Congratulations to our World Link FLEX and YES students for their successful International Education Week 2021 back in November! World Link students shared their culture more than 1,100 times, reaching 27,500+ people!
Students not only presented, but they also came up with creative ways to make themselves and their countries memorable. Each year, World Link holds a competition to recognize those students who had unique ideas on how to share their culture and get their audiences truly immersed in the experience. Congratulations to the following finalists and honorable mentions!
And the winners are…
- Aisuluu Oskonbaeva (Kyrgyzstan/MI)
- Alesia Stingu (Romania/CO)
- Edona Kraja (Montenegro/IA)
- Kacper Malinowski (Poland/IA)
- Ketevan Chikvaidze (Georgia/IA)
- Sabina Galimova (Kazakhstan/OH)
- Zuzanna Kowalchuk (Poland/TX)
- Arimbi Wardani (Indonesia/CO)
- Mahir Ibrahim (Philippines/CO)
- Nikola Maksimov (Bulgaria/CA)
- Aisha Kademova (Kazakhstan/IA)
- Baiansuluu Sharsheeva (Kyrgyzstan/IA)
- Tetyana Luchak (Ukraine/CO)
- Umutkan Zhyltyrova (Kyrgyzstan/IA)
Here are just some of the activities which made our finalists’ International Education Week memorable for both the student and their audience!
Aisuluu made SIX eye-catching poster boards to highlight unique aspects of her home country. She brought her audience on a 3D virtual tour. Posters were hung all over her school walls featuring greetings in her native language. This was a great way to teach her entire school something about her culture! Children had the opportunity to color the national flag and design their own yurts!
Alesia’s first IEW presentation was for an organization near and dear to her heart- Operation Christmas! Back in her home country, Alesia delivered Operation Christmas gifts to children in need. Through photos and videos of Romanian children opening their presents, she showed these volunteers the impact they make each year. During other presentations, Alesia organized Romania tongue-twisters and “guess the word” competitions. Her audience also told her what they learned which she displayed on her flag in the school!
Arimbi’s first IEW presentation was to her fellow castmates for the fall musical! Knowing they love music, she translated some of the musical’s lyrics into Indonesian which they then sang together. Using UNO cards, she taught her audiences how to count in her native language. During a wedding reception, she performed a traditional dance for the crowd. Arimbi took to Instagram to share her culture with a wider audience. Through her project “Ucapan Kecil” she brought some extra cheer to her peers by handing out translated Indonesian notes of positive affirmations.
Edona set one major goal for IEW; to present her culture and her idea of a sister city partnership between Norwalk, IA, and her hometown Bar, to the City Council and the Mayor. With her persistence, she was able to do just that! This presentation was recorded and featured on Norwalk’s YouTube which her father then shared with the mayor of her hometown! Her story was featured in two major Montenegrin newspapers. For her audience who wants to visit her home country, she created a complete tour guide for them. She also had her peers fill a jar with their questions which she took home and brought back the answers the next day!
Kacper made sure to tailor each presentation to the interest of his audience, making a plethora of unique presentations to give. During many of his high school presentations, Kacper had the class perform the Polish “Powitanie” process, which is how they start classes each day back home. For Spanish class, Kacper made a special ‘Kahoot’ Spanish story which told of a family visiting Poland and discovering its unique culture. For Art classes, he created a “POLart” puzzle game where the audience needed to connect the Polish artist to the artwork and description of the piece. His main project during IEW was a fundraiser for the Polish Greater Orchestra of Christmas help event, collecting donations through selling homemade pierogies!
Ketevan started her IEW with a presentation to 100+ scouts and their families! From there she made each of her presentations memorable for that particular audience. Her chemistry class learned about Georgian science. Spanish and French classes learned about the relationship that country has historically had with Georgia. She became Chef Ketevan and taught her culinary class how to make the infamous Georgian cheese boat, “khachapuri”. There are many more examples of this. In her last presentation to middle school students, she played a traditional Orthodox Easter egg game!
Mahir organized a weeklong IEW project, a winter coat donation drive, which taught his peers the Philippine “Bayanihan” spirit, or the art of working together as a community, by each individual doing their part to help those most in need. By the end of the week, he had collected 50+ coats and winter items for the local homeless. On top of other activity-filled presentations, he gave a spectacular school-wide presentation in which he had volunteers learn the traditional dance, “Pakiring”, sang the national anthem, taught important Filipino gestures and some moves of their national sport, “Arnis”. To conclude this presentation, he played a video he had friends back home make with a message of hope, featuring a World Link alumna who attended his host school.
Nikola organized an entire week of an engaging cultural sharing experience for peers at his high school. “Discover Bulgaria” week started with “Hear Bulgaria” where playlists of both modern and folklore Bulgarian music were played and shared. “Taste Bulgaria” day, peers celebrated a New Year’s tradition with ‘banitsa’, a Bulgarian cheese pie and the act of giving 1-word fortunes on top of each piece. He also spent four hours making ‘lyutenitsa’, a national tomato spread for classmates to try. On “Write Bulgaria” day, Nikola’s peers left his writing workshop knowing the Bulgarian alphabet and how to write their name in Cyrillic cursive. For “Wear Bulgaria”, volunteers made their own traditional yarn bracelets. On the last day of IEW, “Meet Bulgaria”, he held an “ask me anything” presentation in the school courtyard.
Sabina’s classmates were led on a culinary journey of Kazakhstan during IEW! She taught some classmates how to make the traditional bread, “baursaks”. Others learned how to make the sweet dessert, “kytyrlaks”. Chef Sabina taught her Global Foods class how to make “laghman”, a delicious hotpot meal. For children, she told them the fairy tale called “Aldar Rose”. After learning the story, children were divided into groups and given 12 pictures to sort through and decide if the picture was part of the fairy tale or not! Of course, the famous Kazakh chocolate was given out as prizes!
Zuzanna’s Agricultural class were taught Polish “Krazszanki”, or the art of dying Easter eggs using natural dyes such as those found in boiled onion skills, red cabbage, turmeric, blueberries, beetroot, etc. For elementary classes, Zuzanna prepared a special reading class to show children the differences in the languages. Together, they read the from Winne the Pooh translated into Polish! On the last day of IEW, Zuzanna set up a unique PenPal exchange between her American friends and Polish friends back home. Instead of writing in their native language, each PenPal had to write in the other person’s language (with Zuzanna’s help of course!). In their messages, they talked about the university systems and processes!
Thank you to all World Link students who participated in International Education Week 2021.
We appreciate your effort in educating your host communities about your unique countries!