International Education Week

How important is it for young people to learn about other cultures?  Essential!

At Explorations, cross-cultural experience is an essential part of a 21st Century education. Thus, when we learned that International Education Week, sponsored by the US State Department, was being held in November, we decided to celebrate it.   This was a bit of a challenge, because we had already planned a three-day field outing that week leaving the USA  — to Vancouver BC — before learning it was International Education Week!

However, being creative people, we managed to pull together an Indonesia Day just prior to our departure for Canada.  Teacher Suzy Wittman worked closely with Adel, one of two foreign exchange students at Explorations Academy this year, to plan a series of activities exposing students to Indonesian culture.  These included a brief presentation about Indonesia, a hands-on art project making shadow puppet figures, and a cooking project in our school kitchen preparing Gado-Gado and several other Indonesian dishes.

To make the day more festive — and to increase the exposure of American youth to Indonesian culture — we invited 20 students from Cascade Montessori Middle School to join us for the event.  It made for quite a lively crowd!  But everyone stayed focused, and we were pleased to see some wildly creative shadow puppets emerge.  And the cooking group produced an Indonesian feast that will not soon be forgotten by anyone lucky enough to savor the flavors!

We hope to continue creating cultural events like this at Explorations Academy.  Developing the understanding and sensitivity to work well with those of different backgrounds is a key to becoming able to make positive change in the world.  Along with our international travel program and hosting international students to study at Explorations, events like this one contribute to the goals of understanding and sensitivity.  And then there is the fun factor…

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