Twenty students from Harper College's Intensive English Program recently took some local children on a trip around the world without ever leaving the elementary school cafeteria.
Harper students representing a host of countries -- including Thailand, Poland, Ecuador, Ukraine, Mexico, Argentina, China, Iran, Kyrgyzstan and Korea -- gathered at Patton Elementary School in Arlington Heights to teach the kids about their home nations. In addition to sharing their language and practicing English, the Harper students created displays illustrating aspects of their culture, from native music and architecture to martial arts. Students representing Korea demonstrated how to make and play a special paper game called Ddakji -- a big hit with the children.
Students in Harper's Intensive English Program study five days a week to improve their English skills before entering other college courses, often with the goal of receiving a degree.
"It gave the students a good opportunity to get outside the classroom and teach young people about their cultures while practicing their speaking," said Kelly Coronado, ESL and Linguistics Instructor at Harper. "The children seemed to really enjoy it, and I hope the opportunity piqued their interest in other countries."
Some of the Harper participants came from the College's robust International Studies program, which attracts close to 90 students seeking degrees from around the world every year. Harper also offers students the chance to study internationally for college credit. This summer, students will travel to London, Greece, Turkey and Ecuador as part of the Study Abroad program.