Noha reflects on International Friendship Day
International Friendship Day was on July 30th and it triggered me into thinking about friendships and food. I hadn’t realised it before, but much of the friendships I had formed with people from a different culture had usually included some exchange in food.
I recalled memories of primary school, where I was fortunate enough to attend a school that was very multicultural. It meant that celebrating Eid or Christmas would include an array of food made with love from our parents, and teachers requesting my mother’s biryani and vegetable samosas. Those days were the chance to show off the culture you came from and beam proudly when another person was appreciative of your food.
Now, with my friends of different cultures, food is still an important part of our friendships. With my friends who are Pakistani or Indian, we jokingly argue over the best way to make rice. We sometimes bring containers of food to university and share home comforts with each other at those times when it seems like exam season will never end. It’s also an easy opening into forming new friendships, as I have by speaking to international students from India as we discuss whether a chicken or meat curry is superior. Food is an integral part of my friendships and have often been the key to learning more about my friends who are from different cultures.
Indeed, talking about and sharing food in this way is what I believe is a great opening into learning more about people from different cultures. We all take great pride in what foods our nations have to offer, and from this we can learn more about the culture in general. It is important to have friends from different cultures, especially in this age of globalisation where we are increasingly likely to come into contact with people from different cultures online and in person. Making friends with people from different cultures means we can appreciate our differences and find common ground and view our own cultures in a different light. So, I would encourage anyone seeking to learn more about people from different cultures to use food as a conversation starter. It means that both parties will be able to have a say and from there, conversations can develop into broader territory. International Friendship Day reminds us that it is always good to have friends from different cultures and if there is any avenue to start forging a friendship with a person from a different culture, I’d say food is a pretty great topic to start with.