Thursday, March 6, 2014

Culture Club. I'll Tumble 4 Ya.

Below is a write-up on a presentation I did for Peace Corps Week. I wish I was this cool in high school.
On February 26, 2014, I had the pleasure of presenting about my experience in Indonesia to about 20 students of the Culture Club at Somers High School in New York. The club at my niece's high school meets weekly and chooses various countries to study in their extracurricular time after school. They had chosen Indonesia as their most recent focus of study, and when a 10th grade student in the group learned I served there as a Peace Corps volunteer, she eagerly invited me to attend.
In the course of about 45 minutes, we briefly discussed the goals of Peace Corps as well as various topics of interest about Indonesia including Geography and Environment, Religion, Village Life, Education, Dress, and Food. The students had already studied about the general history of Indonesia with their adviser and history teacher, so I presented on each of the areas above through pictures and stories of my family, community, and school in Padangan, Bojonegoro in East Java.

The students were very engaged in participating in an "Indonesia in Numbers" game where they had to run and stand next to numbers I had posted around the room to answer a question asked about Indonesia: "How many languages are spoken in Indonesia?" or "How many days a week do students in Indonesia go to school?" The American students were very surprised to learn, for instance, that my madrasah students in Indonesia studied up to 17 subjects in the course of one week. The students also were excited to wear sarungs I had brought from different islands of Indonesia, and we closed the presentation with snacks of fried tempe and dried mangoes I brought.
My students in Padangan, Bojonegoro also made video greetings to the Somers High School Culure Club.
I was inspired by these amazing high school students in both Somers, New York and Padangan, Bojonegoro, by their joy of learning and their desire to connect cross-culturally. I was thrilled to be able to participate in this Third Goal activity during Peace Corps week and share my love of my Indonesian home with students in the U.S.