International Students Create Meaningful Ramadan Memories

March 25, 2024

The sacrifice of students to pursue knowledge in a foreign country is undoubtedly challenging, especially during Ramadan and as Eid approaches. Veerna, Lujaina, Fahim, and Sharin Bi from INTI International College Subang (IICS) shared their stories about being away from home during the fasting month.

Veerna Rahma Nuryunia, an Indonesian student studying for a Bachelor of Arts in Marketing, experienced a cultural journey during Ramadan. Having lived in Malaysia for almost 13 years, she found comfort in the familiar flavours of Malaysian food, similar to those back home in Indonesia, though with different names.

Veerna Rahma Nuryunia finds comfort in Malaysian food during Ramadan and aspires to organise Islamic activities and introduce more Indonesian traditions to her friends.

“For example, during Raya, here we have the ketupat. In Indonesia, we have the same thing but call it ‘kupat’,” she shared, highlighting the similarities and differences in the two countries’ culinary traditions.

“One of the best parts about Ramadan in Malaysia is hopping on the bus to the Ramadan bazaar in Shah Alam. It’s not just about buying food; it’s also a mission to explore Malaysian food. Despite the hot weather and crowd, I feel incredibly happy. I can identify and enjoy delicious local cuisine,” she said, adding that she has developed a fondness for ayam percik and kuih pelita.

Lujaina Ahmed celebrates Ramadan with her newfound family in the International Students Club.

Bringing a sense of camaraderie to the International Students Club (ISC), Veerna introduced the group to ‘bukber,’ a shortened term for ‘berbuka bersama,’ a beloved Indonesian tradition in which people break their fast together.

“I love the togetherness and variety of events during Ramadan at INTI Subang. It feels like a second home to me, and I hope to introduce more Indonesian traditions to my friends,” she said.
Lujaina Ahmed, a student from Sudan pursuing a Bachelor of Arts in Marketing, celebrated Ramadan at IICS with a newfound family—the International Students Club. Despite initially feeling homesick, the inclusive community embraced Lujaina, making her feel right at home.

“I felt welcomed and a strong sense of belonging. The potluck we organised during the last Raya celebration was a wonderful celebration of our diverse cultures. I am excited about the Raya celebration on campus this year,” shared Lujaina.

Fahim Hossain Sabit, a Bangladeshi pursuing the Foundation in Business programme, initially felt nervous about fasting and celebrating Raya far from his family. However, he soon found companionship and comfort among friends in Malaysia, which eased his concerns.
“Fasting here with friends has been special, and I’m sure Raya will be the same. We visited the Putrajaya Mosque for iftar and tarawih prayers, which was a peaceful and wonderful spiritual experience,” Fahim said, adding that he is currently arranging his visa to return home. “As much as I love celebrating Raya here, my heart belongs with my family at home.”

Shin Thant Thi Ri (Sharin Bi) from Myanmar, pursuing the Bachelor of Computer Science programme, found solace in the community spirit during Ramadan. Despite being away from her family, Sharin found joy in helping to prepare food and distributing it to those in need.
“Being welcomed into my friend’s family during Raya makes me feel like I have a second family here. I’ll always cherish that feeling.

“Being away from my family has made me closer to my Muslim friends here, and they are like family to me during this special time. We share experiences, learn about different cultures, and feel spiritually renewed during Ramadan in Malaysia,” she shared.

As the first week of Ramadan unfolded, these international students at IICS reflected on their shared experiences of togetherness and friendship. They looked forward to celebrating Eid al-Fitr and were grateful for the sense of community they had found far from home.

Fahim Hossain Sabit finds companionship and comfort among friends in Malaysia during Ramadan, easing his anxiety about celebrating far from his family..

Shin Thant Thi Ri (Sharin Bi) during last year’s Raya celebration with fellow International Students Club members at INTI International College Subang.