The IB program has given each and every student the opportunity to find out who they what to be, where their passion lies, what they would like to do and how they could accomplish their goals. Through Personal Project I see myself as a person passionate about bringing different cultures together and gathering them as one.
The world is now revolving around technology, and people are becoming more and more dependent on Internet to get information about what the world looks like. As a result, many teenagers would rather choose to stay at home or stay within their comfort zone, without seeing the needs to actually explore on their own feet the world and the different cultures. Nowadays people tend to forget the beauty of exploring the world, experiencing cultural differences, and getting to know different traditions. Through the Dwight Cultural Exchange Community, I learned that forty students would be visiting Dwight from Denmark. I took this opportunity to send out my message about bringing different cultures together and learning about them, and encourage other students at Dwight to do the same: to experience different cultures and gain knowledge of different lifestyles.
Denmark is a place where you can smell the grassland and the flowers, where there are fruits and plants growing everywhere. There are mountains for you to climb every Saturday morning, and people are always relaxed and enjoying their lives. Denmark is known as one of the happiest countries in the world. On the other hand, New York City is the complete opposite. There are tall buildings with bright lights. There are people from everywhere around the world, and every area of the city looks different. There is so much to see and to do all the time, and the paces of life are very fast.
My focus of areas of interaction was is on the community and service. By organizing this cultural exchange, it will encourage Dwight students to learn more about Denmark culture and vice versa, I aim to help other students understand how to live in relation to others even when they are from a different country and are raised in a different environment. Also students from Dwight will get to know more people from other countries and expand their knowledge on other cultures.
My goal for the project is to provide students from Denmark a rich experience of New York City within their short stay. At the same time, I would like to have the Dwight students benefit from the hosting experience by getting a glimpse of Denmark’s culture. In achieving the goal, I created opportunities for students from both schools to interact with each other as much as possible, as I believed they would have an amazing time learning from each other’s experiences. I also asked the Denmark students to write down their reflections and their New York stories on note cards, with which I made a collage. I hung the collage up on a public board so that Dwight students would see it and get to learn about Denmark students’ perspectives. The collage will also help raise students’ awareness of different cultures and piquing their interest in getting out of their comfort zone and exploring the world in their youth
Selection of Sources
To achieve my goals I needed a lot of relevant source to support the message I want everyone to receive. I have different varied of source such as guidebooks, books, documentary but mostly interviews of my Dwight community and Danish Students.
My research was based on the daily routine, lifestyles and traditions between people from Denmark and people from New York. I used travel guidebooks to learn about the living habits and lifestyles of the Danish and the New Yorkers. New york is known as the melting pot and big apple. New york is surrounded by tall buildings and known as the city that never sleeps. It is a fast pace city with people around the world gathering together to succeed their goals and dreams. However Denmark is surrounded by nature, less concrete skyscrapers, it is these kind of calm and peaceful environment which made Hans Christian Andersen have so much imagination and inspire him to create fairy tails. From the blogs, I learned more about the history of Denmark, I was shocked when I found out that Hans Christian Andersen was from Denmark, and New York is where billionaire come and invest and where big business begins. Through watching documentaries I visualized all the information about different lives from the two different places.
From these sources, I gained relevant and useful information about living in Denmark and in New York. Equipped with the information, I clearly understood how I could design my next steps to accomplish my goals. The origin of this source is an article published by the Huffington post on 6th of November, 2013. Its purpose was to explain why Denmark is the happiest country in the world. A Value of this is that it gives the perspective of others both in and out of the country. However a limitation is that it is bias, not showing the perspective of majorities.
The origin of this source is an blog from study in Denmark. Its purpose was to explain and tell us about the life style in Denmark. A Value of this is that it gives the perspective of the citizens. However a limitation is that it is bias, not showing the perspective of tourist and immigrants.
The origin of this source is a website from DENMARK Its purpose was to explain and show others the culture and traditions about Denmark. A Value of this is that it gives the perspective of the local citizens. However a limitation is that it is bias, it only gives the perspective from minorities,
The origin of this source is a blog. Its purpose was to explain and tell others the facts and history about Denmark. A value of this is that it gives the perspective of real expert. However a limitation is that it is bias, it only gives the perspective from a few people
Application of Information
I filmed a video to explain my project, the process and the development of it, and I included interviews with Dwight students who had a perspective on different cultures. Specifically, in the video I would first introduce what my personal project is about, what my message is, and the impact I wish to have on others involved in the project. My message was to encourage Dwight students to explore the world and to experience different lifestyles and cultures; to go out of your comfort zone and explore something new.
