My house is your house

11 Aug 2017

International Week celebrates diversity, language, culture and the incredible benefits that spring from opening our hearts and minds to international experience.

Monday 7 August

As is traditional, International Week started by giving thanks in Chapel. It was clear that although English is dominant, it is by no means the only language spoken at College. Songs in Latin and Te Reo were followed by the reading – Acts of the Apostles 2:1–4 – by Year 10 student Fiti Sa in Samoan. Year 11 students Daniel Kutovoy, Homare Nakajima and Matias Biraben-Clough read prayers of the faithful in Russian, Japanese and Spanish respectively. Year 13 students Josh Meads and Kelvin Gong lead prayers in French and Mandarin and Year 13 student Kevin Guttman read the Lord’s Prayer in German.

In his address, Head of International and Year 13 student Vincent Li outlined some of the cultural expectations he lives with as the son of immigrant parents, finishing with what could be described as a prayer for better international relations: “From listening comes knowledge, from knowledge comes understanding, from understanding comes wisdom, from wisdom comes wellbeing.”

At lunchtime, it was heads down and pens at the ready for the International Quiz. MC Vincent Li took participants on a global journey, testing their knowledge of history, geography, languages, politics and pop culture. It was a close run thing, with only one point separating winners “Nick Crompton” Year 10 students Harrison Lund, Tom Jones, Henry Mossman, William Koko and Nick Schneideman, from “Warren’s boys” Year 13 students Jeremy Lidstone, Nick Stevens, Simon Brown and Hugo Beale.

Tuesday 8 August

Assembly had a distinct international flavour, featuring “Conversations on Culture” – a video of some of our students discussing aspects of their own and Kiwi culture. Year 13 student Kaveni Balenacagi and friends sang a Fijian melody, and students from one of our Round Square partner schools in Denmark explained the Danish concept of “hygge” (enjoying life’s simple pleasures).

At lunchtime, a vigorous, but not rigorous, debate on the motion “This House would re-establish the Soviet Union” kept a large audience entertained. Arguing for the idea were teachers Rob Donaldson, Callum Bell and Steve Everingham, with Year 12 student Wills Wynn Thomas, along with Year 13 students Hugo Beale and Nick Stevens making the case against.

Very little was out of bounds. Executive Principal Garth Wynne and Deputy Principal Rob Donaldson were likened to a couple of the Soviet Union’s more notorious leaders and the “bromance” between Putin and Trump was illustrated in unforgettable style. There was a fair amount of heckling and accusations of fake news from both sides. Steve Everingham stayed in character, complete with a questionable Russian accent and a soupçon of sauciness throughout and the teachers harnessed the power of one of the biggest bands in the world, letting The Beatles make their case with “Back in the USSR”.

Adjudicators Year 13 student Henry Seaton and Year 12 students Fawzan Sugarwala and Thomas Walker declared the staff team the winners, thereby giving Mr Wynne (aka Stalin) and Mr Donaldson (aka Lenin) a clear mandate to rule . . .

Wednesday 9 August

Flags Competition was held on Upper. Two to four boys from each House were chosen to create a flag representing the country they had chosen for mufti day. Boys had an A2 sheet, spray cans and felt pens to create their flag. International Student Manager Deanne Gath chose the Somes House redesign of the German flag as the ultimate winner.

Thursday 10 August

The three food vans in Charles Upham Quad proved to be a great attraction for hungry boys who formed long queues to get their food fix. In the gym, boys had the chance to try on Sumo suits and elsewhere a fast and furious game of Sepak Takraw, a form of volleyball using different body parts, proved popular.

Head of International and Round Square Vincent Li says he was really pleased with the way boys had got behind International Week this year. “It is certainly a step in the right direction to raise awareness of our international students and the values of Round Square. We can only get bigger and better from here.’’