21 June 2023

The Spectacular Collaboration of Delegates in the Closing Ceremony of AYCF 2023 and Insightful Student Interviews

Patitin Lertnaikiat
AUN Programme Officer;

AUN Secretariat is back once more with another in depth coverage of AYCF 2023 at Universitas Indonesia! Throughout the afternoon to the evening of the 3rd day on 17 May 2023, the diligent delegates of AYCF 2023 have been hard at work to prepare for one last spectacular showing to all the participants! It was a collaborative performance, where the delegates all put in the effort together to perform the traditional Indonesian Minang and Betawi dances, as well as forming a musical group to play the Angklung instrument.

As the late afternoon of the 4th and final day of AYCF 2023 came to pass, the delegates were prepped and ready. Dresses on and in form, performances rehearsed, and instruments ready to go. Before delegates took to the stage, a wonderful performance was commenced by the Liga Tari Mahasiswa UI Krida Budaya team to begin the evening of closing ceremonies. 






It was indeed an absolutely sensational demonstration of precision and balance, participants watched the dancers all move in fluid motion with pinpoint coordination, all without ever dropping their plates in hand. All were in awe and the excitement of balancing the delicate plates brought great tension that was eventually released with a cathartic intentional smashing of the plates at the end!

The audience wanted more, the delegates were ready, and first up were the dancing team ready to perform the traditional Indonesian Minang and Betawi dances. Delegates from different countries of ASEAN+3 all in their own traditional clothes brought out a spectacle of vibrant colors to the stage. Traditional Indonesian music started, the lights started flashing across the stage, and the motions began. It was a mesmerizing sight for the audience as everyones’ eyes were fixated on nothing but the performance itself. 

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So far the closing ceremony has been a wonderful treat to see, but it was then time to move on to please the ears. Right after the dancers left the stage, the second team of delegates immediately moved in position, with Angklung instruments in hand. Participants were also earlier greeted with a nice surprise at their tables, the instruments were also available for the audience and with quick guidance from the conductor, everyone was encouraged to play along! Now, pardon my lack of musical knowledge, the delegates played two songs with the instruments, first being one I could not identify, and the second one being We Are the World by Michael Jackson. For the participants that do know the songs however, they were able to play right along!

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And that wraps up the performances of AYCF 2023! The AUN Secretariat would like to take this opportunity to once again give appreciation to the host of this year’s AYCF, Universitas Indonesia, as well as plenty of thanks to all the delegates, liaisons, and participants that helped make this event possible! We also can not wait for the next AYCF, which will be in Brunei. So, until next time! 

But wait! We still have interviews that the AUN Secretariat team has conducted with some of the delegates and plenty came forth to share their experiences! Come have a look at our 5 selected favorites to read what the delegates at AYCF have to say about the event!

Student Interviews:

Nurul Atirah Binti Suhaimi, Universiti Sains Malaysia

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Initial Expectations?
“Of course, since this is an event where it involves a lot of countries. So mainly I’m expecting new knowledge, learning other cultures from different countries and exchanging cultures.”

Why did you attend this event?
“Mainly because I love to dance and I’ve heard from my seniors as well who have been to this event. They shared how everything goes on here, like getting to learn new things, getting to dance a lot, and I really like to dance!”

Favorite experience or moment?
“My favorite moment was I think during the Bazaar. It was really fun because we got to go to each country and we got to play their games, talk to them, eat their food while playing, and dance along as well, such as during the Philippines showcase!”

So what is your biggest takeaway?
“I think during the Bazaar itself? Getting to meet new people and talking to new people from other countries! It was really fun to get to see other people doing the things that you have been doing in your own culture.”

Daeun Lee, Daejeon University

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Why did you attend this event?
“When the letter came to our university, we wanted to take that opportunity to perform abroad!”

Favorite experience or moment?
“We really enjoyed seeing the excitement and cheering from everyone during the dances! Another is during the bazaar booths because we all got to show our cultures and introduce them to each other as well as to plenty of other visitors from UI.”

