Diversity Day Newsletter

Written by Jill Witkamp. Posted in Newsletters

Diversity Day 2018

How do we start to share with you all the intense emotions and fun we shared on our Diversity Day?

Diversity Day is a chance for the whole College to come together and take part in a range of activities to try new skills, pull us out of our comfort zone and work together.

Our students gave us lots of feedback on the day and here is what they said:

“Diversity Day is a Palma College tradition, this type of day is organised once every other year and it brings our community closer. We have different activities in which our teachers also take part and the point is for everyone to have fun. It’s something very different from the usual day in college.”

This year’s Diversity Day was kept a secret from our students. They were asked to come to College in comfortable clothes and with an open mind and a sense of humour.  On arrival they were put into teams to mix groups and ages.

“I really enjoyed it because we related with the U6 and got to know them more”

Then we took everyone’s mobile phone away.

“It was a great day having fun and also it was amazing being able to have a day without phones just talking and getting to know more about the other students.”

In addition we did not have the mobile phones something that compelled us to socialize with each other and that I really enjoyed, as many times when you are with the phone you are not even bothered to look at the person in front of you and talk because apparently there is something more interesting going on in your screen.”

Our Diversity Day starts with a key note speaker. This year we were very privileged to have our own student Zahraa start the day with her story of how she escaped from Iraq during the war, her harrowing journey to Greece, what life is really like in a refugee camp and how she arrived in Mallorca.

“In a few words it was amazing. I do love and admire that she could stand up and talk about one of her most horrible experiences in life with a smile and just taking the positive things out of it. She was able to transmit her humanity to all of us and the fact that we get the experience of being a refugee from an actual person that we know who has gone through it, is much truer and more impactful than many things they tell on the news. Because experiencing something is not the same thing as hearing about it from the other side of a screen. And hearing this terrible yet life changing experience from Zahraa makes each one of us reconsider our life and the value of it, and being thankful with what we have and don’t ask for more, because if we do not learn how to be thankful, we will neither learn how to appreciate what we have. So yeah I thank Zahraa a lot for sharing this emotional speech with all of us.”

 

“Zahraa’s speech was incredible. It was very emotional and inspiring. I found it very brave of her to tell her story to all of us and makes me happy to call her a friend and a school mate. I think she has a strong voice, she is in general one of the kindest and strongest.”

 

“I felt so free !!!!!!”

After a huge round of applause, wiping away of tears and few moments for reflection our fun filled activity day was about to commence.

Students were split up into their teams and started the different workshops organised for them.

Krista from Cancer Support Mallorca and Proyecto Micky- Almohada corazon gave students and teachers an informative chat and then students got involved in creating cards and messages to accompany the hearts for Proyecto Micky.

Here is what students and teachers said:

“it was interesting and nice to be able to help create cards for the patients. Because I as student we need to support that situation” 

“It was a great way to get our not so arty students to be creative and involved in local charities”

 

“It is always good to help others are going throughout that situations. The leaders are so kind, and they explain why they do this in a very motivated way.”</i

 

While one group was busy doing this another two were involved in more active workshops in our other building on Estudi General.

Paula Baumgartner from Disfrute movimiento came in to share her creative movement workshop with us.  Howls of laughter could be heard from the street as students used their imagination and got involved in all kinds of movement expressing thought, releasing stress and team building.

“I had fun and It was good to reduce stress was very nice and encouraging and it was extremely fun.” “Liked trying something new.”

“It was a way to express myself just with moving around. As a group we had a lot of fun and you were able to let go of your embarrassment.”

“Paula’s activity was very inspiring because you were able to let go of your fears, your embarrassment, do what you want to do and be who you want to be. Express yourself in whatever way. We had a lot of fun we laughed a lot and there was a great group connection.”

 

In the classroom next door Janis from  Crossfit Mallorca put our students and teachers through their paces with a workout.

“I enjoy sports and working out, something that’s only made better by doing it in the company of friends”

“Because I felt that it helped to reinforce my muscles and know the spots on my body where I need to focus on the most, e.g. abs”.

“Super entertaining and energetic, happy to know new techniques for training.”

Following on from Zahraa’s opening speech, Refugees Welcome Illes Balears spoke about the new charity they are setting up in Mallorca where refugees can find ways to become more integrated in society and where residents who can open up their home and help the refugees integrate. Students participated in role plays to discover all sides of a refugee’s journey.

“I really enjoyed this exercise because you were able to get in the skin of a refugee or a house holder and really feel how complicated it might be.”

“It was an eye-opening lesson that made me more aware of the issues that immigrants have to face when moving to a new country.”

The next hour we all swapped rooms. Students were visited by Klaus Hillebrecht from The Artist Mallorca  Klaus is a director, composer and writer and was also nominated for an Emmy for his compositions for National Geographic. Klaus offered a workshop in voice coaching and voice awareness.

