Sometimes people are amazed at the places I’ve been–Oaxaca, Zambia, Greece, Istanbul, Poland, Czech Republic, Budapest. Paris, Lille and London last spring were amazing, but not as exotic as the earlier destinations. Sometimes even I am surprised that I never even had a passport until 2004! But there are ways to experience the world without leaving your home town.
One organization that is committed to creating such experiences is World of Difference. This organization, established in 2005, facilitates experiences for youth to develop skill, readiness and grace in intercultural relations. Their Cultural Ambassadors from more than 30 countries gently guide students through new concepts and thought processes. They address topics ranging from math ratios (African Drumming); to water ecology (Japanese Fish Printing); and government structures (Escaping Sudan).
These hands-on immersion workshops motivate students to explore more about the world, their classmates, and themselves. The workshops offer what text books and research projects cannot: interaction with challenging situations in which students examine their assumptions, beliefs, desires and strengths. After working the chores, playing the instruments, dancing to the music, speaking the language, hearing the accents, tasting the food and creating the art, World of Difference students are proud to proclaim, “I know about that!” Such experiences develop in students mental and emotional agility, preparing them for success in an ever-changing, uncertain global economy.