I created a collage board to share Denmark students’ perspectives and memories of their stay in New York. At the end of their stay, I asked all visiting students from Denmark to write down what they have learned in New York and from their interactions with Dwight students on a note card. I then collected all the notecards and designed them into a collage board to share with the larger Dwight student body. In this way, the message about the importance of learning about different cultures reached a wider population of students.
Achieving the Goal
To achieve my goals I have to have a successful and well-organized event. If not, others will not appreciate the message I want others to receive and have a positive feelings towards the event.
Before the event started, I sent emails to all the upper school members to ask for volunteers. After reinsure all the volunteers that will be able to attend the event I gave them the information on the exact time they should arrive in the location I gave them which is the large gym. When the Denmark students arrived, I welcomed them and introducing the volunteers. After getting to know each other more I gave my introduction about that day’s schedule and activities.
First, I split them into groups to sit in Dwight classes to experience the US education system. Second, all the Danish students, volunteer teachers and students from Dwight will walk over to the Hans Christian Anderson Statue located in the center of central park. We will then sit by the Ugly Duckling Pond and begin out activities.
By bringing them to the statue of Hans Christian Anderson Make, the Dainish students will know how diverse New York is and understand New York is very diverse in terms of culture.
Finally, I split and divided the Dwight and Denmark students into groups to perform skits based on Andersen’s fairy tales and let the other students guess which story they are performing. The purpose of the activity is to have Dwight students learn more about the distinguished Danish writer’s background and literature work.
I also created two products, one is a short film conducting interviews with Dwight students who participated in the program and Michaela who was from Denmark herself as she was also a volunteer for the cultural exchange event, I aimed to get their feedback on the program and see what they have learned from it. Eventually I would show the video publicly so that my message would be passed on to a greater audience. Through the interview of Sofia Reidbord and Violeta Boix they both mention that they realized that although the Danish students were born and raised in a compete different environment, they were surprised that they have similarities as well. They though it was fascinating seeing the differences in terms of culture and they would like to go out and explore more culture. Through what they said during the interviews I confirmed that the program was impactful and I have achieved my goals of raising students’ awareness of understanding the different cultures and encouraging them to out of their comfort zone and explore the world.
My second product is a Collage board, I asked the each and every Danish students, include the teachers to write down their thoughts about New York city and Dwight Community in a note card. As I take a picture of each individuals and stick their pictures next to the message they wrote.
By viewing the notes and reflections from Denmark students, they would be more impressed that the world is large and diverse, and that there is so much to explore, so that my message would be more impactful.
Reflection on Learning
When I started my personal project “ Cultural Exchange” I thought that it was simply two different culture gathering together and experience a different life style. However, after being part of my six months long progress I realized that there is a deeper value in my topic.
Before I started planning the Cultural exchange I was nervous about not having enough time to organize this event. I had not learned about the event until I was inform seven days before the event. After such a late notices, I made sure I used my seven days well. I scheduled my last seven days and wrote down what I needed such as materials and tools before the Denmark students arrive
Although the time was short, I was able to manage my time well to finished my task and got everything I needed. I made me realize that no matter how busy you are, time management is the key to accomplished goals.
After completing my personal project, I felt accomplished and relieved. Seeing my peers and Dwight school community engaging with students from Denmark and talking about how much they learned from this event, I know that I have succeeded my goals and I have send out the message I wanted to which is to go out of your comfort zone and explore different culture. The Dwight school community has engaged with students from different culture and understands each other.
By organizing this cultural exchange, it helped gain my strength in. project management and time management skills such as figure out how to create a learning experience, how to resolve problems in a difficult situation and making people have a good time at the same time.
This cultural exchange also taught me how to Planned for cultural exchange event, considering the sensitivity of different culture as I am aware of avoiding any potential awkwardness due to cultural differences. It also made me realize that even through grounded in cultural differences, we have many similarities in how we interact with people and how we build relationships no matter where you are born, we could have a lot in common.
I also learn how to work under time pressure, follow through the timelines created, considerate of other people’s needs and I improved my communications and coordination skills such as how to interact with different people.