These days, there is a week or holiday to celebrate almost anything.
This week (Nov.16-20) recognizes something very important: International Education Week. While promoting international education and student exchange worldwide, International Education Week also brings to mind the thousands of U.S. students who study abroad. Often these students are children of military personnel, missionaries, diplomats or government officials, or other overseas families.
U.S. students, especially K-12 students, are often considered a small percentage of students who tend to study abroad. At AOA, these overseas learners offer a new perspective to domestic students and bring culture and diversity of their host country to classes, peers, and teachers. This enriches the learning experience for all of us in the online academy.
Even if you are stateside, you can still celebrate international learning. Here are three ideas how:
- Befriend an International Student or Class – The best way to learn about another culture is from someone who lives there. Get a global perspective by making friends with another student or class overseas. Trade letters, lessons, ideas, videos, and news. Grow understanding by explaining differences between countries.
- Study an International Country – Pick another country to study as an individual students, class, or school. Research all aspects like history, geography, population, cultures, language, food, art, government, and major society variances. Collect pictures, videos, and references. Do a presentation and share with fellow students and teachers.
- Do a Cross-Cultural Class Project – Discover the differences between the U.S. and another country by examining society situations. Examine country-specific idiosyncrasies, stereotypes, standard practices, and expressions. Then look at what the parallel examples would be in the second country. Discuss the importance of language translation and verbal and nonverbal communication in society.
Go beyond U.S. shores this week and celebrate the beautiful diversity of the world by looking at international countries and people. The world is filled with global learning opportunities. The better we understand each other, the better our planet will be. Also, if you have a chance, say hi to U.S. students studying abroad, too! They'd probably love a shout-out from their homeland.