Global Village Week to kick off March 14


Ji-Ho Lee

The decorated windows outside of the cafeteria say “Global Village 2016” in many different languages. 
Every year, RBHS students display their cultures through food, dance, music and artifacts during the week of Global Village, spanning from March 14 to March 18. While a majority of students enjoy roaming the halls and learning about people and places of the world, a small group of students and teachers work extremely diligently to make Global Village an enjoyable process.
Mrs. Punam Sethi, a Special Education teacher, is one of the few teachers involved with preparing and planning for Global Village. As it is her tenth year planning for the event, the process has become easier for Sethi, but there are still challenges that she and her colleagues face.
“Mrs. [Rachel] Victor and Mrs. [Lilia] Ben Ayed are my co-helpers and Mr. Bones used to be the main leader, but this year, Dr. [Lisa] Nieuwenhuizen has stepped in,” Sethi said. “We actually meet every Thursday. We’ve been planning since December, before Christmas. Planning is short term planning and long term planning, but so far it has been a great experience.”
For students who are simply observers of the months of preparation, the hard work of Sethi and others are evident.
“There is really good food and it is a really great time,” junior Jessie Clark said. “There are lots of booths and details so lots of cultures are represented, and it is interesting to learn about new cultures. It adds a lot of diversity and teaches students about the cultures of the world, which is a pretty cool thing.”
Other students, like junior Divya Divya, join Sethi in the planning process. Divya is a member of the Global Village planning committee. She and her fellow students plan the location of the booths, put up posters around the school, display different artifacts, raise the flags featured in the main commons, and plan the schedule and unique events for each day.
The aforementioned schedule, which features a different experience every day during the week of Global Village, is a combination of old traditions and new ideas.
“We usually have the same things every year. The planning committee, usually the teachers like Mrs. Sethi, are in charge of all those days and over the past few years, that’s been a very important throughout Global Village,” Divya said. “On Monday, we have international art day, and we have henna, origami and [Spanish flowers.”
While henna art is a traditional mainstay at Global Village, the other two forms of art have been newly incorporated in 2016.

Student planners for Global Village decorated the windows of the main commons earlier this week to remind students that Global Village Week is coming up. photo by Abby Kempf
“This year, we added the origami and the Spanish flowers,” Sethi said. “There are always long lines for henna, and the girls [doing the art] are so tired and people don’t get their turn, so this is a new edition.”
On Tuesday, Sethi said, musicians share their cultures and their talents, by performing international poetry, music and instrumental music. On Wednesday, the ever popular fashion show takes place in the main commons during lunch, while Thursday is a day of dance, as the performers share their cultures and stories.
Finally, Friday, which Sethi considers to be “the grand finale for Global Village” is a conclusion for the exciting week, as booths are set up around the school, with each booth representing a different country and a different culture.
“It gives a tremendous experience to our students who are new to the building or are freshman, and it feels like the whole world is under one roof,” Sethi said. “It is lots of diversity and puts smiles on the kids and they feel connected to the cultures [and] to the school.”
With the exposure to several different countries, the final day of Global Village week is nearly an expedited journey through the cultures of the world.
“People who have lived in Columbia for several years may not get the chance to go to China, to India, to Japan, so this gives a great experience,” Sethi said. “[Students can say], ‘I saw that, I saw this culture, I experienced this food, I tasted this food, I saw those artifacts, I know the music, and they can also learn the language.”
While the booths on Friday offer new experiences, foods and flavors of the world to RBHS students, it represents much more than a hodgepodge of countries.
“[Global Village shows] freedom with responsibility. [On Friday,] you see how diligent [students] are, how respectful they are, and how they use their time wisely,” Sethi said. “I think it’s a very good platform in RBHS as a whole to teach diversity and to teach how different we are and it allows us to celebrate our differences.”