Saturday, June 25, 2016

Transatlantic Pen Pals

Did you ever have a pen pal? I had a couple growing up, and I really enjoyed it. So when I found out about the Worldwise Schoolprogram during my Peace Corps application process, I was really excited to participate. The program matches PCVs with a teacher in America, and their students can exchange letters. This lines up perfectly with Goals 2 and 3 of Peace Corps, the sharing of American culture with our host country, and vice versa. Unfortunately, Worldwise Schools had some technical difficulties the last couple years, and the three attempts I made at signing up came to naught. Colii also tried to sign up a couple times, and never heard back from them. (Side note - they have restructured the program and made improvements, so hopefully it will work much better for PCVs and American teachers in the future. It's such a cool idea.)

Luckily, Colii and I are PCVs, so we are practiced at having to be creative and resourceful to get things done. We decided to have the students in my Library Club exchange letters with the students in her Health Club. We had all the kids write letters, and then we matched them up together.

The Moldovan Pen Pals


The Malawian Pen Pals

I even gave my students a little one-page info sheet on Moldova, with a map and a photocopy of a postcard I got in Soroca when I visited there. Colii passed on some Romanian phrases to me, and I included those on the sheet as well. The Romanian phrases have really caught on, and now I regularly hear “Buna dimineata” and “pa pa” at school from my Malawian students! Even from kids that were not even involved in the pen pal program.

Letter writing was a great way for the students to practice their English and writing skills. It also taught them about another country. Sharing the culture of your host country with the people of your PCV friend’s host country isn’t one of the three PC goals, but it sure was a lot of fun!

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