GWU International Students Visit Local School for Fourth Annual Cultural Awareness Day

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Event Featured GWU Representatives from Great Britain, France, Switzerland, and Trinidad and Tobago 

From left: Ransome, Boucquemont, Jones, and Hutterli

BOILING SPRINGS, N.C. – Local school children learned some inside information about several faraway countries from Gardner-Webb University International Programs representatives during Cultural Awareness Day, held April 17 at Fallston Elementary School in Fallston, N.C.

The daylong event—coordinated in part by GWU Assistant Director of International Programs Gail Peace—featured presentations by university international students Steve Jones of Great Britain, Ronia Hutterli of Switzerland, and Christal Ransome of Trinidad and Tobago. Chloe Boucquemont of France, a one-year teaching assistant in the Department of World Languages, also represented the University.

Christal Ransome (Trinidad and Tobago) demonstrates a steel drum.

Students in kindergarten through fourth grade took part in the event, which was coordinated by Rebecca Lane, the English as a Second Language Coordinator for Fallston, Casar, and Burns Middle schools.  She began the day as a way to help students learn about and appreciate cultural differences among a variety of groups.

Catherine Frailey is a fourth-grade teacher at Fallston, and she thinks students benefit from participating in the awareness day in a variety of ways. “We can connect ideas we’ve read in both fiction and non-fiction to what we learn about a country during a presentation,” Frailey explained. “For instance, we’ve talked about the lost colony, so when we saw Chloe’s presentation, the kids realized it’s real. It’s not just what they’ve seen in a book.”

Chloe Boucquement (France) discusses her country with students.

Freshman psychology major Ransome took advantage of an opportunity to showcase a steel drum during her presentation, and she encouraged the kids to get on their feet and dance to music that is common in Trinidad and Tobago. She gave the group high-fives when their time was up and thanked them for learning more about the land she calls home. Other presenters used photos, maps, and historical information arranged in a slide show to help students understand more about the cities and towns they are from.

Steve Jones (Great Britain) shows students photos of his hometown in England.

“How many of you know what this is?” Boucquemont asked Frailey’s fourth graders as she pointed to a photo of a frog on the screen. The class raised their hands to answer. “And do you know what we do with frogs in France?” she continued. “We eat them! And they are quite good. I encourage you to try frog legs.”

Lane, who is from New York, is planning additional awareness days to help demonstrate more about customs and practices among people from a variety of U.S. regions as well. “The next event will involve people from Alaska, New York, Illinois, and other locations,” she reported. “There is so much we can learn from each other, and this is a great way to illustrate that for the students.”

Ronia Hutterli answers student questions about Switzerland.

Located in Boiling Springs, N.C., Gardner-Webb University’s purpose is to advance the Kingdom of God through Christian higher education by preparing graduates for professional and personal success, instilling in them a deep commitment to service and leadership, and equipping them for well-rounded lives of lasting impact, Pro Deo et Humanitate (For God and Humanity).