This year was my 4th UN Day, and it was quite different than the last 3 years. I am from Denmark, and Danes have always had a big group of students at TIS. This year, the group has somehow shrunk down to 3 students – and they are all my kids. But this year was also different in another way. This year, I have joined TIS’ Parents and Friends Assoiation (PFA), which always help out at UN Day. We have coordiated with parents who wanted to cook for the international lunch. We have bought flag stickers for the students’ UN Day passports and made displays with facts for all countries represented at TIS, so that students could travel around the world, but never leave the cafeteria. We have collected great pictures of TIS’ countries to use in a slideshow, and we have done a lot of other small tasks related to this great day. It has been a very busy couple of weeks preparing for UN Day, but it has been worth it.
As a parent at TIS, UN Day is – without any doubt – my favorite schoolday of the year. I love it! I love that we celebrate our diversity by sharing food from our countries for lunch. I love that we get to see everyone in their beautiful colorful national costumes (and hate that all us Danes can come up with is a soccer uniform). I love that for one day, me and my children become abassadors for our tiny little country and get to share what we are so proud of. I love tasting food from all over the world, and feel like I travel around the globe in 10 minutes. I love seeing parents work and laugh together, and not caring about their homecountries’ politics. I love answering questions about my country and I love helping raise international awareness to both students and other parents.
But I also love that we celebrate that we are not all that different. We were all kind of cold standing outside waiting for our country to be called and get our pictures taken. We were all struggeling to say hello in the 35 different languages, Mr Frezludeen had found for us. We were all happy that the sportsfield was usable for our UN day. We were all excited to learn just a little bit more about our friends’ countries. We were – and are – all part of the TIS community, either as parents, friends, teahers or students. And we were all celebrating UN Day and getting more international aware.
International awarness. It sounds very fancy, doesn’t it? I looked it up, and found the following definition “… broaden knowledge and understanding of other nations, increase interest in international affairs and develop greater appreciation for people of different background and cultures…”. This, to me, is probably the one of the most important lesson I, as a parent, want to teach my 3 children. I want them to grow up being curios about other countries and cultures, but at the same time, I want them to be proud of where they come from. I want them to learn that a friend is a friend, no matter where in the world they were born – and that friendship isn’t limited by language barriers.
At UN Day we celebrate international awareness. We broaden our knowledge and understanding of all our friends’ homecountries. We celebrate that we are very different and we celebrate that we are very much alike . But most importantly, we celebrate that at TIS, it doesn’t really matter if you are Danish or Chinese, Brazilian or Indian, Thai or Australian – or maybe even a mix of everything. All that matters is that you are a friend. And to me – that is why I love UN Day.