By Maria Suarez, Centerspread Editor
Sixty-two students and 20 faculty members from eight different countries roamed the halls Jan. 21-27 and experienced school life the American way. 62.
“To me it’s not a little 10-day thing,” Assistant Principal Carlson said. “This is a life changing experience for not only our guests but for our students here.”
The visitors were hosted by school students and staff.
According to Mrs. Carlson, a large portion of the summit’s funding comes from the Confucius Institute, a Chinese educational organization that selects certain districts from the United States to be a part of its cultural and language programs.
The school is trying to build relationships with other international schools in an effort to later allow students to travel abroad. The Chinese have been selected because Mrs. Narus and Mr. Thomas have visited China and they’ve built relationships with the Chinese schools.
The other relationships have been built because the school has been traveling as a school to international places. For instance, some students have traveled to Poland, so the Polish school they have visited travels here. The same goes for countries like Switzerland and Ireland.
“The relationships we build are school-to-school,” Mrs. Carlson said. “Visiting schools are coming to see Pompano Beach High School, not Mr. Thomas or Mrs. Narus or the students they met during the summer program. They’re coming to see Pompano Beach High School and when our students are traveling abroad they’re going to a school because they are going to build relationships with a school and the students and adults at that school.”
Immediately upon assuming the role of principal, Mr. Thomas had wanted to provide students with a multitude of experiences related to the international studies magnet before they graduated.
According to Chinese teacher Ms. Zheng, students get to experience and build new relationships with students and teachers from all over the world through the summit. The goal was for each student to be impacted in such a way that when they graduated, they could be proud to say that they went to an international school.
“Globalization is a trend, and it’s unstoppable, politically and economically,” Ms. Zheng said. “So our school being a magnet in international affairs has the responsibility as a host to enlighten all students from all over the world and also provide our own students with opportunities for them to have exposure to international communications.”
Part of building those relationships includes interacting with the visitors and observing their habits and customs which can lead to enrichment in the language students are taking. During the summit, the visitors performed at a school-wide assembly to highlight their national cultures.
“Students will see them and be able to see that the other students look like them or if they dress differently or hear the pronunciation in the way they speak their language,” Ms. Lerbs, French and Spanish teacher, said. “I think it can only be good because students are going to see that there is another world out there and it actually comes to us, and they can see it, it’s not just something in your imagination. And hopefully they can talk to them. You at least learn something.”
Senior Gabriel Suarez and sophomore Sasha Mikhailau agree that meeting the international students gives them further information about the lifestyle and customs of the visitors that they don’t learn about in their Chinese textbooks.
“It shows our students what it’s like in other countries and allows us to interact with the foreign exchange students; then, they get to know how school is there and how life is there in general, but it doesn’t cost them anything to be exposed to that,” Mikhailau said. “And then for people to go into a different country and totally immerse themselves it would expose them to the culture and of course there’s a price to it but it’s interesting and cool to see and compare your country and the country you’re visiting.”