The LCC student body represents 30 different countries, and every year the school celebrates the Independence Day of each of them! For the ones that fall on a day outside of the school year, like the Fourth of July, a different day is assigned and the students from that country are in charge of preparing food and games to present their culture to others. Tonight we celebrated American Independence!
It was challenging to think of ways to celebrate without a BBQ and fireworks, but eventually we came up with other fun, ‘traditional American’ ideas! We hosted a version of America’s Got Talent, where there were three talent categories: carrying an egg through an obstacle course trying not to break it as if it were a baby (like a lot of high schools simulate with a bag of flour), a game using U.S. customary measurements (because we all get confused trying to do the conversions!), and an American Football trivia game (because all the fuss about the Super Bowl, and the group of us that stayed up to watch a game that started at 1:30am LT time, really puzzled the rest of LCC). The winners were crowned prom king and queen! And, maybe the best part, was the food! We made chili and corn bread to share and it was a delicious taste of home–and a little on the spicy side!
In planning tonight we realized that this is the flip side to being a traveler rather than a tourist. As important as it is for us to adopt the cultures we are now surrounded by and be invested in those, we should also be enthusiastic about sharing the American culture with the rest of LCC. Breaking cultural stereotypes is a two-way street, so while we are trying to get rid of the stereotypes we all have about Eastern Europe, we need to recognize that the Eastern European students are doing the same about their stereotypes about the States. Celebrating each other’s Independence Days is a fantastic way to do that, and we all had a blast being true Americans for a couple of hours! 🙂
“As someone who isn’t overly patriotic or proud of being an American, I was nervous about our Independence Day celebration. I always worry about how Eastern Europeans perceive me as an American. But being at LCC and attending other independence celebrations has taught me not only to be more open to other culture, but also to trust that people from other cultures are open to hearing about my life and my story, too. National identity is important, and that’s something we can share with each other. But I think sharing about our homes is only the beginning of something that’s more important–hospitality and community.” – Jessica, from Indiana Wesleyan University