- Created on Monday, 29 November 2010 22:05
The international school takes pride in the number of nationalities enrolled. That number is usually listed on the website. The school profile highlights the cultural diversity and often the flags of all the nations represented are seen in the auditorium or gymnasium. International schools encourage participation in Model United Nations and at the same time they are careful not to regard one nation as better than another.
I have been thinking a lot about that recently. One of the great challenges of the international school is how to help students maintain, or in some cases develop, a sense of healthy pride and loyalty to their nationalities without looking down on another.
I visited a school not too long ago that had a club established for this very purpose. It was called the Culture Club. They met twice a month during the lunch break. Each time they met a meal was shared representing the country or culture they were discussing that week. Many of the students even dressed in the style of the country. If there were students in the club who were citizens or had ever lived in that country, they took the lead in educating the rest of the members about the culture and facilitating a captivating conversation. I looked around the room and a sense of pride rushed over me, not that I had contributed to their lives, after all I was only a visitor. The pride I felt was one of hope and delight to have the privilege of taking part in a meal with young people who loved their own countries but also had a deep respect, acceptance and curiosity for all the nations of the world.
What a simple thing these kids put together for the Culture Club…and yet I believe it will have long term ramifications in their lives. Can you now imagine with me a school that does this sort of thing school-wide? Imagine a school where it is intentional to create an “intenational-ness” not only in the environment of the school, but in school-wide curriculum, in each classroom and within each student. That love of one’s own nation coupled with deep respect for others would in a sense be the permeating ethos of every aspect of the school. I believe it is the desire of every international school to create just that, but my question is …is it really being done? I am convinced that being an international school and being educators of Third Culture Kids requires that all must be done to enhance the international nature of our schools and provide opportunities for these students to become the best global citizens they can be. What can you do to make that happen?