Student blog: what it's like to organise a multicultural event in Brisbane
Student organisations and managing events was always a part of my life back in Indonesia. When I came to Brisbane to study, I also looked for any chance to keep me busy outside my university life. I decided to join the Indonesian Students Association in Queensland (PPIA Queensland) as a member of the culture and society department. By joining this community, I found a sense of belonging and overcame my homesickness. It also gave me the opportunity of organising one of the biggest multicultural events in Brisbane – Pesta Rakyat.
Pesta Rakyat is an annual Indonesian cultural event in Brisbane, and it is held to celebrate Indonesian Independence Day on the 17th of August. After an interview with the head of department at PPIA, I was selected as a Project Officer to plan and manage Pesta Rakyat.
As a student, I never imagined I would be able to organise such a big event abroad! By being on the committee of such a big event in Brisbane, I was able to gain valuable experience and practice some important skills.
Organising such an event requires strong organisational skills. I learned how to plan, order and adjust the venue and logistical needs - this means learning about how things work here in Brisbane. It also provided an opportunity for me to develop my connections with other Indonesian communities in Queensland as it involves collaboration with people to contribute as performers and food stall providers.
Time management skills
I had to manage my time between assignment and uni schedules, my duties as a Brisbane International Student Ambassador, and my work with Pesta Rakyat. I arranged a day-to-day schedule on my phone’s calendar which helped me focus on work priorities and stay organised.
I had to manage effective meetings for the committees in between uni schedules and assignments. Pesta Rakyat’s committees came from different universities such as UQ, QUT and Griffith. We also came from different majors and we had different schedules. Therefore, we needed to set the right time to have meetings to discuss the event. Sometimes, if it was not possible to do a face-to-face meeting, we set up an online meeting. That way, it was easier and more flexible for all of the committee members.
The ability to tackle difficulties
Other than that, I also faced many challenges as I managed this event. As one of the biggest Indonesian cultural festivals, this event needed a proper financial plan with a realistic budget. Since the event was held by a Students Association, we had limited financial sources and we needed to gain sponsors to support our event as well as do fundraising. Although it was challenging part, the committee successfully met the budget via fundraising and proposing sponsors. One of the strategies we used was gathering clothes and selling them in the suitcase rummage event in Brisbane City - we found that this is one of the most effective ways to gain revenue.
As an international student in Brisbane, I find that Brisbane really appreciates diversity and multiculturalism – you can tell from its extensive calendar of multicultural events throughout the year! Brisbane provides people from every culture the chance to celebrate their ethnicity and share it with local residents.
Brisbane's education institutions are also vibrant, multicultural places. At The University of Queensland, where I’m studying, there are various multicultural events organised by student communities from different countries. International students from all over the world are proud to share their culture and the local students always join them to celebrate different cultures together. It’s always amazing to see such harmony in diversity.
As an international student in Brisbane, it is a great opportunity to challenge myself organising an event abroad and working with people from different cultural backgrounds. Celebrating diversity is important, and the challenges always help me grow.