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My work mostly involves research aimed and producing a report about the value of international education and multilingualism. However, once in a while I get to draw upon skills that I would not think would be applicable at my job. One of my co-workers teaches French once a week in a local primary school in the area. She was talking to me about possibly being able to come and try to teach 4-6-year old students how to dance a couple moves. Early on in work I was telling my co-workers about myself and I told them I was on an Indian dance team. I did not think I would have to be dancing, and I definitely did not think I would be teaching people how to dance. I was very excited to go and surprisingly I was able to learn things from the students that I put in my final report.

When I arrived I made some observations about the students. They were all white students and the majority had never seen a person of color in their entire lives. One of the first things we did as a group was a quick question and answer period. Before I even said a word one of the teachers asked all the students if they could guess where I was from. The answers we very shocking for me as a student who was raised in a very diverse community and attends a college that also has many different faces. Answers started by the children naming in cities in England. “London”, “Newcastle”. The type of answers changed when the teacher said I wasn’t from the UK. They said every country except India (which is where I am ethnically from), but they did say America. When I told the students, I came from America they were all fascinated. I was taken back by the fact that no one said India, and one of the teachers told me that the students thought that everyone of darker skin was from Africa.

I felt like it was especially important for me to give my best effort and try to culturally enrich these students in American culture and Indian cultural dance. After asking me questions like: “What kind of animals do you guys have?” and “How did you get here?”, we started dancing. The students had so much fun dancing and being energetic. I had a great experience being able to spread my culture with other people, especially, with people who were so young and never seen anything like this in their lives.

Picture of me and children of Ramshaw Primary