The tradition of Saudi Arabian hospitality was promoted and other stereotypes were humorously refuted during the Saudi Student Association’s inaugural Saudi Day.
Saudi students used the opportunity to let those who attended try traditional Saudi food and learn about the many cultures of the country.
The event began with a reading from the Koran and the singing of Saudi Arabia’s national anthem, and then kept the audience entertained with dancing, laughter, busted stereotypes and more.
Abdul Alrehan and Yazeed Aldhwayan performed a comedic sketch with Aldhwayan portraying a Kansan named "Donald" who is on a trip to Saudi Arabia for the first time and knows nothing about the culture other than the stereotypes.
"When you go there, you live in a normal hotel and we live in normal houses," Alrehan said, showing photos of homes and hotels in Saudi Arabia.
"That’s not normal, that’s fancy," "Donald" replied.
Alrehan talked about Saudi Arabia’s economy, which is fed not only by oil, but also agriculture, especially in the eastern part of the nation.
"A lot of foreigners like to come to eastern Saudi Arabia because it’s beautiful," Alrehan said.
He said western Saudi Arabia is home to the city of Mecca and is "the land of two holy mosques," where followers of Islam annually travel on pilgrimages.
Alrehan also talked about the heritage of tall buildings, including the Clock of Mecca, which towers among the world’s tallest structures.
"With a clock that big, you guys should never be late," "Donald" said.
However, the clock is not the tallest structure in the world.
"Our prince got jealous a little bit, so he’s building something a little taller," Alrehan said.
They talked about primary modes of transportation in Saudi Arabia, hilariously illustrating stereotypes using a photo of a camel "parked" next to vehicles, and noted that they do drive cars and that traffic is notoriously heavy throughout the cities.
There also is a heavy interest in football, or, as Americans know it, soccer.
"If you see them suddenly, everyone disappears, they are not sick. They are going to watch a soccer game," Alrehan said.
"Sorry to let them in on our secret guys," he added.
He also shared a fact that inspires plenty of jealousy, particularly among the college crowd.
"Education is free for everyone - Saudis and non-Saudis," he said. "Actually, if you go to a university in Saudi Arabia, they give you money."
However, the culture’s segregation is strict, and that includes classes and colleges.
"We can’t go together to the same class - even in the university," Alrehan said.
However, in America they do.
"A lot of people ask me why we have a lot of Saudis in America," he said, adding that education is prized and paid for. "We don’t pay tuition to Pittsburg State University. They pay for us. But, in order to go, you have to be a good student."
They also addressed questions about being a Saudi woman, and had Zainab Alhawdar speak about her experience.
"We are strong in many fields," she said.
She wore traditional woman’s attire and discussed the difference between the abaya, which is worn over the body, the hijab over the hair and the niqab, which goes over the face.
"Donald" then asked her what can be worn under the clothes.
"We can wear anything, like American people or girls in the world," she said.
She added that women have a very normal life and pursue higher education, hobbies and more.
"We try our best to get higher education and to make our country proud," she said.
Tassan Alsulami, an education student at PSU, said events like this are important to help bridge cultures.
"We have many things that are different," Tassan Alsulami said. "Because of this reason, many people in the United States have not understood the culture of Saudi Arabia."
"We try to send a message for American people what our culture is," Alsulami said. "That helps people understand our culture."
"You can see a lot of similarities between Saudi and American," Alrehan said.