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Lissa McGovern, International Student Program Director

Students proudly show off their home country's flag to celebrate International Day at Berkshire prior to a ceremony at all-school meeting in Allen Theater on Monday, September 16.

As the director of the international student program, I have the honor to work with students who live internationally, to help with a variety of needs including support with their documentation and visa needs, to introduce students to life at Berkshire during orientation, and to support activities of students as they share their experiences with each other and with the larger community.

So, I want to point out two celebrations that go well beyond Berkshire School, but highlight global experience. First, this weekend marked the Moon Festival, or Mid-Autumn Festival, which is celebrated to offer gratitude for the harvest in China and many Asian cultures. Here on campus, the Wu/Davis family filled their home last night with students who enjoyed delicious food with a menu orchestrated by Dr. Wu.

Also of importance is the beginning of National Hispanic Heritage month, celebrated in the United States from September 15 to October 15. During National Hispanic Heritage Month we recognize the contributions made and the important presence of Hispanic and Latino Americans to the United States and celebrate their heritage and culture. Thanks to Señor Ibáñez for sharing information with us about Ellen Ochoa.

But for today’s meeting, we turn to flags of our community. In supporting students, I am responsible for the displaying of flags that represent the members of this community. As you know, flags of current students are displayed in Benson Commons in the main part of the dining room. These flags represent students’ home countries, heritage countries, and current family home. In the alcoves are the flags of current faculty and staff and former students.

Walking into the dining hall this weekend, I felt the power of flags to represent the breadth of diversity in our community and the depth of experience of students. Our international students bring cultures and experiences from around the globe that impact every part of our community from academic spaces, to dorm living, to our athletic fields and courts, and beyond. Berkshire, like all communities, is more vibrant because of the breadth of our community members’ experience and background. While we have many adults in our community who broaden the spectrum of our understanding and work, this morning we focus on students, and in particular, students from around the globe. As students come forward and present their flag, I encourage us all to consider the experience that others bring to each of us who work and live and play with the students who come on stage. In some cases all students from a country will bring their flag on stage and in other instances, a single representative will carry their flag. In any instance, students carry the pride in their country and in their heritage, and I am grateful to each that they are sharing their flag with us. 

So we honor the flags of Berkshire School:

Argentina
Bermuda
Brazil
Canada
Chile
China
Columbia
Costa Rica
Côte d'Ivoire (Ivory Coast)
Denmark
France
Germany
Ghana
Hong Kong
India
Italy
Jamaica
Japan
Korea (Republic of)
Malawi
Malaysia
Mali
Mexico
Netherlands
Nigeria
Poland
Russia
St. Vincent & The Grenadines
Saudi Arabia
Singapore
Somaliland
South Africa
Taiwan
Thailand
Turkey
Ukraine
United Kingdom
United States
Vietnam