Leadership for Five Seasons (LFS) is a program for high school students in my city to introduce them to networking opportunities, and introduce the students to all the available options. From September to March, once a month, these students meet. Each day has its own leadership theme and the very last day in March is a student-led day. Individuals within the group vote on a day and the student committee plans the entire day. This year our class chose to do a Global Day to understand the diversity within our city and to get an idea of what it is like to work in the diverse work economy.
Being on the planning committee, I got the opportunity to compose professional emails, work in a team, and deal with last minute cancelation. By the time the schedule had been finalized, this was the plan for the day
-have foreign exchange students from the different high schools come and be part of a panel, answering any of the student’s questions
-sign language challenge where we learned how to do a basic introduction
-tour of the Czech and Slovak Museum
-free time in the Czech Village to explore the antique stores and bakery
-lunch at a Mexican restaurant
-A diversity fair with representatives from Algeria, India, China and two local non-profit organizations that work with eliminating barriers for immigrants and integrating them into the work force
-leadership activities at the end that introduced to students with the diversity within their own group
In the surveys we had at the end, almost every student stated that they felt they had gone around the world in just one day. Eating various cultural foods (kolaches, fajitas, rice, samosas, and traditional Algerian food) we learned about the values of different cultures and the available spices and ingredients in that area.
Our group was also exposed to many religions from Hinduism, to Islam, to a lack of any religion. We were also enlightened about schooling systems from around the world. In Germany, each student has 12 to 16 classes with different classes every day of the week. In China, different schools have different intensities but in one boarding school has classes from 7 am to 10 pm every day with a two hour break for lunch and a nap. College is also far less expensive with some countries offering a free college education and others having even the most expensive colleges, cost less than $10,000 a year. Overall, we walked away understanding that based on what the foreign exchanges students have seen so far, the American education system is far easier than other countries.
Throughout the day we all got to hear different languages and the variations in dialect among each place. For the foreign exchange-student panel, we had two students from different regions of China and though they were both speaking ‘Chinese’ they couldn’t understand each other because of the vast differences in regional dialects.
Global day really introduced me to all the diversity present in my city, which I had always thought of as … bland. In 8 hours I got to travel around the world.