Nurturing the Multicultural Student Community at OWIS

Students at One World International School (OWIS) learn about different cultures, but they do so in a totally immersive way. It’s the difference between reading about a country and actually living there. Our student body is intentionally diverse and represents more than 70 different cultures. As a result, the students at OWIS learn about the world organically. Learning comes naturally as they partner with students from different cultures on projects or sit next to each other in classrooms. We share and embrace diversity in One World International School, and both students and faculty are made richer by it.

How OWIS Embraces the Multicultural Experience

Instead of requiring children of different cultures to conform to a particular norm, at OWIS, we encourage individuality. We invite children to speak in their native tongue, share their traditions, and express who they are. As a result, those around them become knowledgeable regarding a different way of life. Children benefit from learning as much as possible about multiple cultures and the different people who populate our world. We nurture a multicultural experience for students in several ways:

  • Encouraging sensitivity and respect towards every culture
  • Promoting collaborative learning between students about their cultures
  • Permitting students to use their native language
  • Linking diversity and multiculturalism with other subject themes that focus on global issues
  • Taking part in ‘International Day’ activities and celebrations at OWIS

As a result, students who graduate from OWIS have formed educated ideals about how the world works. They’ve made friends with students from other countries and other cultures, and they’ve had a chance to experience the best these cultures offer. They leave us with open minds and open hearts, ready to embrace the future without cultural bias or limitations.

Acceptance of others and the realisation that we are all different parts of the same world take students far in life, from business to creative pursuits, and everything in between.

How OWIS Students Benefit from a Multicultural Campus

One World International School is connected, through the virtual classroom, to many areas of the world. Four walls and a closed door no longer bind learning. Instead, it is limitless in potential. Students can stand in our classrooms and interact with their counterparts in other areas of the world. They can turn to the child next to them and discuss what they’re experiencing in their native tongue. Through interactions such as these, children learn organically. There’s so much more than memorisation of facts going on in an OWIS classroom. There’s exploration of the known world, acceptance of humans of all nationalities, and the opening of minds to limitless possibilities.

Students of One World International School develop a keen understanding of the likenesses and differences that make us who we are. They’re not afraid to embrace distant cultures and learn all they can about them. Attending school on a multicultural campus helps students develop international mindedness and other skills they would otherwise miss, including:

  • Confidence in interacting with people from different nations
  • Acceptance of different ways of life
  • Tolerance of cultural differences
  • Knowledge of global people and places

There’s an inherent type of sophistication our students learn as they become immersed in the 74 nationalities that attend classes on our campus. It’s a type of sophistication that can’t be gleaned from reading a book or streaming a documentary. It’s real and hands-on, and both our students, teachers and their families are made better by it.

Practices Adopted to Promote Cultural Awareness

The simplest method we use to promote cultural awareness at OWIS is immersion. Students attend classes alongside other students who may be local or who may come from a different country. There is no separation between nationalities. This exposes all students to different dialects, traditions and languages.

As students meet and learn more about one another, they’re encouraged to be respectful, yet curious. At OWIS, it’s always okay to ask questions, explore cultures, and make informed conclusions. It’s likewise fine for other students to challenge those conclusions in respectful ways. It’s a give-and-take that’s an essential part of the learning process. By interacting with people from different areas of the world with respect and tolerance, the opinions students form are based on truth. They can then go forth and share what they’ve learned without fearing their information is false or misleading.

Another key annual tradition that OWIS uses to promote cultural learning is our ‘International Day’ celebrations. We display students’ national flags on a special day every year at OWIS that we call ‘International Day’. Students carry their national flag in a flag parade, and it is a source of great pride and joy for students and their families. Similarly, we encourage students and teachers to sample foods from various cultures and regions through a ‘Food Fair’ that is organised on International Day. Students are also invited to wear their traditional clothing on this day. We promote the sharing of traditions and symbols of national pride, and we wonder at the differences between us. Our students question, explore and conclude. And through all of this, they make lifelong friends who may live across the street or across the world.

Says Amanda Laverick, parent of OWIS’ Early childhood students, Rufus and Elsa: “Both of my children’s classes have multiple nationalities within them. One of them has 13 different nationalities in a class of 16, not something you find at every international school and I love this about OWIS. The children can share their different cultures, countries and backgrounds and that encourages them to learn about their world and opens their eyes to the diversity around them. The different celebrations at OWIS give the children a chance to better understand other people’s cultures and share in food/experiences from those cultures.”

If you would like more information about how your child could flourish at One World International School, contact us today to schedule a tour of our multicultural campus. Both you and your child will be amazed at all we have to offer.

(This blog was originally written in collaboration with Ms Nausheen Gilani, former Primary School Teacher, OWIS Nanyang.)

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