Did the event meet your expectations?
“Overall, we enjoyed all the performances from everyone and the whole event in general. We were also surprised there were so many people!”

Are you satisfied with the line-up of activities?
“The whole Korean team is really happy that they could attend this event, and in the future if there is another event like this we would definitely like to participate again.”

So what is your biggest takeaway?
“Our biggest memory will be how we got to see everyone cheering for Korea! We are so glad to see that sharing our culture could bring such great enjoyment and lasting memories for everyone.”

Xintong Xie, Yunnan University

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Why did you attend this event?
“This event is about culture and I think in today’s society, diversity is super important. A lot of people, a lot of countries came here and each hold their own real cultures, some are endangered and those traditional cultures, they are preserving their own cultures.”

What was your favorite moment?
“The bazaar. Because it was super interesting and they were dancing and showing their own cultures, sharing food, along with many other super interesting and meaningful demonstrations!”

So what is your biggest takeaway?
“I think the whole trip impressed me a lot because this is my first time going abroad to a foreign country and this event is super interesting like learning Indonesia’s traditional dance and experiencing different things.”

Do you have any additional thoughts or anything you would like to share?
“I feel the enthusiasm of all the people here, I never imagined everyone would be so friendly in a foreign country. It makes me feel super warm!”

Tan Cheng Hueng (Andy), Nanyang Technological University

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Why did you attend this event?
“The reason I attended this event is because I saw it as a great opportunity to meet my friends from the ASEAN network and also to learn from each of the colleges and how things are done there which is very helpful as the President of Cultural Activities Club in NTU.”

What were your expectations for this event?
“I expected there to be plenty of workshops, exchanges, and dialogue sessions with people in the cultural scene and think tanks between the different schools and countries to share about how things are done in their own culture.”

What was your favorite moment?
“I think my favorite moments were the night time sessions that we have amongst the delegates. So at night when we were at the hotel, we sat down at the lobby and had chats about countries and I learned a lot from them!”

Are you satisfied with the line-up of activities?
“I’m actually very satisfied with the activities that we did. We learned a lot about Indonesian culture and we learned the traditional dances. So as a dancer myself, I can really appreciate the choreography that was taught by the instructors.”

What is your biggest takeaway from this event?
“My key takeaway is that although in ASEAN, our countries, we are all different, but actually we are more similar than we think we are because we are in the same geographical location. Therefore, sometimes we tend to “gatekeep” or we tend to protect or not protect as we are very proud of our own culture and traditions. However, when you come to these exchanges, you realize that at the end of the day, there are still some overlaps and there are some similarities that you can see and that is the beauty of it. It’s actually the subtle differences that define us, makes us who we are and coming together and meeting everybody is something that’s really important in a world where we are being consumed by academics. I think it’s really important for us to reach back and harp back to our own cultural roots to provide a more holistic learning experience for all of us.”

Jacqueline B. Mercado, De La Salle University

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What were your expectations for this event?
“I expected that it would be a big celebration with a lot of countries coming in. Before coming here, me and my University’s other delegates were initially expecting that we might be placed in a room with other delegates which made us kind of nervous at first. Luckily we were in the same room and we do have a roommate who is from Thailand and it has been really fun getting to bond with her!”

Why did you join this event?
“As I will be graduating, I wanted to dance one last time to share my love and passion for dancing once more on an international stage like this event!”

What was your favorite moment?
“I guess it would probably be when we were able to bond with our Singaporean friends and then with our five roommates. So I think that will be one of the memories that I will hold to the most because it feels like you’re just in college again! Having fun with your dorm mates and college friends and all.”

What is your biggest takeaway from this event?
“The main takeaway I would say would be the appreciation for your own cultural identity. Seeing all of the student delegates doing their traditional dances, playing traditional music and sharing it with other people, I think it allows you to take a step back and see the reality of your country as it is. It takes you back to its history, its roots and all that. The whole event helps you reflect more about your cultural identity and appreciate the different cultures and how yours differs from another, but at the same time, it’s quite similar to one another.”