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Favorite Blog Throwback #1 – Originally posted July 8, 2013
Donate to support future unofficial ambassadors here! http://bit.ly/1auNPwV
Teacher Hannah D’Apice of T.W. Browne Middle School in Dallas, TX, is in Indonesia right now, volunteering as part of the School-2-School program. Check out the slide show below of her first few days in action. And here’s a cool snippet of a new article about her and her class featured on RYOT.
Until a couple of months ago, when I thought of the word “ambassador,” images of a man in a suit shaking hands with a president or a king came to mind. I didn’t think of my sixth grade students Skyping with teenagers in Indonesia, or me, stepping off an airplane next week in Aceh with 250 books in tow.
But it’s true; we are “unofficial ambassadors.” You don’t need an embassy or official credentials to be an ambassador. It’s something we can all do, as I’ve learned over the last few months with my students at T.W. Browne Middle School in Dallas, Texas.
Since April, my sixth graders have taken part in a cross-cultural education program called School-2-School. The program, organized by Crea
tive Learning, a Washington, DC-based not-for-profit, has connected our classroom with the Sukma Bangsa school in Aceh, Indonesia. The Sukma Bangsa school in the town of Pidie was built nine years ago for victims of the 2004 tsunami and Aceh’s internal conflict.
As part of this partnership, my class has bonded with their Indonesian counterparts over Skype chats and emails, using technology to reach across geographic and cultural divides and to learn from each other. At first glance, the gap between my students and the ones waving to us from a video screen on the other side of the world seemed wide. Indonesia is the world’s most populous Muslim majority nation, but my students didn’t know much about Islam or Islamic culture. Most of my students hadn’t heard of the 2004 tsunami and were certainly unfamiliar with Aceh’s history of political unrest.