At least 20 of the 50 nationalities living in the Bega Valley were recently represented at a day celebrating cultural diversity.
The first Multicultural Day, hosted by Social Justice Advocates Of The Sapphire Coast at Wolumla, has been hailed as a huge success.
The event on Saturday, August 11, was a chance for people from different nationalities to share aspects of their culture such as music and food, as well as to demonstrate to migrants there were others around with similar experiences who moved to the Valley.
One migrant was Toro Diprose, a Ede woman from central Vietnam, who moved to Australia five years ago after meeting her Australian husband in her home country. They now live in Candelo with their five-year-old daughter.
Ms Diprose, who worked as a television presenter in Vietnam and is now working in aged care, said people had been very friendly to her since she moved to this country.
She said a difference she has found between the two countries is the matter of showing respect.
“In Vietnam, we really respect the elderly,” she said.
“This is shown in the way you call them. In Australia, you just call them ‘you’ or ‘Mr and Mrs’, but in Vietnam we call them something like Aunty, to show respect to them.”
Another migrant to the area was Nancy Luanmongkol, who came to Australia from Thailand in 2010 after her mother married an Australian man and now lives in Bega.
“There are very nice people down here. Bega is a small community, I think it’s good,” she said.
Some of her favourite parts of Thai culture are the music, dancing, celebrations, festivals and food, which is something she has noticed Australians are very fond of too, saying “lots of people love Thai food!”
“Having everyone from every country together, we can see different cultures because Australia is multicultural,” she said.
Social Justice Advocates secretary Gavin Bell said there was “so much to learn and grow with” from embracing multiculturalism.