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Taiwan Alumni Association in Austria celebrate Chinese New Year

The Taiwan Alumni Association in Austria enjoying an alumni gathering on 7 February 2016 to celebrate the Chinese New Year 2016.

The association integrated culture and culinary pleasure into the event. It began with seeing a drum concert in the afternoon, given by a Goodwill Mission group of Taiwanese artists who were touring Europe. The artists employed a slightly different approach to the traditional style of concerts at concert halls, where the art performance is at the fore. As well as performing, they explained the history of their group, and the cultural background and meaning of various aspects of their performance.

Another striking feature was that the drum concert was an inclusive experience. The artists selected people from the audience and let them try the instruments, and put on the costumes. Some audience members took advantage of the opportunity to get a photo with some of the spectacularly dressed artists afterwards.

After the concert, the Austrian Taiwan alumni all gathered for a meal together in the Happy Buddha, a Taiwanese Restaurant near the concert venue. The majority of people were new-comers who hadn’t participated in a Taiwan alumni gathering before: many of the “older” alumni weren’t able to attend because of the holiday season in Austria. But this made no difference. The evening was very cheerful and everyone engaged in discussions about the drum event they had just enjoyed and then got on to comparing our experiences in Taiwan. Experience of studying in Taiwan is something special that they have in common, whether it was a short-term or long-term stay, and that was an easy way to break the ice.

Julia Marinaccio, the chairperson of the Taiwan Alumni Association in Austria, received positive feedback from the participants, and she is confident that combining culture events with enjoying food or a meal is a good model for the future. It allows people to experience and learn about something new related to Taiwanese culture, and food brings different people together at one table.