Each year at EF Academy New York, students spend countless hours preparing for one of the best days of the year: Culture Fair. On this day, we celebrate all of the diverse cultures, heritages and backgrounds that each student brings to our unique community. With such an international student body, it’s no surprise that we dedicate this day each year to learning about the world.
This year, more than 300 students helped with the planning and setup of this remarkable event. Beginning in January, students began by brainstorming ideas for what kinds of food, activities, and decorations they wanted to use to teach the school about their culture. With some help from the activities department, the students spent weeks preparing for the day of Culture Fair. The night before the event (and early in the morning on the day of), the representatives for each country worked all night to decorate and cook food from their home nations.
With classes cancelled for the day, the academic building here on campus was completely transformed into a miniature version of the World’s Fair, or the Epcot center at Disney World. Each classroom was completely rearranged and revamped, covered in colorful flags, bright banners, and intricate drawings. After the students polished off the finishing touches for their countries, the doors opened to students, faculty, and the wider community of Westchester County. As they entered the building, visitors were given passports, or little booklets in which to take notes and collect stamps from each country they visited throughout the day. As visitors entered each room, they felt completely transported to the other side of the world. It was truly a global adventure!
Emanating from each classroom were all kinds of different sounds and scents. In Brazil, you could practice your soccer skills, listen to funk and samba music, and try delicious brigadeiros, a famous Brazilian treat. Norway prepared waffles, shared chocolate, and had a photo booth with props to take pictures with Vikings. The Vietnamese really pulled out all the stops in their room, complete with a photo background, props, games, and an incredible variety of food! Students from Botswana and Swaziland formed an alliance, covering their room in gorgeous, brightly-colored prints, sharing their native food (delicious but spicy!), and teaching visitors some popular games from their hometowns. Every country that participated in Culture Fair this year did an incredible job of teaching each visitor about their language, customs, and traditions. India even helped everyone celebrate Holi, the festival of colors, by covering visitors in vibrant pigments.
In total, over 35 different nations participated in Culture Fair and shared their diverse, unique heritage with the school community. It was a day filled with laughter, learning, sharing, and of course, delicious food from all over the world. Thank you to all the students and faculty who made this day possible – it was an event we will always remember.