“He was a nice guy and very widely knowledgeable in his work “

Joachim from Perrocador came in with his dog and everyone fell in love.

” It was interesting and the puppy was sooo cute I loved it “

“He talked about the history of dogs, the importance of adopting, also how to educate your dog.”

“It was interesting to learn how should we treat our pet, especially dogs”

“Was fun, involved dogs which is always a bonus”

“I felt it was interesting to listen to Joaquim about his experience and knowledge about dogs and how to treat them but also about how they are treated nowadays. In addition, as I heard that they need more Volunteers I will be glad to help with dogs that need a home.”

Another group were very active and learnt an Afrobeats dance choreograph with Anny Rodriguez from African dance Reovlution Mallorca Even our staff and teachers who say they have no rhythm got involved and had lots of fun.

“It was difficult, but she was great and full of energy. We all participated and laughed and moved a lot.”

“Fun to do something completely different in College”

“She was very nice and encouraging. The class was fun and I liked learning something new”

So much fun, it brought the group together as everyone were quite uncomfortable in the beginning but eventually just started laughing.”

“it was very fun and had a great time”

THEN IT WAS LUNCHTIME

As we are all huge fans of Es Badulake we asked them to provide a picnic for us.

When asked what their favourite part of Diversity was one student replied “Lunch time, delicious baguettes and cookies”

The cookies were a huge hit with everyone, especially Ali.

After lunch and with the sun shining, two of the groups were sent on a masterminded Geo scavenger hunt around our beautiful city. It was a race against the clock as both teams were given clues dotted around the city to find the hidden treasure. Both teams were hugely competitive and maybe a little cheating went on.

“I liked it because as a group we had to look to find everything very quickly, but it was very hot and we had to run a lot.”

“The idea of the hunt was good since it improves our teamwork abilities and also makes us more familiar with Palma”

 “Good exercise, now I’m good for like a month, weather was very nice too, a very enjoyable afternoon”

Another group was more reflective and creative with the visit from Jacky from Age Concern Mallorca. Jacky talked about the services Age Concern provides. Our students made doggy bags to be sold at the Christmas markets to raise funds for the charity.

“It felt ok to do it because I know I was helping with the age concern campaign”

“it was nice doing something to spread awareness, Jackie told us new things that we didn’t know before and it is comforting knowing that there are organisations like this one. Hopefully we helped raise funds.”

“it made me feel useful”

 

 

Hazel from VIP service shared her expertise on how to iron a shirt perfectly and how to sew on buttons. For many of the group it was the first time they had used an iron, but even the more experienced teachers learnt a few new tricks.

 

Lots of students who didn’t participate have asked that Hazel comes back so they can learn too!

 

For the last activity we all came together to play football – Blind football. Teams were made up of one blindfolded member who received instructions from their partner on where to find the ball and how to kick it to score a goal. There was definitely a lot cheating going on and some showing off of football skills. We all had a great time playing, cheering on our team and feeling happy to be with such great friends and colleagues in such beautiful surroundings.

 

While all this was going on Kim our fantastic photographer was racing around taking photos and sending them to our film editor extraordinaire Greg who put together a wonderful video of all the days event.

We rounded up the day the same way as we started it, all together, thanking Michaela for arranging and co-ordinating the whole day.  Then we watched the video of the day amidst laughter and a fantastic sense of being part of a wonderful community.

Some final comments from our students:

“I think that Diversity Day in general is a day that is important to have in an educational community as it does not just connect the students together but also the teachers as they form part of the activities, the students are doing. I think is lovely how the fact of experiencing so many activities as a college in one day creates an emotional closure with everyone. In my opinion this is something that could be done more often as it is important that the students are together as a big family and feel the support of each and other.”

“Diversity Day is an exciting day filled with lots of new experiences and challenges. As well as inspiring the students, it also brought them closer as a community.”

“Diversity ay was a really fun day, where we all had so much fun and did things we had not done before. It was also a great chance to get to know people better that you don’t normally talk too, which I really appreciate as a new student this year!”

“Diversity Day allowed us all to share our personal opinions and experiences by carrying out activities together. As we tried new things together, we got to see each other’s reactions and therefore get to know each other much more”.

“Diversity Day was the best day we’ve all became as a family, reunited. all became familiar with each other’s stories and inspirational speeches. The activities were really fun and advanced from them in the same time, we had to think with ourselves, think in knowledge, think about others, and all of this was in a fun way, but we learned something from each activity. The organizing, the photos, the food, the vibes, everything was perfect. We needed this day. Thank you so much Palma College for offering such a nice opportunity to share our nice moments with each other. This is going to stay in my best memories I had in my life. I love you all”

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

palmacollege.com

Mrs A Lawrence, Head
al@palmacollege.com

Mrs J Witkamp, Business Manager
jw@palmacollege.com