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SAVE THE DATE! IVECA invites you to join our 61st Session of the UN CSocD Side Event Webinar! Join us on Feb. 10, 2023, at 4:45 pm (EST, New York) as our panel of experts discuss #GreenInfrastrucutre through #GlobalCitizenshipEducation, aiming to achieve the #UN SDGs.

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Updated: Jan 4

Learning about different cultures and countries can take many shapes and forms. Informative videos, books, and other tools are great ways to introduce children to these topics. However, for the IVECA elementary students from Daejeon, Korea and Washington D.C. and California in the United States, this experience was different. Through their IVECA Live Class, students took their partner school friends on an exciting journey to virtually visit their country for a day.

To welcome their friends from overseas, students presented their plans for thematic parties in attractive locations full of cultural activities, famous music and dance, and local foods. Students did not limit their creativity or hold back when deciding on the specifics of their parties. With the Fourth of July theme, American students planned their party at the White House and paired the celebration with fireworks, burgers and hotdogs. The group explained proudly, "The 4th of July is about how America gained its independence and the White House represents our country". The Korean students decided to take their American friends to the Amsa General Market in Seoul, where they could taste various local delicacies such as bibimbap and pork cutlet.

A popular destination among Korean students was Lotte World, Korea's most famous amusement park, where their peer visitors would try Tteokbokki (spicy rice cake) and Odeng (hot fish-cake soup) and watch the night parade. "It is a good place to make memories," said a Korean student. Their American partners chose the "Golden Corral" buffet as a destination because "there are many foods from around the world and here in America it is very diverse," presenting to their friends the values and principles of their culture. American students were also invited to spend the day at the Jeonju Hanok Village dressed in the traditional Korean costume, Hanbok, and have Kimbap and Samgyeobsal (grilled pork belly).

After the lively presentations, students shared what they liked the most about each other's cultures. An American student expressed, "The traditional clothing was amazing and very pretty," and their Korean peers were fascinated by their food. To top off the cultural party day, students provided dynamic performances for their friends. From demonstrating Taekwondo and Samulnori (traditional percussion music instruments) by the Korean students, to singing "Jingle Bells" and dancing to K-pop music by the American students, the performances were followed by continued cheering and clapping.

Students, teachers, and principals exchanged their farewells, echoing how enjoyable and educational the semester had been and how they learned not only about their partner school countries, but about theirs as well in this global partnership. "I had so much fun learning about Korea. I hope you had a fun time learning about my country." Korean students added their appreciation for their virtual learning opportunities. "Even though we didn't see each other [in person], you guys I met [virtually] on the IVECA site were very bright, full of energy, and fun friends. I was thrilled every day… learned a lot of interesting facts about American culture."

#IVECA #InterculturalCompetence #21stCenturyEducation #ElementarySchools #GlobalCitizens #GlobalCitizenshipEducation

  • IVECA Center

By Ms. Melina Easter

Think. Create. Share. Grow. As a media specialist in a rural school district in Southwest Virginia, my goals include inspiring students to think critically, collaboratively create, and responsibly share their ideas. Through this process, the ultimate goal I desire for them is simply growth. Whether it’s base knowledge like learning facts about a topic or the soft skills of managing how to work within a group of diverse opinions, reflecting upon that growth is key to creating independent, lifelong learners.

Partnering with the IVECA program gave my students the opportunity to take their growth to the next level as they began to see themselves as global citizens rather than just Virginia citizens. During the fall semester, my seventh-grade students spent time researching inequalities in the United States and thinking about solutions to those problems. Then they were able to share their ideas with students in South Korea as well as explore that country’s similar struggles and solutions. My students were surprised at how alike our countries were in regard to thoughts on inequalities. However, the differences became clear when race and digital divides were highlighted as problems for the United States. In Korea, there is little issue with race and the country is pretty well-connected in terms of technology. The digital divide becomes more of an issue in Korea alongside ageism as older generations struggle with new technologies. Knowing this information has allowed my students to consider ideas they had previously never encountered. Growth.

In addition to the Intercultural Virtual Exchange of Classroom Activities in seventh grade, my second through fifth graders have spent library media time researching two countries in Asia: Japan and South Korea. Along with research, they read a folk tale from each country and watched a travel video. However, none of that makes an impact like actually meeting a native citizen from the country of interest. President and chairman of IVECA, Eunhee Jung, was invited to meet virtually with fourth and fifth-grade students to share some personal experiences as a global citizen. Students were reminded that body language can be just as important as being able to understand the spoken language. They learned some do’s and don’ts of cultural expectations that make visiting another country like Korea so exciting. Because of this personal connection, many of my students became excited about visiting other countries and learning more about their world. Growth.

Now they are thinking; they are creating. They are sharing, and they are growing - all in a global context, rather than a Southwest Virginia one. I look forward to our school continuing our growth as global partners in learning. Teachers often want to give their students the world - and here we have the opportunity to do so. Thank you, IVECA!


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