This year marked the 15th edition of the Semmelweis International Carnival, evoking the atmosphere of the Venice Carnival. Once again, participants could taste the cuisine of many nations in the Multicultural Food Festival, while the mood was set by student acts and performers such as Aurevoir, Filo, and Dr. BRS.

Students of Semmelweis University celebrated International Women’s Day in the Nagyvárad Square Theoretical Block (NET) on March 8, at the Semmelweis International Carnival organized by the Instructor Self-Active Group (IÖCS), the Students’ Union (HÖK) and the international student organizations (DSVS, ISSA). Well-known performers, the Multicultural Food Festival (MFF), breathtaking performances, and a decorated venue awaited the nearly 1000 partygoers.

The event kicked off at 7 p.m. with the opening ceremony, where Dr. Alán Alpár, Vice-Rector for International Studies welcomed the audience in Hungarian, English, and German, and reflected on the origins of the event. “It’s a great pleasure to see how this program, which actually originated from the English students at ISSA, has embraced the Hungarian and German students as well,” said the vice-rector.

Next, Houman Taherian, Vice-President of ISSA, gave his keynote speech, followed by Michael Hubatka (DSVS) and Orsolya Demeter (IÖCS). As Csenge Gecsey, President of the HÖK pointed out, this special event celebrates the distinctiveness of cultures and the diversity of health science students. “Semmelweis International Carnival embodies the meeting of cultures and international diversity. This event allows students of different nationalities to showcase their own cultural traditions and cuisine, sharing with each other and with visitors the richness of tastes, traditions, and customs,” she said.

After the lights went out, the audience was dazzled by performances featuring Boglárka Gál and Fanni Mórocza singing, a dance show by DSVS, and a performance by the Sárkánykard Sport Association. Following the official opening, from 8 to 10 p.m., food took center stage, with the Multicultural Food Festival, where gastronomy lovers could discover the flavors and cuisines of several countries, as, among others, Turkish, German, Japanese, and Irish students presented their national dishes. Sushi rolls, Münsterländer Brötchen and many other delicious dishes were on offer, but let’s not forget lecsó, the Hungarian ratatouille either. At the Hungarian stand we interviewed Petra, Panni, and Dóri, fourth-year students of the Faculty of Health Sciences (ETK), about their experiences so far.

“I can see that you have prepared a selection of mouth-watering dishes, including crepes, lecsó and túrórudi, a Hungarian curd snack. Which ones did your international guests like the most?”

“The crepes, definitely!”

“Popular crepe fillings in Hungary are cocoa, jam and Nutella. Which of these do you have?”

“We offer cocoa and apricot jam.”

The girls noted that greasy bread, a.k.a. zsíros kenyér challenged everyone, at least as a real tongue twister. Dávid Lakner (ETK, 3rd year), a pillar of the IÖCS organizing team, revealed that the feedback from international students was very positive, and they were happy to show their own culture and food. “I see them smiling broadly behind the counters,” he said.

All in all, everyone was greeted with smiles, they had a good time, eating, drinking, and chatting. I was curious to see how Hungarian taste buds liked the different dishes. Fanni Mórocza (Faculty of Medicine, 4th year) shared her experiences:

“Which national dishes have you tasted?”

“I started with Hungarian lecsó to be on the safe side, followed by sushi, then I tried a Nigerian meaty rice dish, and finally, I sampled Kazakh cuisine.”

“Did you check the ingredients of the dishes or just went for the looks?”

“Yes, I did. I have a range of food intolerances, so I checked for allergens at each stand, which made my choice much easier.”

Not only did participants get closer to the food, but also to their fellow students – nothing brings people together like good food, as the saying goes for a reason. All in all, this event was more than a festival. Diversity and internationality characterized the evening, with the most multicultural drinks, such as Puerto Rico, Italian Paloma and French Martini, to name but a few. By this time, the party was already in full swing. It was worth getting the dancing shoes on, as Aurevoir and Filo grabbed the mike, then Dr. BRS set the floor on fire. It was a fun-filled night.

Unfortunately, all things come to an end, the morning came early as time flies in good company. But don’t worry, we’ll meet again soon to have a good time, for example at the beer pong tournament in March.

Kristóf Hegedüs – Media Committee, Students’ Union
Translation: Judit Szabados-Dőtsch
Photo: Bálint Barta – Semmelweis University

This article was written as part of our Students’ Perspective column.