The International Student Association aims to enrich younger students’ understanding of other cultures

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ISA hopes to broaden elementary school students’ multicultural experiences through art and music. (Photo courtesy of Dawit Gebeta ’20)

Danielle Mullan

The college’s International Student Association (ISA) will be going to March Elementary School in Easton in order to educate 20 students on international cultures through a series of curated events. The event, called “March Around the World,” is part of a broader initiative by ISA to promote the importance of cultural awareness and a globalized education.

ISA will be leading March elementary students through four immersive stations including: Moroccan dancing, Nigerian pastry-making, Malagasy storytelling, and Japanese crafts station, which are all connected by the broader theme of honoring the 50th anniversary of the moon landing.

Miriam Kimani ‘22, a member of ISA, spoke on the unique opportunity “March Around the World” provides for March Elementary students.  

“Most people just have one story, one way they have grown up,” she wrote in an email. “When they do learn about other cultures, it is usually told through the perspective of their own. Having this first-hand experience to other cultures is helpful in their educational future.”

Each station will be led by members of ISA who have experience in the station’s cultural art. With the help of other volunteers, ISA hopes that the students will take away invaluable skills and understandings, members said.

Co-founder of the event Danielle Kraidin ‘21 said that it is important for individuals to be more culturally aware in order to “better interact with people who come from other backgrounds,” she wrote in an email. 

“I think that learning about other cultures, places, food, languages, and ways of life is very rewarding,” she wrote. “For these students to be given this opportunity is very valuable and [it’s] something that they may appreciate more and more as they get older.”

“At its core, global learning is about facilitating educational experiences that allow students to appreciate diverse perspectives, understand the connections they have to the wider world, respectively and effectively communicate and collaborate across cultures and countries,” according to Ariel Tichnor-Wagner of the Association for Supervision and Curriculum Development (ASCD) website. 

Tichnor-Wagner’s research on the impacts of a globally-contextualized education shows that it increases student engagement, college and career readiness, emotional development and overall academic performance.

Kraidin said that ISA hopes that March Around the World is a meaningful experience for the students as well as the ISA volunteers.

For the ISA volunteers, I hope they enjoy their experience teaching children something about their culture,” she wrote. “For the elementary school students, I am hoping that they will leave the event feeling that they learned something new and that they enjoyed their time. I also hope that this makes them more eager to learn about the world around them.”

ISA’s themes of promoting cultural awareness and diversity will come to campus during their Extravaganza Week this coming April. The week will showcase a series of talks, movies and interactive events that will tackle an array of issues from a global perspective.

Kraidin said that ISA hopes that through events like such, both Lafayette and March elementary students will begin to think more globally and will understand the importance of an international perspective.