Article by: Melissa Dy
ISM’s student body is a diverse and dynamic one, with most students coming from different parts of the world. Many of them are “Third Culture Kids” (TCK) who have been raised in a culture that is not their parents’. As a result, this brings up some issues on connecting a TCK’s identity to certain countries and cultures.
This is where culture clubs enter to try and break this barrier of confusion.
Cultural clubs at ISM offer a chance for students to get to know a certain culture and form bonds with other people who share similar interests in different cultures.
For Sunny Yang, a council member of the Korean Culture Club (KCC), being a part of KCC gives her a chance to spread Korean culture. It is also a measurement of her devotion to learn more about and truly immerse herself in her culture. She says that being a part of KCC gives her an opportunity to experience her culture secondhand, so that even though she is not in Korea, she can still experience Korean culture and practice Korean traditions. Not only can she find a link to her home country, but also she can connect with people from other grade levels who share her same interest in and love for Korean culture.
Aside from the numerous cultural clubs at ISM, there are also Honor Societies that celebrate and promote the study of specific cultures. Such societies include the French Honor Society (FHS) and the Spanish Honor Society (SHS). Chantal Marauta, the Vice-President of FHS, says: “People who have a true passion for the French language look to join the French Honor Society”. Members of FHS include students from different grade levels, so not only does the club have a variety of nationalities, but also a wide range of ages. This diversity gives the school community an international dynamic, even though the FHS primarily celebrates and spreads French culture. For Chantal, FHS is unique because “we manage to combine our studious efforts with a fun-loving working environment.” She further states that: “[FHS members] are brought together by our love of French language and culture, and we stick together like glue because of our mutual respect for one another. Not only are we French, but also we are family.”
Although cultural clubs may appear to simply help students recognize similarities with other people and cultures, they are important in that they create a symbiotic relationship between recognizing these similarities and celebrating uniqueness. While it is the similarities that foster a sense of community, it is in the uniqueness in which a sense of identity lies.
Club Expo is coming up on August 27th, so if you are looking to learn about a new culture, or enrich your experience with your own culture, it is worth considering joining one of the many cultural clubs that ISM has to offer.