Monday, July 16, 2007

Bienvenidos a los Estados Unidos

In the spirit of wanting to make new friends and help people out from another country, I signed up to be a "Teacher Buddy". The role of the Teacher Buddy is to provide some social opportunities for a teacher from Mexico and/or Ecuador who are in Fayetteville for a intensive summer language and teacher training course.

I went last week to the welcome banquet and met my three buddies. All three are women in their late twenties/early thirties from eastern Mexico, and I think they are going to be a lot of fun to hang out with. We talked and talked until it was time to go home. They are supposed to speak English the whole time, but they promised to teach me a little Spanish to prepare me for my Spain trip.

I'm happy for the opportunity to meet people from other countries and share across cultures. Sometimes Americans get caught up in the idea that we have the best of everything--including culture--that we forget that other cultures have something wonderful to offer as well. It's often my opinion that many of the clashes between Christian and Muslim, for example, stem from an unwillingness to learn and share, and perhaps a fear of discovering that we're not so different after all.

1 comment:

Justin Ray said...

The closes thing I've ever done to this is be a language learning partner. It didn't go so well. My partner was Korean, and I think we would have had a great time if we had been better equipped to understand each other. His English and my listening skills were unpolished enough that our conversations always degenerated into silence with a few attempts to communicate followed by laughter. When the language lab people showed him my sign-up card, where I had requested a Japanese language partner, I think his feelings were hurt. We never met again...