bit of home in Athens. 

“I know some of the Indonesian students, and they can cook well, and they know what authentic is,” Yoong said. 

She is looking forward to enjoying a dessert that includes coconut milk, and she hopes satay — a skewered and grilled meat that is typically served with a sauce — will also be served.

Yoong is also excited to go to an event that reflects her culture. 

“I don’t think there are many Malaysians or Indonesians in Athens, so having an event like that is nostalgic,” Yoong said. 

Indo Night is, in a way, a chance to almost visit the country without traveling far, Yoong said. 

“I think it’s important to know about different culturesm and by going to that event, you know what the country and the people are like,” Yoong said. “You don’t need to take a 30-hour flight to do that. It takes $8 to experience that. “

Yudianto believes cultural events like Indo Night are important to people because they can expand people’s perspectives and introduce them to new things. 

“When I grew up in Indonesia, I thought I knew everything, but when I went abroad, I saw a different perspective,” Yudianto said. “There’s just a different way of thinking.” 

He also believes events like Indo Night promotes the value of diversity, and that there is always an added benefit to knowing another culture. 

Purwandani agrees with Yudianto that diversity and culture are important to be aware of. 

“I think it’s important for people to get exposed to international culture because it can open their minds about diversity and about the importance of togetherness,” Purwandani said. 

Yudianto is most looking forward to exposing people to a new culture and educating them on what Indonesian culture is. 

“I get to be, in a way, an ambassador of Indonesian culture,” Yudianto said. 

Yoong’s advice for students going to Indo Night and looking to explore other cultures is simple: Be curious. 


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