By Evy Gobbens, Academic Year Program Exchange Student and Greenheart Club Member

Evy of The Netherlands with Kaleb an American Student

Hi everybody! My name is Evy, I’m 17 years old and this year I’m here in the United States as an exchange student from the Netherlands. I live with my host family in Plattsburgh, NY. My host mother, also a local coordinator, started this Greenheart project a couple years ago, it is called Global Village.

Global Village is a project that kids do in the elementary school Oak Street here. The 3rd graders all have to choose a continent that they want to do their project on. The 4th graders all have to pick a state and the 5th graders all have to pick a country! This project starts in December and ends at the end of April. In the beginning of April we have a Global Village night where all the kids present their projects.

Our role as the exchanges students in the project is to help the 5th graders out with their projects. You are matched up with a student or students who chose your country. I for example was matched up with a little boy Kaleb. He chose the Netherlands as the country he wanted to do his project on. Not every 5th grader got the privilege to work with exchange students because of course there weren’t enough exchange students for that. In my exchange students “group” there were boys and girls from Germany, Denmark, Norway, China, Thailand, South Korea, Switzerland and the Netherlands.

Working on The Netherlands presentation

In December the project started. My host mother picked everybody up from school and drove us to the elementary school. We got to meet the students and we all had to talk for a couple of minutes in front of the class and introduce ourselves and talk about our countries. It was so cute to see how excited the kids were to work with us!

After that we sat with our students and they showed us what they had so far. We got to talk for a little while, and we taught them about the geography of our country. Global Village was once every month. The next time we went over and we had to bring some information about our government. We worked the whole period with our students. They asked a lot of questions and it was really nice to see how American elementary schools are. The next month we came in again and we had to have some basic information about our population, currency, the national anthem and some other things.

The following times we had to come in we had to have historic events about our country and information about the culture. It was very interesting for us too, because some things I actually had to look up about my country. And this was a nice opportunity to learn about other cultures too. The kids were still so excited to see us every week!
Then in April it was already the last time for Global Village. When we came in the classroom it was a mess! The kids were all working on their boards, there was paper everywhere. When we walked in the kids were all happy! Kaleb ran up to me and said: “Evy Evy!! Come help me put paper tulips up on my board!” All the kids were running around and helping one another! They were all so excited to show us what they had made!

That Monday, April 2nd, it was Global Village night. A lot of people came to the gym of the elementary school where all the boards were presented by the kids. We walked on stage with our students and said “welcome to Global Village” in our language. The kids loved it! We, the exchange students, all had to bring a dish with food from our country. The kids all brought something too. They all had a table with their board on it and food and other stuff from the country they chose! For example, Kaleb had brought in wooden shoes, Dutch money, Dutch train tickets and Dutch cheese and I brought in a Dutch cake!

It was a fun night and it was a great experience for us as exchange students too. I got to talk to a lot of people that wanted to know more information about my country and it was just great sharing that information with Kaleb too.

After the Global Village night, Global Village was done, but my host mother and the Global Village teacher, Mrs. McCarty had arranged a pizza party for all of us. That was very nice, we got all the pictures that were taken at all the meetings and we gave cards to the students to thank them. And of course we ate lots of pizza together! Overall, it was a great experience for all us!

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