Mighty Bees Celebrate World Cultures with International Week 2021

Calvert students circled the globe last week during our twelfth International Week, a five-day celebration of diversity and world cultures. Beginning February 2, this year’s event highlighted Colombia, Vietnam, New Zealand, Kenya, and Switzerland.
Prior to International Week, Calvert families also submitted recipes for the first-ever Calvert’s Kitchen International Cookbook. Packed with 14 delicious dishes from around the world, the cookbook allows us to come together as a community in a time when gathering is not advised.
Click here to download the Calvert’s Kitchen International Cookbook – and keep reading for a glimpse inside International Week 2021!
On Tuesday, February 2, Calvert parent Cynthia Gutierrez spoke with Lower School students about her Colombian roots during a virtual classroom visit. Cynthia, mom to Beckett W. '28, explained that Colombia is the second-most biodiverse country on earth, meaning that it contains the second-highest number of plant and animal species – including the Andean condor and pink river dolphins.
In addition to amazing wildlife, Colombia is known for its picturesque mesas and favorite sport, fútbol, as well as its incredible ethnic diversity. Throughout the day, students learned more about the country by making traditional Colombian crafts and enjoying cultural foods.
For Vietnam Day on Wednesday, students in the Middle School explored the country with virtual tours and videos before learning about pho, a popular Vietnamese soup that was also served during lunch. In the Lower School, students learned about the country’s three major regions and their differences in culture and geography, as well as traditional Vietnamese art and music.
On Thursday, International Week continued with immersive lessons on New Zealand, its wildlife, and its first human inhabitants, the Maori people. Hundreds of years ago, the Maori people traveled to New Zealand via canoe from nearby Polynesian islands. Today, they continue many of the cultural traditions passed down by their ancestors, including tā moko (Maori tattoo) and the haka, a ceremonial dance.
In both divisions, students learned about these traditions through interactive games and informative presentations. At lunch, the boys and girls also enjoyed a popular New Zealand treat: Lamingtons (cakes soaked in raspberry jelly and covered in coconut).
On Kenya Day, Kate Hanna, godmother to Henry Y. ’25, spoke to Mrs. Silberstein’s Tenth Age class about her six years working in Kenya as a member of the Peace Corps. She explained that she lived in rural Meru village near the mountains, where villagers grew predominantly tea and coffee, but Kenya is also home to dozens of other tribes and ethnic groups, including nomadic people like the Maasai. While Swahili is the country’s most widely spoken language, many groups speak their own tribal languages.
In the Middle School, Switzerland Day kicked off with a presentation from Calvert Latin teacher Mr. Norton, who has visited the country three times. During his short talk, Mr. Norton explained that Switzerland has four official languages – French, German, Italian, and Romansh (a hybrid language descended from Latin) – and includes one of the best-known mountain ranges in the world: the Swiss Alps.
In the Lower School, students learned about traditional Swiss music, including instruments like the accordion and traditions like yodeling, as well as common exports and wildlife.
Thank you to our world languages team, kitchen crew, and virtual guest speakers for contributing to this year’s International Week!
Calvert School is a coed independent lower and middle school.