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Cultural awareness begins with first-hand experience

Culture surrounds American students but often awareness is limited to Taco Bell and Panda Express. In an effort to expand student understanding, teachers on campus yearly provide opportunites to explore ethnicities.

Spanish III hosted Marcos Perez, a native of Mexico, giving students an opportunity to converse with a pastor how different his culture was from their own. The Sept. 26 event allowed students an opportunity to peek into the lives of others and appreciate their own after hearing about these unique cultures.

“It was really inspiring to learn how proud he is to be Mexican,” Victor Cabias, ’05, said. “Now I feel prouder to be an American and proud of my culture.”

Listening to a speaker is one way of learning about different ways of living. Visiting various countries allows a first-hand experience for students to see, hear and live in these new lifestyles, according to Greg Stobbe, campus teacher.

“The value of a first-hand visit to a foreign country extends far beyond a guest speaker,” Stobbe said. “While speakers give you a glimpse into their lives, students gain much more by immersing themselves in the culture.”

Stobbe led a group of students last summer to Switzerland to learn and study Swiss culture and its history. It was a way for some students to escape the American lifestyle and jump into a new world.

“Some of the highlights of my trip were hiking, biking, swimming, and seeing many castles,” Shawn Cason, ’04, said. “This trip was an awesome experience and I am so glad that I went.”

Students that study abroad have the opportunity to see, hear, taste, and feel things that they may never see when they sit around in their own homes.

“Over the last seven years I have seen students expand their cultural awareness by visiting European countries while on one of my educational tours,” Stobbe said. “Individuals who travel to foreign country learn new ideals, concepts and how to relate with that community.”

High school students who do not have the opportunity to travel eduationally can check into college study abroad programs at www.gowithcea.com.

The next Spanish III guest speaker will be George Solas, campus painter, on Oct. 31. For more information on Solas, visit www.thefeather.com and read the October article, “Janitor’s music primes lifestyle,” by Alejandra Ramirez. Stobbe has yet to decide a date for his next educational Europe trip. Check www.thefeather.com for updated information.

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