International Day is an occasion where we sacrifice one day of ordinary school, to learn about new cultures, global issues, consequences of global warming and global warming itself, and political conflicts and problems in other countries. The goal of this project is to make students aware of the issues people around the world is facing, and how we could reverse or repair the damage that`s done. In a connection with International Day, we have Operation day`s work, OD-day. On OD-day students in schools all over the country donate 400kr from payment of one day of working for an important matter. This years slogan was “We are all children of the oil”. Meaning that this year focus was to help and donate money to the children and people suffering from the pollution caused by oil industries. As well as getting an understanding for how damaging this industry is, for not only people, and nature in the pollution areas caused by it, but for the entire world. Additionally, we should reflect upon the theme “We are all children of the oil” and what it means.
This year I was chosen to be a OD-contact, and since the students of the OD-comity work with global issues, we`re not only responsible for planning the OD-day, but the International Day as well. As a OD-contact we`re also responsible to look after the students on International Day, help them to find rooms to visit, inform them about different activities they can join, and prevent the hallways of getting too crowded. We tried to come up with ideas and activities which would make a huge impression on the students, and give them a greater understanding for many of the global issues. In addition, all the international English classes made posters for each theme and room used for this day.
Earlier, in a week or two before international day, each student of international English had to choose two rooms they would be responsible for on International Day. I chose the climate change and reflection room. I have a huge interest for global warming and climate change, and also have a little knowledge about it, therefore I thought this would be a good choice for me. As for the reflection room, I found the idea of it really interesting, especially since I had not heard about it before. Also, it sounded like one of the coziest room to be in. The rooms I was responsible for, was already decorated and ready when we arrived. The only thing we did, was to fill up water in the water mug on the climate change room, and control music and recordings on the refection room.
My groups made a poster for the room about climate change and another one for the reflection room. We solved the task by writing a short description on what climate change is, and what causes global warming. Further we made a little list of bi-effects of global warming. Lastly, we threw in a punchline which would make people curious and eager to go in. We didn`t have enough time to draw anything, therefore our poster contains mainly text. The reason we decided to make our poster like this, was because we thought introducing students to climate change, and write an introduction about the theme, would make them curious and make them want to know more. The second poster, for the reflection room, we kept pretty simple with just the title “reflection room”. We mirrored the word, to make it look like the reflection of the word was falling on the paper. We wanted to symbolize the meaning of reflection through this. In order to make the posters more interesting we could have used more colors and drawings, but as I mentioned earlier, it was hard to find the time.
Perhaps, as assistant in the hallways and on different rooms, I could have done a better job with engaging people to walk into the rooms, and preventing the hallways of getting crowded. I was scared to approach or interfering with students, since I didn’t want to come off as annoying or rude. Many students are also older than me, and for this reason I also felt that they would not take me seriously.
The day itself I personally think turned out great. The human library was educational and fascinating to listen too, but some of the rooms had unnecessary complications caused by bad planning. On the room for Zimbabwe, students had to wait at least half an hour before the lecturing started, because the people leading the lecture were late because a series of problems with their travel to our school from the airport. Next time, maybe it could be organized such as the tutors can arrive in Ålesund the day before International Day, to prevent complications from happening again. The room for climate change had similar complications, and therefore had to be closed for the first 2 hours.
My overall impression of international day was good, and I found it very informative. On the rooms I had time to visit, I can’t find any other problems worth mention. I think it`s very creative how many activities the school came up with related to global issues, and how many different ways they have found to educate students about this issue.
The room that actually left the biggest impression on me, was the reflection room. In the room you`re supposed to sit in silence and dimmed lightning, and listening to a recording of a voice reading a text. In the text they talk about how we ignore the understanding of how big numbers are. They for example compared earth’s population to distances in space, which makes you understand how many we actually are on our little planet. This 15-minuetes long recording changed my way of thinking, and my understanding of numbers.
To conclude, I think International Day is a great and fun way to educate the students about new cultures and different global issues.