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Celebrating our Global Community
Worldfest highlights what it means to be an international school
The FIS community creates a unique cultural collage worthy of celebration at events like Worldfest (opposite page)
In 2022, my family joined the FIS community three months before that year's Worldfest. Although intrigued by the well-marketed event,
I was entrenched in my overwhelmed “Why did we uproot our lives and move to a new country?” mindset. But as my family watched the Worldfest’s opening flag parade on a hot sunny Sunday at the Oberursel campus, I was struck: This is why we’re here. The intervening year has only strengthened my feeling that FIS is a special community to which my family is privileged to belong.
While Worldfest is a decades-old tradition at FIS, an exciting change in this year’s celebration was the Upper School’s decision to marry its annual International Meal, usually held in November, to an entire week of international events culminating in the Sunday Worldfest. An international film festival allowed students to choose a culturally diverse film in lieu of typical class attendance; the program offered 14 choices during class periods or after school in English, French, German, Iranian, Irish Gaelic, Japanese, Korean or Spanish. The week also included an international football tournament and several options to participate in indigenous sports and language or cultural activities. Finally, Middle School Principal Jaia Masterson shared that the International Meal “is a shared lunch that is organized by homeroom/ Advisors who have the students sign-up for what cultural food and/or drink they would like to bring to share.”
That spirit was on display in many ways. A collaborativeartprojectfromthePrimarySchool was a bunting created by family submissions, and Elementary School students submitted artwork depicting what Worldfest meant to them. One of my children contributed to the flag parade, as well; observing last year’s parade, he announced his wish to be in this year’s. He held the sign for the USA, while others from our group walked behind him wearing patriotic colors and carrying flags of varying sizes. Hearing cheers and seeing waves from community members lining the parade route was one of the highlights of my day.
I would be remiss in discussing Worldfest if I didn’t emphasize the variety of amazing food and drink that were available at the more than 20 different cultural booths. Another highlight for me was watching my children try - and enjoy - new things. Last year, my older child tried dumplings for the first time, and now he enjoys them at other food festivals. This year, both of my children tried the Green Tea Madeleines available at the Japan booth and hollered "YUM!" There was entertainment, too; various FIS community members offered live entertainment for attendees to enjoy while sampling from the different booths.
Another Worldfest highlight was the array of bounce houses, games and other activities for children on the upper sports field. For weeks prior to the event, children entering the Primary School flocked to the Worldfest posters hung at their eye level to “ooh and ahh” over photos of the games and inflatables promised at the event. While near and on the field, I helped four children I knew reconnect with their families when they wanted help. I was honored not only for the opportunity to help, but to be part of their community.
As I was gathering information for this article, a statement included in one of the planning documents from International Week stood out:
“Every individual in our community should feel valued, celebrated and seen.” FIS community members care about the world beyond the Oberursel and Wiesbaden campuses in action and spirit, and there are few events that capture it so vibrantly as Worldfest.
Susan Robbins FIS Parent
Every individual in our community should feel valued, celebrated and seen.
Sharing leads to growth of spirit and community, and Worldfest was the final event of International Week 2023. A post from the school’s official Facebook page shared impressive statistics from the event: "26 different booths with delicious homemade foods and drinks. Over 140 volunteers presented 70 different flags along the boulevard for the parade. On two stages we saw 35 fantastic performances and kids had fun with eight large inflatables, plus games on the playing field." My family had the privilege of bringing my brother and sister-in-law visiting from the USA to the event. As Worldfest is open to the public, they and many others outside our school community had the opportunity to share in the FIS spirit.
  16 FIS World June 2023

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