Hiram College hosted students from James A. Garfield Intermediate School on Friday, March 26, for an international immersion experience. Planned by Director of International Student Services Taryn Hale, Director of Student Teaching and Field Experience Eileen Vance, social studies teacher Kyle Wadkins and music teacher Joe Gaither, the “World Fair” brought together 125 sixth graders and nearly 40 Hiram students for lessons about world culture.
“The value to Garfield’s students was meeting people from diverse cultures, becoming aware of countries they had never heard of and being welcomed to a college setting,” Vance said.
Garfield’s students met Hiram students who either traveled abroad as part of their course of study or who are from areas outside of the U.S. – such as Malaysia, Myanmar, India, Nepal, Zimbabwe, Costa Rica, Jamaica, Pakistan, Burkina Faso, China, Cape Verde, South Africa, Argentina and Ghana.
Hiram students staffed tables with information about culture, tourism, government, language and currency. The sixth graders, equipped with “passports” that were stamped at each table, spent time learning about the customs of foreign countries.
Hiram students benefited immensely from the program. “The international students gained the opportunity to talk about home and the education students gained experience in seeing the implementation of a field trip,” Vance explained.
At the conclusion of the world tour, Garfield students watched music and dance performances by Hiram students showcasing Latin America, India, Japan and Nepal.
“The World Fair was a hit with the students and teachers,” said Wadkins. “They couldn’t stop talking about their Hiram trip around the world!”
The event concluded with lunch. Upon returning to school in the afternoon, students shared their experiences with each other in order to increase their understanding of world cultures.