YES Programs



More Than a Meal: A Multicultural Food Festival

A group of young people standing at a table of food with the Saudi flag

By Abdulrahman Alhussain (YES 2017-2018, Saudi Arabia, placed by AFS-USA in Elkhart, IN)

On November 28, I organized the Mega Cultural Food Festival at Batterjee College in Jeddah, Saudi Arabia. 200 medical students attended the festival to celebrate global cuisines and cultures. In addition, Logine Elkady, Alumni and Resources Coordinator; Huda Batterjee, Public Engagement Specialist; and Janelle Mingus, Public Affairs Specialist, also attended from the U.S. Consulate in Jeddah. I worked alongside the members of the Multicultural Club at Batterjee College organizing the event, which was a huge success!

Four young people standing around a table of food

We wanted to give students a taste of a variety of cultures, and a food festival was the perfect way to do that. We provided dishes from all over the world to help students appreciate the rich mix of cultures in our community. In addition to food, we also had demonstrations of traditional clothing from different cultures, decoration, and music from all over the world.

This was not just an opportunity for a fun break for the medical students. We also collected money for charity, raising 4,587 SR (~1,223 USD) in total. The money was donated to the Social Responsibility Unit at Batterjee College, which helps students in need.

As students who are training to be doctors and to work with all sorts of people, it is crucial that we understand different cultures and develop cultural competency. We need to be aware of our patients' backgrounds to be able to best support them. Through the Multicultural Food Festival, we brough people together from different backgrounds to celebrate the diversity that makes our community special.