More than 40 international students joined a Chinese cultural exploration event celebrating the Mid-Autumn Festival on the afternoon of September 22. The event held at the Faculty & Staff Club of the University of Michigan – Shanghai Jiao Tong University Joint Institute (UM-SJTU JI, JI hereafter) was jointly organized by the SJTU International Student Service Center and JI Cross Culture Center.

The students from various countries, such as the United States, France, Germany, Belgium, Armenia and Malaysia, were organized into groups and enjoyed a lecture of the Mid-Autumn Festival followed by activity sessions that involved making mooncakes, assembling lanterns, cutting colored paper and writing greeting cards. Attendees represented various SJTU institutes, including JI, the School of Naval Architecture, Ocean, and Civil Engineering, the School of Mechanical Engineering, the School of Electronic Information and Electrical Engineering, the School of Life Sciences and Biotechnology, the Antai College of Economics and Management, the School of Foreign Languages, and the School of Design, according to event organizers.

“We hope this event can help our international students learn about the rich Chinese traditional culture, experience the lively atmosphere of the festival and build up friendships through cross-cultural exchanges,” said Yongqiang Jin, JI’s international student service officer.

Event scenes at JI Faculty & Staff Club

Speaking of her impression of the event, Elisa Franco from Italy said it was a great and first-time experience. “It not only taught us some interesting facts about the history and traditions of the festival, but also how to put those traditions into practice! I’m not a good cook but the steps to follow in making the mooncake were very clear and with a bit of practice the cakes turned out great. They were so yummy! “Daniela Mata from Peru echoed Franco’s view, saying, “The mooncake event was an amazing experience that allowed us to appreciate the beauty behind the Mid-Autumn Festival and its wonderful traditions. I loved making the mooncakes from scratch. I had fun with friends as we cooked and then tasted the flavorful cakes. Later, we handcrafted lanterns that displayed beautiful sceneries.”The Mid-Autumn Festival, also known as the Moon Festival, is an annual celebration in China, taking place on the 15th day of the lunar calendar in August. The festival features customs such as mooncake consumption, lantern displays, osmanthus flower appreciation, and osmanthus wine tasting, all deeply rooted in traditional Chinese culture. In 2008, the State Council of China officially declared it a national statutory holiday. This year’s Mid-Autumn Festival on September 29 coincides with the National Day holiday which begins on October 1.

Group photo of attendees