Wednesday, September 18, 2013


For the past two years, I have spent one night a week travelling the world.  I have been to Turkey, Iran, Mongolia, Japan, China, Kenya, Ghana, Korea, Ukraine, Palestine, Syria, Nigeria, Russia, Cameroon, Bulgaria, Philippines, Yemen, Vietnam, India, Kazakhstan, Jordan and so many others….all while staying in one place….my classroom. I have learned from this experience – although I was the instructor. 

Walking into my classroom has been an experience in diversity unlike any other.  I have learned about your culture, values and religious practice.  I have been to a student’s home to break Ramadan, listened to the pride you have in your countries and your hope for the future.  I have heard stories from you about being referred to as ‘terrorists’.   I have empathized with your stories of isolation and discrimination in the United States.  I have given class absence permission to return home for medical treatment when you are unable to get proper treatment in the United States. I have also heard about your successes in adjusting.  I have heard many of you tell stories of good people in the United States.

My Peace Corps experience helped me relate to you on a more personal level.  I know the discomfort of being dropped into a foreign country and adjust to a new culture, learn in a second language (which I never did well), eat foreign food, miss family, try to make friends and fit in to a new life.  I had different religious values, had to return to the United States for proper medical attention and struggled in many of the same ways as you.  I have listened to your readjustment journey.

I have watched your knowledge, language development and dreams grow.  I have celebrated with you during graduation when most could not have family in attendance.  Few have been given the opportunity to grow in this diverse world in the way I have.  I will miss my students and wish you well in life.  I hope I have left you with a better understanding of the United States as well as a few business concepts, theories and stories that you will put  into your toolbox of life.  I will remember your stories, your faces and the time we spent together fondly. 

Tell me and I forget.  Teach me and I remember.  Involve me and I learn - Ben Franklin
Thank you for involving me in your lives.  

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