Showing off their cultures

Never mind around the world in 80 days. At St Donats Arts Centre tonight you can get around it in 80 minutes as the students from the multi-cultural Atlantic College put on their annual show. And it promises to be a whistle-stop tour around world culture in a show packed full of all the vibrancy and colour that makes the college such a special place.

The International Show is an annual performance that reflects the culture of the different countries of the teenage students who attend the college.

The college is a fascinating place, hidden away almost in the quiet Vale of Glamorgan countryside, thousands of miles in both time and place from many of those countries represented by its pupils.

But once a year the students like to come out into the light for this show that raises money for charity.

This year’s performances include a Zulu Dance, Latino Tango, Norwegian Song, Japanese dance, Yemeni dance, Palestinian dance, Scottish jigs and, of course, Welsh songs.

The lists seems to go on and on.

It is a show organised, devised and run purely by the students at the college, which was founded in the 1960s in the hope of fostering better understanding between cultures.

One of the organisers, Zoe Miller-Vedam, from Connecticut, America, is in her second year at the college.

“I found out about the college by coincidence. I worked in a bookshop with someone who came here in the 1970s and she suggested it would be a good place to go to,” explains the bubbly 18-year-old.

“And she was right. It is wonderful here. The place is really beautiful and everyone has been very welcoming. It is like having a second family. It is a very intensive experience because we are living and studying together but it is also a great experience.”

Jenni Muttonen, from Finland, is another of the organisers.

“Every week in school, students put on a display to show the different cultures of the country where they are from,” she explains. “This show has picked the best bit of all those displays and put them altogether. It is basically the best acts of each national group.

“As tradition dictates, it closes with a flag ceremony of all of the countries represented at Atlantic College. This year the stage will be near bursting point with more than 70 flags being waved proudly by the students. It is a lot of work but you learn so much from living with people and we want to pass that on.”

Vice-principal Nick Lush is very proud of his students and cannot wait to see all their hard work.

“It is the biggest event of the year for us,” he says.

“It is a time when students get to tell everyone about their own communities. It is something the students run themselves and there is no input from the staff, so it is great to just be able to go along and enjoy it. And every year it is a great event that always raises a lot of money for charity. Last year it was £900 for Save the Children and we are raising for the charity again this year.”

– United World College Student Magazine –


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