The Indian Students Assembly of South Australia (ISASA) is one of UniSA’s most popular clubs hosting fun and enjoyable events throughout the year. Verse caught up with Smit Shah from ISASA to ask a few Q’s about Indian culture, identifying as Indian and studying at UniSA and the events the club holds.
What does the Indian Students Assembly mean to you and others?
The Indian Students Assembly of South Australia (ISASA) is a social club which shares the culture and vibrancy of India in Adelaide, South Australia. For me, ISASA is a platform for the international students to develop new relationships and new bonds with different people. I also see ISASA as a medium for those who want to develop their skills and those with an ambition to excel by joining the committee.
Community seems like a big part of the club; can you speak about that?
ISASA is based widely on the principles of Indian students and the personalities that they have. Indian culture is very much about socialisation and creating an environment like the one back in India. The community in Adelaide is very strong in doing this.
Who can join the Indian Students Assembly?
Joining ISASA is not limited to Indian students. The first goal of founding the club was to bring diversity on campus by sharing Indian culture amongst a vastly diverse Australia. All students who are keen to celebrate Indian culture, indulge in different Indian cuisine or dance to Bollywood music like a party animal can join the club.
How is Indian culture represented within the club? What are some events that involve such?
ISASA is very varied in the type of activities that are undertaken throughout the year. We hold food stalls depicting the street food in India. We have dance classes for those who want to learn Bollywood dance and want to perform on the stage. Our ISASA cricket team actively participate in the cricket tournament throughout the year. Along with these periodic activities we hold many parties throughout the year for students to come along meet new people and network. We organise Bollywood movie nights to enjoy and relax, forgetting all stress of university and everyday life. ISASA provides a holistic insight in the Indian culture ranging from sport, music, dance, movies and food.
How does it feel to identify as Indian and study at UniSA?
University of South Australia is a diverse university with students coming to study from all around the world. I remember as a student starting the university, I saw a lot of Indian groups who shared similar likes and dislikes. Something was needed to bring these separate groups together for the benefit of everyone. ISASA has been a major part of this providing an opportunity for these students to interact, organise events and more importantly make a lot of contacts. This atmosphere of Indian community in UniSA changed from small friend’s groups to an Indian community group, the ISASA.
How has the club changed or reinforced these thoughts?
Initiation of the club provided many students with an opportunity to find others who are like them; those that were new to Australia, from the same city in India, studying the same degree. ISASA is always keen on helping Indian students to settle in and keep up with the Indian culture even when away from home. One thing that could be improved is to enable more communication and involvement of the local students with the Indian students and establishing a platform where the exchange of cultures could potentially happen which will help us to settle in more.
Do you have a personal memory of ISASA that you would like to share?
ISASA has been a great learning curve for me, from organising events to managing and working with people. I have met a lot of people and made amazing friends. Overall, ISASA has taught me much and has given lots and lots of good memories to take away. It is very difficult to pinpoint one single scenario, every moment has been a memorable one for me.
How can someone learn more about the club?
We have a Facebook page, where all our upcoming events and past event photos are shared. Our committee members can help you out very promptly if you leave us a message. Our USASA page is where they can also stay up to date with future events. However the best way to stay tuned is to become a member so that you can get all the email updates and join us at the events.
Interview by Simon Telford
Image provided by ISASA
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