I love working with Youth For Understanding exchange
students (www.yfu-usa.org). They are a great resource.
Please encourage your students to get involved in
international exchange by hosting an exchange student or
going abroad. I can help if you have any questions or need
more info. 720-221-3696, [email protected]
Exchange students and exchange returnees have much to
contribute to their host and home schools -and they would
like to contribute! The key to having most of the following
ideas work is for a teacher or administrator to be the
catalyst or facilitator.
1. Be a tutor or conversation partner for another student
or an assistant in a foreign
language class or a resource for students working on
2. Be a member of a panel of international students and
exchange returnees talking
about their cultures and experiences as part of an
International Day at the school.
3. Help initiate a pen pal and/or video exchange with the
home or school.
4. Organize an exhibit in the library focusing on "my
5. Publicly recognize exchange students that the school has
hosted over the years
through a flag display or on-going exhibit of one artifact
from each country in the
6. Be part of a library brown bag lunch series
on "Schooling Around the World."
7. Be part of a school, system, or region-wide day-long
forum for American and
exchange students on an international issue such as the
environment or hunger.
8. Be part of a school mock United Nations team sponsored
by the YMCA/YWCA or
9. Help organize an evening "Exchange Fair" to publicize
exchange opportunities to
students and their parents - and include international
10. Organize an international dinner and talent
show, "Global Market," or celebration
fiesta from another country for the community-perhaps
working with foreign language
classes and/or an International Club.
11. Participate in morning announcements by speaking in
another language or ask
questions on the "Country of the Week” - perhaps
emphasizing geography and
involving an appropriate prize.
12. Help make a video for the school in which people,
representing cultures of all kinds,
talk about prejudice and ways to overcome it.
13. Write one of a series of articles entitled "Bringing a
Global Perspective to High
School” in the school or local newspaper.
14. Help organize a "World Beat" dance with music from
around the world.
15. Demonstrate games, sports from home/host country in
physical education classes.
16. Help construct graphs in a math class showing
comparative information about
countries represented by exchange students, returnees and
immigrants, using the
"Population Data Sheet" published each year and available
Reference Bureau, www.prb.org.
17. Help organize an art exhibit with a common theme,
illustrated by people from different cultures.
18. Visit an elementary classroom, preferably at least
twice, so children get to know a
visiting exchange student or returnee. Teach counting or a
simple song in a foreign
language, share some food and be ready to answer questions.
19. Visit a middle school classroom and talk about a day in
the life of a 12-14 year-old in
the home or host country.
20. Be a constant resource in a social studies class, as
the following scenario suggests:
As he read the autobiographical statements students wrote
the first day of class, Mr.
Rowe, the teacher of American government, noted that
Celeste was just back from a
summer in Switzerland as an exchange student, Jacques was
an exchange student
who had just arrived from France to spend the year in the
U.S., and Amin had come
from Egypt to live with his university professor uncle and
go to high school. "How,"
wondered Mr. Rowe, "can these three students add to my
class?" He knew there
would be many opportunities for comparisons in general
class discussion, whether
the topic was the structure of national government or
economic policy. The
Presidential election unit could include a day for
comparative reports by the three
internationally experienced students on election processes
in their host or home
countries. When they studied the concept of leadership,
perhaps Amin could tell
about Nasser, Sadat and Mubarak and Jacques could talk
about DeGaulle and
Mitterand. "Why don't I know any Swiss leader?" he asked
himself. An idea for a
project occurred to Mr. Rowe which would enlarge the use of
persons and involve all students: During the mock Congress
in the second trimester,
an outside project could require students to interview
persons in the schools or community on their perspectives
on a current domestic
issue. The results could be written up as short papers. The
third trimester could focus
on local government, the judicial system, and international
relations. Perhaps Celeste
would be interested in doing research on Swiss cantons,
Jacques on the influence of
the Napoleonic Code in North America, and Amin on the
fundamentals of Islamic law.
Class might end with a mock U.S. Senate Foreign Relations
Committee hearing on
four futures for American Foreign Policy, using a unit from
The Choices Program, Watson Institute for International
111 Thayer Street, Rm 320
Box 1948, Brown University
Providence, RI 02912
(www.choices.edu) - and asking Celeste, Jacques and Amin to
Written by Angene Wilson, Professor, Department of
Curriculum and Instruction, University of Kentucky, and YFU
Volunteer and Trainer.
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