On November 30, Great Salt Bay fourth graders visited Lincoln Academy, where they learned about the home countries of fourteen LA international students. While on campus, the fourth graders got a tour of Lincoln Academy, complete with a stop for warm homemade cookies in the Dining Commons.
The international “tour” took place in the common room of Kiah Bayley Hall, the dorm where about 54 of LA’s 85 residential students live. More than ten LA students participated, representing Vietnam, Germany, Czech Republic, Turkey, Rwanda, Burundi, Nigeria, Spain, Bolivia, and Belgium.
“Many of our international students come here with the hope that they will get to teach others about their country and culture and local elementary schools are the perfect venue for them, said dorm parent Missy Abbott, who has been living with her family in Lincoln’s Hall House dorm for five years. “The elementary school, conversely, has a chance to teach their young students about other places in the world from people who have lived there, which is so much more appealing than learning from a book.”
The goal of the field trip, according to Abbott, was “to bridge many cultures and help our international and local community get to know each other.”
Abbott and GSB Guidance Counselor Jill Davis organized the event, which included all three sections of fourth grade at GSB. Davis reported, “the [GSB] students all came back to school saying ‘that was the best field trip ever!’ They loved hearing stories from all the students, and of course the cookies were a huge hit.”
Participating students from Lincoln Academy each presented a snippet of interesting information, trivia, and even food from their country of origin to the fourth graders. The presentations were multifaceted, including music, video, maps, and interesting objects that were passed among the students. One presented a video of llamas spitting, another introduced a Korean playground game where players balance on one leg, another shared rose-flavored Turkish delight, and another passed around Czech money for younger students to handle.
Abbott said, “In my experience teens and younger students look at each other in the same way: both excited to learn and absorb from the other. In many ways, young children seem much more approachable than the peers our international students meet at high school. There is no worry of what’s cool or that they might embarrass themselves, they just see a simple desire to learn and have fun.”
Deha Ay, a Lincoln Academy junior from Turkey explained why he chose to participate in the program for younger students: “I wanted to introduce them to Turkey from my perspective, as what is in the media is not always representative of the way life is in my country. Also, in order to improve my presentation skills and talking. Plus, I love talking about something that I know.”
More field trips are planned for the future. Educators interested in bringing students to the Lincoln Academy campus to meet students from around the world should contact Missy Abbott: firstname.lastname@example.org.