Culture Fair is an annual event held at EF Academy New York where each country has the opportunity to share their unique heritage and culture. Each classroom is converted to a specific country. EF Academy invites members of our local community, including a local elementary school, to attend the event. It is also a great opportunity for students to learn about the heritage of each country we interact with at the school. It is one of the best days of the year and everyone enjoys sharing their country with the world. Culture Fair was held last week with many countries represented at the fair such as U.S., China, Brazil, Thailand, Mexico, Indonesia, Norway, Nigeria, Pakistan, Kazakhstan, Angola, Morocco, Vietnam, Hong Kong, Taiwan, Korea, Turkey, Russia, and Japan.
Culture Fair from the perspective of Thai students
The concept of Thailand’s culture fair this year is Songkran Water Festival. This festival is really important for Thais because it’s their New Year’s Day. The traditional has two parts. During the first part, in the morning, the family is reunited and wash elders’ feet to show the respect in a formal ceremony. The second part, called “watering,” is more popular among the teenagers. They will sprinkle each other with water using whatever tools they have – a cup, bowl, or even just their hands. It’s extremely fun and typically lasts for 3 days. The tradition is normally held in mid-April and is widely celebrated in Asia, Europe, and America.
For this year’s Culture Fair, all Thai students thought it would be great if we could bring the Songkran water festival to the U.S. The event was successful and everyone loved it! We started off with planning and attending all the meetings with Ms. Aquina to plan the activities for the fair. Our final decision was to use toy water guns and water balloons, in addition to face-painting and other games. The best part was when we spread the water to each other. Everyone was running around, wet, like children. I did not have a chance to go to every country, but I could see all the effort they put in. Every country had a great culture and tradition. This year culture fair was memorable and I am already looking forward to next year.
Here are some of the thought from students from different part of the world:
“I was representing China at the culture fair and it was an amazing experience. I mainly helped set up the classroom, selecting foods, drinks and snacks, and explained and introduced everything in the classroom to the ‘tourists’. I really enjoyed this event and felt proud to present my country in the international environment.” – Shawn Wang (China)
“My experience culture fair with culture fair this year was memorable. It was the second time after Lunar New Year that I feel connected to my fellow Thai friends. The experience was tedious, yet I was proud after finished decorating Thai room and being a part to represent my country.” – Ping Sasinan (Thailand)
“I was touring two seniors during culture fair. The visitors were impressed by the work which is done by students and the opportunities we have to make friends around the world. I am inspired to be appreciative and more open-minded. I wish I had known this earlier; culture fair broadens the vision of international awareness. I should have spent more time with friends and different people.” – Jean Wang (Taiwan)
Written by Pawita Sunthornpong, IBY1 student from Thailand