Home away from home: Part 1

Two of Trinity’s cultural societies discuss their goals and values for their societies

Sometimes it can feel like there are almost too many societies to keep track of. Some students might arrive in September with a handful of names in their back pockets. The Hist, The Phil, and DU Players are all some of the more prolific societies on campus and Irish students are likely to be vaguely familiar with at least one when they arrive. For international students though, it can be a different story. This is one of the ways cultural societies come into play. Whether it’s offering a piece of home away from home, or an opportunity to explore other cultures, the work these societies do can often go overlooked. With this in mind, Trinity News’ Societies team reached out to a few of them for comment and to hear what their committees had to say about them in their own words.

DU Hispanic Society 

Q: (Walsh): “What would you say is the Hispanic Society’s overall aim?”

A: (DU Hispanic Society Committee): “We aim to promote awareness and appreciation of all things Spanish and Latin-American, through events, talks, social media and more. DU Hispanic Society welcomes anyone who’d love to learn more about Hispanic culture, and we hope to provide a place for people of all ages, courses and cultures to get to know each other!”

Q: “How much collaboration goes on between different cultural societies? I noticed a few overlapping events on different societies’ social media – it seems like a lovely way to meet new people, particularly for students from abroad.”

A: “DU Hispanic Society can often be found in collaboration with other Trinity societies, in particular other language and cultural societies. We love collaborations because they are a great opportunity to meet new friends, go to unique events and step out of your comfort zone!”

“Our first event of the year is actually a collaboration with TCD French Society and The Hist. Come along to our Freshers’ Week Breakfast in the GMB between 10:00 am-noon on September Wednesday 20 to meet some new faces and sample some great food!”

Q:”What are some of your most popular events?”

A: “From weekly churros and coffee mornings to reggaeton classes, Hispanic Society has events for all. However, our highlights would definitely be the annual Language Ball and our Reading Week trip abroad, which took us to Madrid last year!”

“We have lots of exciting events in the works for this year including food and drink tastings, cultural events, nights out and more! Keep up to date with every event through our weekly email and our Instagram page – @tcdhispanicsoc.”

Q: “Finally, what would you say to any students looking to get involved in your society?”

A: “We think everybody should get involved if they have even the slightest interest in Hispanic culture! Whether you’re a fan of the fabulous food, music or culture, or are simply looking to improve your language skills and meet some new friends in college, DU Hispanic Society offers all of the above. We are so excited to meet all our new members next year!”

TCD Japanese Society (JSOC)

Q: (Walsh) : “What would you say is the Japanese Society’s overall aim?”

A: (TCD Japanese Society Committee) “Without trying to quote our constitution verbatim, our main aim is to promote Japanese language, arts, culture, and businesses amongst the students of Trinity College, Dublin as well as giving the Japanese students of Trinity a place to embrace their culture. As a college society in general, our aim is to provide an open and welcoming community for those who share interests within the umbrella of Japanese culture to feel accepted and to meet people [with] similar interests. Both of these main aims are extremely important[…] You could say the first one represents our purpose as a society while the second represents our identity.”

Q: “How much collaboration goes on between different cultural societies?”

A: “We are a really big fan of collaborating with other societies as much as possible. We often hold collaborations with TCD Korean Society (KSOC) and TCD South-East Asian Society multiple times per year (in fact there will be a collaborative event as early as Freshers’ Week for us!). Since we are a small society, collaboration gives us an opportunity to run events that need a larger attendance pool. The best example is the annual Asian Ball which is a massive ball between all the Asian societies. I think collabs with other societies are also always great for meeting new people beyond the scope of the societies you are a part of.”

Q: “What are some of your most popular events?”

A: “The aforementioned Asian Ball is the biggest event in our calendar, it is a huge effort that takes months of preparation with an attendance number in the hundreds. We also host big speedfriending events throughout the year (usually in collaboration with one or two other societies) that can end up with pretty large numbers. The largest solo event I think we had last year was our three-second anime opening quiz where we played three seconds from an anime opening and had people guess what it was. We ended up getting 45 attendees which was a bit of a squeeze since we had booked The Eliz room for the event.”

Q: “Finally, what would you say to any students looking to get involved in your society?”

A: “What we pride ourselves more than anything else in our society is the friendly atmosphere and how welcoming we are. If you don’t happen to make it to one of our events during Freshers’ Week, don’t feel like you’ve missed the window to be a part of the society. All our events are always very open and welcoming to new members.”

“There is also a relaxed atmosphere to our events with no need for any major commitments. These events are great for those who are perhaps a little shy with big groups or not partial to drinking while socialising (although we plan to have plenty of exciting events as well!). We like to touch on every aspect of Japanese culture that we can in order to suit everybody’s interest, and we listen to our members for ideas for events! So if you have any interest in joining our society, I would say you should try to make it to at least one event and see where it goes from there!”

We will be speaking in more depth to TCD Afro-Caribbean society (TCDACS) in our next article, but for now I just want to highlight some of their upcoming events in time for Freshers. In their own words: “For those who are thinking about joining the society, but aren’t fully sure, the Freshers’ Fair is a great chance to see in person what we’re all about and meet some of our awesome committee members! We also encourage non-members to attend our Freshers’ events like the Meet & Greet, Speed Friending or Karaoke Night to get a taste of ACS.”

There are already so many events to consider when just looking at two societies. There really is something for everyone and even if you didn’t see anything that grabbed your attention, keep your eyes peeled for our follow up article in the next issue!

Siobhán Walsh

Siobhán Walsh is Deputy Societies Editor for Trinity News and is currently in the final year of her English Studies degree.