Going global

08 Aug 2018

In our little corner of the world it can sometimes be hard to imagine the richness and diversity of other countries, cultures and societies, which is why Round Square International Week is so important. This year, the multicultural and multitalented boys on the International & Round Square committee devised an interesting, engaging and interactive programme of events to highlight College’s commitment to embracing Round Square IDEALS and celebrating our global community.

Monday 30 July

International Week began with the International Languages Chapel Service, at which Head of International & Round Square Junie Wee urged his fellow students to embrace globalisation with open hearts and minds.

“There will be times when you may feel insecure and threatened by diversity. But do not seek to elevate yourself by putting down someone else’s culture, dignity and self-worth. Rather, confront your irrational fear, and learn to control it ... Look ahead to the future where we embrace diversity and our common humanity, and treat each other with care and respect.”

At lunchtime, teams from each House took on the adventure relay on Upper, with Jacobs winning the junior and School the senior race.

Tuesday 31 July

At a special assembly, led by Junie and his team, videos featuring well-known Old Boys Robbie Deans and Sam Johnson, and students at Round Square member schools in Denmark and South Africa reinforced the message that embracing a global future enriches all our lives; Junie and Year 11 student Angad Vraich shared some insights about their recent trip to Harvard University for a Round Square research symposium; and the school enjoyed performances from Year 10 student Shyam Hari and Year 12 student Matthew Todd, who played a duet on Indian Tabla drums, and the combined College–Rangi Ruru Girls’ School kapa haka group.

It was all action in the Chapman Room at lunchtime. Wielding a long wooden stick and executing some lightning moves, kung fu–wushu trainer Master Song, from Shaolin, China, gave an exciting martial arts, self defence and fitness demonstration, which included some of the advanced animal-imitation forms of traditional kung fu, as well as moves from contemporary wushu, combative Chinese kick boxing and tai chi. Master Song and his wife Annie then invited the boys to have a go – and participants quickly found the apparent ease with which the moves are executed, requires a very high level of fitness, flexibility and strength.

Later in the day, the boarders enjoyed a special supper, after learning how to make traditional Chinese dumplings assisted by some of our international students.

Wednesday 1 August

An international themed quiz at lunchtime, with an eclectic mix of questions ranging from the historical, to food, geography, sport, pop culture and more, tested the wits of all participants and, after a very tight competition, results came down to a tie.

Thursday 2 August

Nothing beats food – especially international cuisine from the food trucks set up in Upham Quad to make lunchtime on our Cultural Gala Day something special. With everything from souvlakis and bratwurst, to sweet puffed Egyptian doughnuts, Japanese yakitori and yakisoba, and spring potato (deep fried spiral cut potato on a stick) of unknown, but nevertheless delicious, provenance, the boys were spoiled for choice. Alongside these tasty morsels, they were treated to performances from cultural societies representing China, India, Thailand and Sri Lanka. Their stunning, colourful costumes and head dresses and traditional dances brightening the dull day. Inside the Chapman Room, calligraphers from the Confucius Institute at the University of Canterbury and the Zhong Hua Qing Culture and Arts Education Centre demonstrated how to write in Chinese script and then supervised as some of the boys had a go at writing their names. The Zealandia Academy of Indian Arts and members of the Wat Buddha Samakhee Thai and Buddhist community were among other groups demonstrating their cultural specialities, including mask painting. All the activities gave valuable insight into some of the many different cultures and peoples who call Christchurch home.

In keeping with the international theme, the proceeds from Thursday’s mufti day were earmarked to buy mosquito nets for people in affected communities, to support efforts to rid the world of malaria.

Friday 3 August

At lunchtime, Junie chaired a Q&A session on globalisation, with Year 12 student Ivan Panyarachun from Thailand and guest speaker Shola Olaniyan from Nigeria sharing information about their countries, and discussing some of the challenges and rewards of moving away from home and embracing a new life in a strange land.