June 06, 2012

Graduation differences

Two days ago I went to the school's graduation for the 12th grade boys and the 6th grade girls. (At grade 5, they split by gender, and girls classes only go up to 6, at which point they transfer to another school. This is due to the space available at the school and when they move to a bigger building, insha'allah, there will be girl classes up to 12 too.) The kids wore robes over nice clothes, just like they do at American graduations. But the girls' robes were failing to cover elaborate party dresses of poof.

There was also a performance part of the ceremony, which America doesn't usually have. A group of girls performed a traditional Emirati dance, which consists of a lot of hair shaking. It was odd to see the girls, some of whom wear scarves during the normal day, with their hair down and straightened and tossed around enough to make Willow Smith very proud. (Although none of them have a clue who Willow Smith is, sadly.) If you want to see an example, go to youtube. Then a group of boys performed a traditional Emirati dance, which includes color guard-esque gun tosses and tapping of camel sticks. You can watch that on youtube too.

The students were all back at school the next day and they have finals in two weeks or so. That was another difference from American graduation, to continue school after the ceremony. Not that the days are very learning-intensive anymore. But I still couldn't have imagined it that way before seeing it with my own eyes.

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