By Jenny Macler ’23 & Bridie Strowe-Bolger ’24
The Frederick Gunn School is a cultural mixing pot representing students and faculty from all over the world, yet until recently, our school was missing a seemingly essential space for our international students. Fortunately, Gunn Global was introduced this year as an affinity group where students can learn about the cultures present at our school and work to bridge the gap between domestic and international students.
During meetings, international students have connected with one another, sharing similar experiences and finding comradery in their differences. In addition to strengthening student relations, Gunn Global is also working to inform the greater student body of the many cultures that make up our school. For example, five fast facts have been reintroduced as an advisory lunch tradition, where one member from the club presents five facts about their country. So far, students from Ukraine, China, Spain, and Germany have spoken about their home countries.
FGS students represent 23 countries worldwide, and international students make up 20% of FGS enrollment. Anna Damosy, one of the club leaders, expressed how the club aims to create a community within a community, saying “We really hope to create a long-lasting connection between our participants, that lasts even outside the walls of our meetings.” International students are a long way from home, and Gunn Global truly wants to make FGS a home away from home. Although all the members bring something different to the club (Gunn Global speaks over ten languages collectively), students have appreciated being able to share in their differences and be a part of a community.
Gunn Global is planning many future projects, especially during the winter term. Between the months of December and February, cultures and religions from all over the world celebrate many important festivities, including Hanukkah, Christmas, Chinese New Year, and Kwanzaa. Gunn Global hopes to bring a little bit of each festivity to life by holding a holiday fair in the Hall of Flags. International students will have the chance to share a piece of their home with the rest of the school, while domestic students will have the chance to learn about cultures that might be unfamiliar to them. Other plans include introducing an international news segment and other fun activities during school meetings.
There will be lots of opportunities for international students to share more about their home culture this year. Still when it comes down to it, Gunn Global is really about creating a stronger community for international students. As Anna Damosy said, “I think our main idea is to enjoy the presence of each other, create a supportive community for international students, and to have fun. Of course, this all happens while learning about other cultures, traditions, and nations, and trying to involve our peers as well.”