Our Diversity Unites Us
Living in the United States and attending a British curriculum school, I often get asked by family, friends, and neighbors how my school differs from American curriculum. Another common occurrence is having to repeatedly clarify that Year 13 is the equivalent of 12th Grade. While I have never experienced attending an American school, I can still share the differences I have felt being a part of a school that is not native to the country I live in.
Arguably, the most surprising difference at BISH is our sports teams. Due to being a European school, we don’t play American football. To our school, this is not unusual by any means, but many people I have encountered are astonished by this contrast.
“Being someone who follows the NFL, I find it hard to come across people in our school who share the same interest. It isn’t usual to meet someone who watches the games, so when I do, it feels as if we connect more because we share an uncommon passion,” says Jasper L., a junior at the British International School.
These are the things that unassumingly unite our school even more. Having an uncommon interest and sharing it with our friends and teachers not only creates more friendships, but is helps us to learn about one another.
In my opinion, one of the most visible differences at BISH is the overwhelming diversity. Being home to students and faculty from more than 65 different countries, our school is a melting pot of cultures. This is evident during our annual international days, where students are encouraged to wear traditional clothes from their country. Dozens of stands featuring food and entertainment, from various continents, allow students, teachers, and parents to experience the beauty of our world from our campus.
Walking down the halls, it is natural to hear a myriad of accents from all over the world, and it is one of the things I find so welcoming about BISH. Every culture is represented and celebrated with such appreciation.
Personally, I have always felt that the ethnic diversity of our school has played a huge role in my education and growth as an individual. Learning to respect and appreciate cultures has been woven into our core values and is reflected in our classes. Having friends from countries like Ireland, Indonesia, and Germany has given me the opportunity to witness a culture through stories and memories of these friends. Retelling my own memories of living in various countries, it is not uncommon to find that other people have been to and experienced the same places. So, while our diversity is what makes us all unique, it is also what makes us closer as a school.
Even though our school has some differences to American schools, we feel a part of the Houston community. Interschool sports matches and annual mock trial competitions have allowed us to build relationships with students from all over Houston, providing a chance to share our differences and learn about countless traditions that are unique to our schools. And while people may still think I am in 11th grade whenever I say year 11, it never gets old correcting them.
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