A lot of times we can transcend this in the Newcomer Center, because they are brought together more than they are divided. They are brought together because they are connected by the fact that they are all new to this language and this culture, and so they tend to bond.
This year, however, there has been a bit of a different dynamic in the air. There have been more cliques down language lines and country lines and it's been a challenge.
Last week we saw a lovely breakthrough. The girls came back from gym class- connecting across languages- laughing- arm in arm. It turns out that they had Arabic music on during the class and were dancing to it. The Spanish and Somali speakers were dancing to Arabic music and this provided a small door to open.
Someone had to make the first move (pun intended, hee, hee :))
It's not perfect and there is still more understanding and connection to build but there is a nice difference. I'm seeing girls across cultures and languages working better together and I'm seeing them greet each other and say good-bye with hugs and kisses.
After gym class that morning, we were in class writing sentence about things they have done recently- practicing the past tense. One of the Spanish-speaking girls read her sentence aloud, "This morning I danced to Arabic music."
The Arabic-speaking girls smiled and laughed in delight.
Music to my ears.