International Day - a chance to challenge some stereotypes and shed some hair.

International Day is back! Following a fallow year without one (2014-15), we were determined to make a splash this time round. We mustered the usual stands in the foyer at lunch-time with exhibits relating to The Philippines, Martinique, China, the USA, Germany, Russia, the Ukraine and Bangladesh. The tasty bites, whether German sausage or American cookies, were clearly popular. In the afternoon our keynote speaker Melody Karvonen held her audience enrapt as she challenged us to question our assumptions and challenge stereotypes, as these are “always wrong”. There was wisdom and humanity in her message and we went away stronger for hearing it.

There was nothing for it. Pena - the geography teacher - had to lose his fine head of hair. All in a good cause. Students raised over 885 euros for Red Nose Day in order to make it happen. So up on the stage, in front of two hundred expectant faces, Pena was duly shorn like a sheep until he stood completely bald. We applaud his willingness to throw himself into the occasion, complete with ukulele.

Finally, after the choir sang harmoniously, the exchange students (from Chile, the USA, Australia, Thailand, and Japan) entertained the audience with insights into Finnish culture and said many wonderful things. It is great to learn that all are enjoying their exchange year - though loneliness can be an issue.  At least International day plays its part in bringing people together.   We´ll be back again next year!

David Crawford