Each year on Oct. 24, El Árbol Green School in Playa del Carmen, Mexico, celebrates United Nations Day with a school-wide project that has become an annual tradition for its educational community. On this day, teachers and students come together to turn their classrooms into different “host countries” from around the world with the goal of providing immersive opportunities to learn about different cultures.
In the weeks leading to the United Nations Day Project presentation, students watch videos about their assigned country; educate themselves on its people and culture; research traditional foods, dances and attires; and prepare to present their new learnings to the rest of the school’s community.
Then, on United Nations Day, they receive a passport that they get stamped on as they visit other classrooms – e.g., countries – and experience a taste of life beyond their local surroundings with food samples provided by the students’ families, native music and dance presentations, and colorful decorations like flags, maps, symbols and other memorabilia that the community is able to bring and/or create to make everything come to life in beautiful ways.
Seeing my daughter dressed up in a traditional Thai outfit and hearing her practice her lines as she got ready for her United Nations Day Project made me appreciate the value of providing her with an international education.
Not only is she gaining awareness of different cultures, languages and ways of doing things around the world, but she is also learning that everyone deserves to be treated with respect and acceptance regardless of those differences.
The Benefits of International Education
In today’s world, where cultural differences cause so much divide among people and nations, raising culturally conscious children is fundamental if we care about building a better world.
International schools help cultivate this “world-mindedness” in the hearts and minds of students by welcoming families from around the world, creating organic opportunities to learn about pressing world issues (such as climate change), and teaching other languages as part of the school’s curriculum and after-school programs.
Most international schools also prepare students for attending western colleges by incorporating an Anglo-American educational curriculum (such as the Common Core Standards followed in the U.S.) in addition to the host country’s educational curriculum.
Is an International School Right for Your Kid?
Families considering an international education for their children should keep in mind that students who attend an international school tend to:
Learn about different countries and cultures in a natural way
Learn to speak more than one language
Develop an awareness of global issues and a desire to promote change
Develop useful personality traits such as tolerance, respect, collaboration, and empathy
Learn to be more accepting of others regardless of their differences, and to value diversity
Can successfully collaborate with people from diverse backgrounds
If you’re interested in learning more about El Árbol Green School’s international education community, send an email to firstname.lastname@example.org to schedule a school visit.