Hello again! Life at AC continues to be crazy and internet continues to be as unreliable as ever. If you have tried to Skype with me from my dorm you know exactly what I am talking about. But regardless I am having the time of my life here! Classes are in the normal cycle now and our daily routine has started up again. I actually look forward to going to class which is something that not very many people can say about school. This is 100% because the curriculum here is so fascinating and I am in class with students from all over the world. All the different perspectives that we can get just add to the knowledge we gain.
One of the other parts of our curriculum here is a faculty that we are part of. There is the environmental, social justice, global, and outdoor faculties. I am part of the global faculty where we focus on increasing international understanding and cooperation. Within your faculty you have to do two activities. For first years, we have to participate in a training exercise on Mondays and then we chose the next activity. I chose to be a part of teaching geography to secondary school students in a school in Llantwit Major. Five AC students go over to the school Wednesday afternoons and take over for the teacher in the afternoon for an hour or so.
Last week was our first session where we went to the secondary school. We arrived and were greeted by 20 new faces of kids around the age of 13. We played some icebreakers and tried to get their energy up before starting to learn. Then the kids tried to guess where we were from just based on looks and accents. We had people from the Netherlands, China, Fiji, Wales, and the US. Surprisingly, they got them all right!
Now that the kids knew where we were from, we wanted to give them the opportunity to ask us about our homes. Each of us spent 5 minutes in ‘the hot seat’ where the kids asked us all the questions they wanted to about our countries. The very first question I got was about why the national animal of the US was a bald eagle. Now I didn’t know the answer to this so I guessed that it had something to do with the freedom that birds symbolize. After looking it up, I now know that it was because the founding fathers liked the Roman Republic and liked the bird imagery there so they chose the bald eagle. So I learned something new about the US! The other questions I was asked ranged from ‘What do you want to be when you grow up?’ to ‘What natural disasters have you lived through?’
Coming to AC has made me a much more patriotic person. I find myself defending the US in many situations and am very proud to be American. This isn’t to say that I agree with everything about the US, as many of you know. There are plenty of problems going on right now back home. But I also realize the advantages of living in the US and how lucky we are to live there. There are so many different cultures represented here and even in the short time I have been here, I feel like I know so much more about the world and different countries. I am sure that this cultural exchange will continue for a long time!