LOCAL CHINESE STUDENTS PLAN TO CELEBRATE WITH PARTY IN TOWN DUNDALK’s international students will ring in the Chinese New Year with traditional festive cheer at a special celebration tomorrow ( Thursday).
With almost 300 Chinese students currently living in Dundalk and studying at DkIT, the new year celebrations will be a welcome chance to indulge their own culture and traditions thousands of miles from home.
Summer Murphy, who is originally from Shanghai, one of the largest cities in China, is now working with DkIT’s international office and is organising the party for students at the Crowne Plaza hotel tomorrow night.
‘It’s a little piece of home for students, and we will have traditional costumes and food for everybody.’
She explained that the Chinese New Year coincides this year with Valentines day, Sunday February 14th.
‘But the Chinese usually celebrate it the night before, New Year’s Eve as such, which is Saturday night. For the students though we are celebrating a little bit earlier with the big party on Thursday night.’
Summer explains that she first came to live in Dundalk in 2002, and was among the first nine students to take up studies at DkIT.
‘For me, it was largely about improving my English. All Chinese children are taught it at school, but like so many languages it is better to live in a country where you have to speak it.’
She initially took up business studies and then quality management, but admits that there is one very important reason she has decided to stay in Ireland.
‘Well I met a Dundalk man, Christopher Murphy, when I was here almost a year, and we have since got married, so it is home for me now!’
She said that for Chinese students the biggest change when they arrive is adapting to the Irish diet.
‘In China we eat a lot more vegetables, and I found it hard to get what I needed for cooking here. But Chinese people are more adapted to Western food now, as there are plenty of American and European restaurants opened there in the last few years.’
‘But Dundalk was a very welcoming place for me, and at DkIT they made sure we felt at home with celebrations such as the Chinese New Year every year.’
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This article appeared in the Irish Independent