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Outdoor Education with an International Flair

The Suburban Times continues its support of future journalists by publishing four of articles from the soon-to-be-published issue of the Hook, the Pioneer Middle School’s newspaper.

by The Hook staff

This years outdoor education week for sixth graders has a new twist: International students from Pierce College are earning credit by attending camp and teaching classes. The program was coordinated by the efforts of Pioneer’s Ms. Kristina Sullivan, 6th grade teacher, Ms. Mary Meulblok, Manager of International Student Services at Pierce College, and Dr. Mary Russell, Anthropology professor.

The international students jumped at the chance to become a part of an American camp experience and college credit at the same time. There are nine students participating in this independent study course, two from Uganda, one from Moldova, three from South Korea and three from Japan. They all happen to be women. By co-leading classes at camp about their culture as well as keeping a journal of their experiences and participating in a culminating panel presentation these students earn two credits in Cross-Cultural studies.

“It is hard to say who will benefit the most from this exchange,” remarked Sullivan about the experience. I think the international students will learn a lot about American youth by seeing them in this setting, and I know that the sixth graders will learn a lot through these added classes.”

Culture class will include instruction of traditional dances, games, art and music as well as basic world geography and some language skills.

“I think the most enriching aspect of the exchange is giving our students a chance to talk to the international students one on one about their life and perspective on the cultural similarities and differences to the United States,” Sullivan said.

Ms. Sullivan is hopeful not only that Outdoor Education Week will continue, but that this rich cultural exchange with Pierce College will continue and grow through the coming years at Pioneer Middle School.

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