International Day is a day of cultural diversity and discovery as well as a proud tradition of Tsinghua International School (THIS). However, this year, the special event took on a new look – and it’s not just the added coats and mittens to students’ costumes as they braved the Beijing winter – the day was combined with another annual Tsinghua event, the Speech Showcase.
“We chose to focus on the literacy aspect of the THIS learning goals,” says Mr. Lada, head of the modern world languages department. “We have asked the homerooms to showcase the literature of their home countries. With language being such an important part of culture, we felt the students would greatly benefit from getting a glimpse of the amazingly rich and diverse spectrum of language and literature we share in the world today.”
Indeed, if one was to take a look around the multi-purpose room on December 3, every homeroom seemed to have put great thought into their booths, decorating their tables with flags, posters, and putting on brilliant performances of folk tales and dances. However, with the shortened school day coupled with the event pushed to an earlier date, some students and teacher feel that homerooms could have dug a little deeper. Homerooms successfully showcased the wonders of each country and experimented with the traditional foods of their respective countries, but there wasn’t much research into the background of specific cuisines. As one interviewee pointed out, “Some homerooms did not present a complete view of their countries, picking out bits and pieces instead.”
While it is rather difficult to present a complete view of a country in such a short period of time, as another interviewee puts it, “in the future, we want to keep exploring the different facets of culture, not only showcasing national achievements of the various countries, but perhaps tackling some of the problems they are facing as well.”
According to Ms. Peters, who teaches art, one way to achieve that is to abandon the rigid questions of what a capital is and what a climate is like, and to explore a set theme instead. Setting a theme as a precedent will likely start more in-depth, inspiring, and meaningful displays regarding cultural diversity and internationalism. With the efforts of both the faculty and students of THIS, we hope to see many more successful International Days to come.
Rhea Jiang is a junior at Tsinghua International School, an international campus affiliated with Tsinghua High School. She is the co-editor-in-chief for the school newspaper, the Spartan Times, and co-president of the debate club. Through her blog posts, Rhea hopes to share her unique thoughts and experiences at Tsinghua International School.
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