Congratulations to S4 Morven Stead who has won an award from the British Council in a writing competition on the subject ‘How international is your school and how International could it be?’ The photograph above shows Morven receiving her prize from Natasha Kozlowska from the British Council.
This essay was one of only three selected from schools throughout Scotland to win a prize.
It was on a Duke of Edinburgh expedition recently, a seemingly compulsory activity for many a British teenager, and while huddled at the side of an East Lothian footpath, that I looked around and wondered where I would be as a person, if I didn’t have the companionship of my Polish friend, my Korean friend, or my French friend, all of whom were next to me. This invisible diversity, on such a quintessential British activity struck me as something quite precious.
Many schools like to boast about their ‘global ties’, however, not every student can take advantage of these. Overseas trips are expensive. As are exchanges, with the added complication that many people are simply not able to host a stranger in their home for 5 nights.
Despite the barriers – both physical and mental – of potential globetrotting with the school, coming into class everyday, and spending time with those of our peers, who weren’t born in Scotland, but whose families have chosen to live here, or are the children of first, second or even third generation immigrants, is what we have as the norm. Yet this diversity is what we fail to appreciate.
Through casual conversations with our classmates and friends, through knowing themselves and their families, we subconsciously immerse ourselves in a different language; a different culture; a different outlook.
Our traditional Scottish ways are enhanced and enriched – without us travelling anywhere. The world is in our classroom.
By being in a school with people who unknowingly, have taught me about their culture, has increased my desire to travel, and has made me a more open, and accepting person. This is my school. And it should be every school.
This ingrained diversity, transparent multiculturalism, adds a little je ne sais quoi to schools in Scotland.