Saint Viator students participate in virtual global exchange
On Nov. 27, students from Saint Viator High School joined peers from around the world to learn about one another's cultures. Each student was able to hear from other students, and through their experiences, become a more informed global citizen.
They were all able to hear about daily life and learn more about each other as individuals.
Twenty-five countries were represented in this Global Cultural Peer Exchange, including Argentina, Belarus, China, Colombia, Costa Rica, Egypt, Italy, Japan, Lebanon, Mauritius, Mongolia, Morocco, Nepal, Nigeria, Palestine, Peru, Philippines, Poland, South Korea, Sri Lanka, Taiwan, Tunisia, Turkey, Turkmenistan and the United States.
The concept was launched by Austin Bellino, international program director at Saint Viator. Through this role, Bellino was able to connect with the U.S. embassies around the world to find students interested in learning about different cultures.
The students created the content for the event, which was then shared with the other participants in the Zoom meeting with 300 others from around the globe. Activities included students adding facts and pictures for each country, submitting music selections, sharing recipes for popular meals, and contributing videos explaining why they thought an event like this could be beneficial.
At the start of the meeting, students were welcomed with music from specific countries and then participants were introduced by saying why they wanted to join this event and what they hoped to learn by the end of it.
After this introduction, students were broken up into small groups of 10 to 12. Here, they discussed current events, cultural questions, scenarios, and asked questions about specific topics, such as how to learn about the world if you are unable to travel and what actions are generally considered to be disrespectful in a country.
Students also learned about popular food, holidays and traditions, life experiences, hobbies, family, expectations, school life, daily habits, and other details.
Saint Viator High School has an international program group and an InterCultural Club for students. From these organizations, Saint Viator students from the United States, China, South Korea, Taiwan, and Costa Rica chose to participate in the GCPE.
These students joined because of their interest in sharing their culture and experiences, their commitment to intercultural values, and the openness to learning from others around the world.
"I think the Global Cultural Peer Exchange was great," said one of the U.S. Embassy advisors in Mongolia.
"I heard a lot of interesting stories and facts from students and learned a lot. I think this program will help students become more open-minded, culturally aware and aware of the difficult reality for some high school students in some countries."
Participants from all around the world were able to learn and share about their lives and their countries, and were able to communicate with respect and understanding. These students are passionate about learning and becoming global citizens, being more accepting of others, and making the world a better place.