Culture is part of our everyday lives at Marlborough. From food, to holidays, to language, we experience different cultures all the time. We wanted to find out how students and teachers, who have lived abroad, integrated foreign culture into their everyday lives. We asked people about the different foods they ate abroad, the holidays they celebrated and how they learned the language of where they lived. The first person we interviewed was Ms. Fish. She teaches seventh and eighth grade English classes here at Marlborough. Ms. Fish taught abroad at an international school in Tokyo. Next, we interviewed Tess Inderbitzen ’21, a seventh grader at Marlborough. Tess lived abroad in India for seven years. For two of those years she went to a local school in India, and for three years she went to an international school. Lastly, we interviewed Sofia Simon-Trench ‘21, another seventh grader at Marlborough. Sofia lived in Shanghai, China for two years and also went to an international school.
Tess talked a lot about the food she had in India, saying,
“I actually had a lot of Indian food. We would have stuff like rice and dahl, and samosas…” Tess said.
Tess is also a vegetarian, which changed her experience with food in India. When talking about vegetarian food in India, she said,
“…a lot of Indian meals are vegetarian and a lot of Indians are vegetarian, so it’s really vegetarian friendly.” Tess said she didn’t learn any Hindu when in India. The most memorable holiday for Tess, while living in India was Holi, the Festival of Colors. People would line the streets and throw colorful dust at one another. She also mentioned that they would celebrate American holidays in India, including Christmas, Valentine’s Day, and Halloween.
In Tokyo, Ms. Fish said that for lunch she would usually buy food from small shops across the street from the school that she taught at, but ate American food at home and never learned how to cook Japanese food. Fish said she had a hard time learning Japanese because she “was paid to teach English” at her school abroad. She taught at an international school, so she said when Japanese kids had the day off for a holiday, her international school wouldn’t take the day off, instead they took days off for the American holidays. One holiday they celebrated at her school was Japan Day. They would dress up in clothes native to Japan, do Japanese dances, and make Japanese crafts to celebrate Japan.
Sofia said when she was in China, the most commonly served food was “American food.” She talked about how food in China could be dangerous to eat. Some farmers pumped their foods with pesticides, and the hygiene of street food was not great. Sofia takes Chinese 1B here at Marlborough, and said she started learning Chinese while she lived in Shanghai. Sofia said that in China there were many different festivals and holidays. One festival Sofia mentioned was Chinese New Year. This is the most popular holiday in China. It celebrates the arousing of new things, and is also known as the Spring Festival.
Living abroad has an impact on so many different parts of your life. From living in India Tess now regularly eats Indian food and loves it. After living in Shanghai for two years, Sofia celebrates Chinese traditions like Chinese New Year. Because Ms. Fish taught in at an international school in Tokyo, she now sometimes buys food from Japanese markets. Overall, even if you only live abroad for a few years, like Sofia, there are so many new things you can learn which change your life forever.