As part of our Year of Multilingualism initiatives, we are pleased to be featuring a series of blog posts from multilingual experts and TIG members alike to celebrate on the importance of languages, cultural diversity, and intercultural dialogue in our lives.
Our next post in the series is from Jessica Zou- http://profiles.tigweb.org/Jessicazshiny
, a young person from Canada- http://canada.tigweb.org/
, who has been involved with TIG since 2009. In this entry, Jessica reflects and discusses on the events of Multicultural week at her high school. Enjoy!
The week of February 22 was the Multicultural week for our school. Forum, one of the school clubs, organized various school-wide activities to celebrate the diversity of the student body. As you know, Canada is proud of its multiculturalism and its citizens come from different countries with different background, languages, etc. As a result, our school has students coming from Spain, Guatemala, Germany, Poland, England, and of course, China!
The Multicultural week was memorable. On Monday at lunch, Forum members set up a giant map in the front hall and asked each individual to pin a tag on the area that he/she originally came from. At the end of the lunch period, the map was covered fully with tags that one could hardly see any land! On Tuesday, the members set up a huge blank piece of paper and asked people to write down the languages that they could speak in that language (e.g. If one speaks Chinese, write the word “Chinese” in Chinese). “English” was the most frequent word on the list but one could also witness the beauty of the calligraphy of other languages including Portuguese, Italian, French and others that I could hardly recognize. On Wednesday the club members gave each individual a small piece of paper and asked him/her to write down the religion that he/she practices anonymously. Then they arranged the small pieces of paper in a heart-shape, signifying the theme of unity. Thursday was a fun day, because each culture had student representatives setting up booths to showcase their culture. The Pakistan booth sold samosa, a type of food consisting of a fried tetrahedron-shaped patty shell with a savory filling of spiced potatoes, onion, and peas for one dollar each. I bet that at the end booth made more than 100 dollars for the samosas were too delicious to resist. There was a Guatemala booth as well, and the responsible student brought in a temple model that was supposed to be a sacred symbol of the nation. He also served free tortilla chips with ‘enticing’ homemade sauce.
Friday was the peak of the week. The forum members encouraged students to wear traditional clothes to school (yes, we don’t have uniforms!). I witnessed the beauty of sari and Dhoti from India, kilt from Scotland, Barretina from Spain, and of course, Qipao from China.