Montrosians Build Bridges Across Cultures

Montrosians Build Bridges Across Cultures

Jenna McCarthy '19, Contributing Writer

International Week was last week and celebrated the different ethnicities around the world. Spanish students celebrated with traditional Spanish food, chips and salsa. The French students brought in crepes and croissants for lunch on Tuesday to provide some insight on French culture. Some students decided to write an essay about this year’s theme “Building Bridges Across Cultures” to share their experiences with cultures uniting. Jenna McCarthy ‘19 and Abby McAvoy ‘19 won the poster competition sharing their stories where cultures gathered together. The week concluded with International night where food from different cultures was eaten in the A&A.

This years winners included Jane D’Abate ‘19, Kiran Kottapalli ‘18, Yvonne Niebuhr ‘18, and Katie Randall ‘19. Honorable mentions were awarded to Julia Convery ‘19, Gabby Landry ‘18, Olivia Goughan ‘18, Campbell Dumot ‘20, Quenvi Li ‘18, Maddie Marcucci ‘19, and Emily Nelson ‘19. Congratulations to all these girls! Now let’s hear a little more about their writing process!

Kiran Kottapalli ‘18 states why she enjoyed writing an article for International Week about her experience with building bridges across cultures, “My essay outlines the significance of ethnic unity in my life. I was able to share a bit about me that I don’t usually get a chance to show.”

Katie Randall ‘19 explains her inspiration for writing her winning essay, “ I was inspired to write my essay by seeing my friend’s family and interacting with them.  Seeing how much culture has affected my friend’s life inspired me because I saw how much her culture means to her and the fact that it really makes her who she is.  

Check out both Kiran’s and Katie’s essays below:

Kiran: As a young woman of two incredibly different cultural backgrounds, I can attest to the significance of ethnic unity. Building a bridge across cultures has laid the foundation for my life. The construction was certainly a process, one that required great faith, perseverance, prudence, and fortitude. Both of my parents immigrated from India in 1999 and made a life for themselves, and eventually me, here in America. Despite the fact that I, myself, have never lived in India, my visits there have opened my eyes to the drastically different setting. The customs and practices that once surprised me I now live by. Exploring my heritage led me to unlock doors I never knew existed, and behind them, I found answers to questions I never tried to ask. In more ways than one, I was able to find some of my identity, an identity I continue to uncover. I realized at an early age that I could never fully be Indian just as I could never completely be American. I also realized that I did not have to compromise my beliefs to fit in. I embraced both cultures and formed my very own lifestyle. One that proves that the beauty of diversity is that, though it differentiates us, ultimately, it unites us.

Katie: I believe that culture is something that should be learned about and shared.  My family is mostly Russian and German, but we do not have many traditions in which we regularly participate.  However, one of my best friends is Lebanese and is very in touch with her culture.  Through her I am able to learn about the Lebanese culture, which I think is so beautiful.  I genuinely love how family-oriented she is, and I definitely think that her culture plays a major part in that aspect of her character.  As someone who does not have a large family, I think it is astounding how large but connected her family is.  Spending time with her makes me want to spend time with my family, because I see how positively her family affects her life.  Being exposed to a strong culture has helped me see how blessed I am to have my family and made me want to explore my heritage.  I would love to see where I have family around the world and learn more about my background.  I frequently talk with my grandfather about his parents, who immigrated from Russia.  I think it is unfortunate that my family did not stay connected to the Russian side of our heritage, because it would be incredible to have those roots.  For this reason, I think it is crucial to build bridges between cultures in order to expose others to that side of themselves and inspire them to learn more about their heritages.