Karon Downing, Kelly Walsh High School, Casper, WY AMERICAN EXPERIENCES ABROAD - AN INTERVIEW Appropriate for grades 10-12. OVERVIEW: Young people rarely realize how much other nations impact the United States. With foreign trade being so controversial, students need an opportunity to examine a broad spectrum of information about our complex relationships with overseas friends and foes. PURPOSE: In most U.S. communities you can find people who have visited, worked in, or served military time in many foreign countries. These individuals are a valuable source of information. Students interviewing such people leads to a surprising variety of information and perspectives. OBJECTIVES: Students will be able to: 1. Define culture 2. Describe examples of what causes cultural differences 3. List steps in a good interview 4. Locate nations mentioned on a world map ACTIVITIES: In this activity I ask students to seek out someone to interview about their experiences in a foreign country. I direct them to ask for information such as: 1. During what years were you in the foreign country/countries? 2. What local customs do you most remember? 3. How was this nation most different from the U.S.? 4. How were the people most like the people in the U.S.? 5. What were the attitudes of the people toward the U.S.? 6. What was the climate & weather like? 7. In what kind of houses did people live? 8. How much of the society seemed rich? -poor? 9. How did people make a living? 10. What were the dominant religious groups? 11. What political events most concerned the local people during your stay in their country? In class, I encourage students to brain-storm and add other questions. Also, the people they interview usually talk a great deal about many topics. People usually enjoy discussing their experiences overseas. RESOURCES/MATERIALS NEEDED: School library facility TYING IT ALL TOGETHER: This activity gives students opportunities to improve research skills, increase knowledge about other nations, and to more fully understand the U.S. role in the world. I most enjoyed students having an opportunity to speak to the class. They "showed off" their creativity by making posters of maps to show the class the location of the country they spoke of. Students brought in clothing and crafts of the nation. Some young people even cooked food from the area. Students show so much enthusiasm about learning from each other, their experiences are so positive with this activity, they seem more open to learn about international issues in the future.
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