Schools embrace International Day with colour, culture and dancing

A kaleidoscope of colours, music and cultures greeted visitors to a school as part of an event to mark International Day.

Mirdif Private School was one of the many UAE schools staging International Day celebrations. Reem Mohammed / The National
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DUBAI // A kaleidoscope of colours, music and cultures greeted visitors to a school as part of an event to mark International Day.

Nibras International School in the Green Community has children from 89 different nationalities. Parents were on Thursday treated to a variety of activities celebrating that multicultural mix.

Classrooms were decorated in themes that highlight the culture of different countries and hundreds of people enjoyed an afternoon of food and dance from around the world.

“Our class was representing Costa Rica, so we decorated the room in a way that would give people an idea of what the country is like,” said Salma Moussa, 18, from Egypt, who was wearing the Central American country’s national dress.

Pupils made models of volcanoes and displayed some of the foods and traditions associated with the country.

“I didn’t know much about the country before we prepared for International Day, but I’ve learnt a lot over the last couple of weeks,” said Salma.

A classmate even taught her a few phrases in Spanish.

“We have also arranged for a short video to be shown to visitors so that they can find out more,” she said.

Visitors to the Iran-themed classroom were greeted by a typical Iranian home showing a pool and courtyard scene.

It is the 10th year that the school has run an international family fun day, with the event becoming bigger each year.

“One of the things we’ve changed over the last couple of years is to get the kids to learn more about other cultures and traditions,” said Karen Robinson, the school principal.

“We have a very diverse group of children, including a class of 18 children with 17 different nationalities.”

The centrepiece to the event in the afternoon was held in the school’s main hall and about 700 people were expected to attend.

Visitors enjoyed a display of traditional Pakistani dance on the main stage from the nursery children along with performances by the Grade 11 pupils in Syrian, Lebanese, Egyptian and Bollywood dancing.

Visitors to the classrooms were also treated to traditional sweets and coffees associated with different countries.

Most of the school’s 900 pupils, from KG1 to Grade 12, were involved with helping to organise the day and took pride in the work they had done.

“We feel it’s very important that we not only celebrate the rich mix of nationalities that we have at the school but also encourage the children to learn more about other cultures,” said Habib Habib, the school’s co-director.

“We’ve been celebrating International Day in some form for a decade now and it gets bigger each year.”

International Day celebrations were also marked in other schools across the emirate, including Mirdif Private School.