International Day is my favorite school event. When you have an awesome event like this you don’t mind being at school on a Saturday from 9:30-2. In fact, if it were a week long event I would probably volunteer 10-15 hours just like I did when I was a student at the UofO. Honoring and supporting diversity is something I am very passionate about!
I think my love of all things international started when I was a student at a very diverse high school in Portland, Oregon (James Madison). My passion for the international really grew my freshman year while I was a member of the International Student Association for four years at the University of Oregon. International Week and Night was our biggest event! A major difference from my experiences as an international school teacher and my experience at UO is that the ISA made it into a week long event where we would host demonstrations, games, performances, and then FINALLY an I-Night where there were performances and food from all over the world, whereas most international schools only allocate one day for the event.
I always expected International Day at international schools to be similar to International Week at UO, but they haven’t really been anything like that. At the ASFC (international school in Mexico) I seem to remember it being a week long, but not really involving the families or local community. At BIBA (international school in China) we had an International Day, but I just remember it being very stressful for teachers. At ELM (international school in Venezuela) we didn’t celebrate International Day. Finally, at CIC Valencia (current school) I have had my best International Day experience!
At my current school we started the day with a parade (I lead the group of students representing Germany), each grade hosted a game with the proceeds going to a local charity, there were musical and dance performances, soccer (of course!), and parents brought in fabulous food from different cultures (proceeds from this also going to charity).
My grade hosted a beanbag toss (not very “cultural” but most other activities weren’t either). Our game earned 268 tickets (or 1340 Bs). The best part is that the students were required to “volunteer” their time to work the events. Each student in the third grade only had to volunteer for 20 minutes, but during those 20 minutes they were working hard! They were in charge of accepting tickets, counting the number of candies won (with maximum of 18 candies), giving out candy prizes, and explaining how to play the game. The students were all very enthusiastic and very happy to help. Everyone showed up to work their “shift” so everyone could have a good time. I absolutely loved working there too!
Another highlight was seeing one of my students perform Flamenco ALL BY HERSELF. As a new intensive ESL student I mostly see her as a quiet and shy girl in my class, but when she got on that stage you could tell that she was confident in her abilities. I wish I could post a video of her dancing because it was truly beautiful. She is a great dancer!
The only thing I wish to make International Day at CIC even better is if we could turn it into a week long event, have each class study different countries and then make some kind of presentation about it, and yet keep the fun, community feel that it has now. All things considered, it was the best International Day event I’ve experienced outside of the UO!
Does your school celebrate International Day? How does your school celebrate? Is it a week long event or one day?