The beginning of a new school year is fast-approaching and with it the opportunity for Au Pair in America au pairs to share their culture with young children.
Why? Why spend free time preparing a presentation for a classroom of American children? Why not go shopping?
Hannah, an au pair from New Zealand told me that she thought she knew everything about the APIA program before leaving her country. However, when she arrived at orientation, she learned about Global Awareness, and knew immediately that participating in this program didn’t require a “second thought.”
Hannah taught her first classroom of children simple Maori vocabulary, and they were “entranced.” They were so surprised that New Zealanders spoke a language other than English!
Eventually, one mini- language lesson to first graders became a commitment to volunteer in the school on a regular basis.
Over the course of Hannah’s volunteer experience (in two schools, one west coast, the other on the east coast), she gained valuable experience about behavior management, strategies for dealing with difficult situations, and most of all, “I learned a lot about how American children view the world.”
Hannah ended our conversation with, “I left the presentations feeling very proud of my efforts….Everytime I volunteered, I learned something new….I loved being able to immerse myself in the American school system as well as offering my experiences and love to all the children. I hope when I return home to New Zealand, I can use the skills I learned to further my volunteer efforts there.”
Hannah’s experience doing Global Awareness presentations demonstrates the value to all: her host children were thrilled to have “their au pair” in the classroom, the other children learned so much about another culture, and Hannah gained invaluable experience that she’ll take with her the rest of her life.
Join Global Awareness! Be an ambassador for your country.
Thanks for sharing this particularly interesting example of how we can (and should) learn collectively about other cultures. Sometimes the teacher learns as much as the students.