Living outside of our respective African countries make it hard to keep up with our traditions and culture. Aside from the usual contact between my family and I, I have found other ways to stay in tune with my culture and my age group.
A few years ago, I heard about this organization, Umu Igbo Unite (UIU), from a family friend. I really didn’t think anything of it at the time. In 2015, I travelled to New Jersey to visit my uncle and cousins and had the opportunity to attend the 11th annual banquet after party and had so much fun! From that day, I looked forward to attending the conference the following year in Chicago. In a span of 4 days, I was surrounded by culture and people who were educated, young and IGBO! I started off attending the conference by myself, too shy to meet new people, to making great friends and to speaking at the UIU women session. Because I have had great experience joining my cultural organization, I decided to share why you should too.
- Meet New People – Joining cultural organizations is a good way to get to know those in your community! I can honestly say I have made many friends from just joining organizations like the African Student Union, Umu Igbo Unite, African Student Association, etc.
- Surround Yourself with Your People – Being so far away from the motherland, it is so easy to assimilate with the western culture. Surrounding yourself with your people instills a sense of comfort and being at home. Organizations like these foster learning more about things like traditional dishes, native tongue and keeps you up to date about what is going on in your community. There is no feeling like being surrounded by your own!
- Opportunity to make a difference in your community – Many people take advantage of the chance to help their community by joining these groups. Many cultural organizations have goals to give back to the community back home. It is a great opportunity to share your area of expertise, participate and positively impact your community.
If you’re looking to join your cultural organization, start with a simple google search. Social media makes it much easier to join an organization and reap some of its benefits by just joining a Facebook group. Hopefully, I have given you enough reason to keep your culture alive. You never know who you may meet *wink* *wink*.
– Ivery Arie