Cultural Vistas Blog

Do We Need Educators with a Global Perspective?

Is globalization shrinking the world, or is the growing global population expanding beyond the world’s capacity to support it? Are doors opening, or are walls being built? 

With these complex global questions increasingly defining our world, it is clear that we have a critical need for educators whose vision stretches beyond borders. The laws of physics, chemistry and biology are uniform, and recognized universally. However, rules associated with the social sciences are (happily) diverse, and messy.

Alexandra Hanlon, a UK native, teaches 4th grade at North Star Academy charter school in Newark, New Jersey through the Teach USA program.

At Cultural Vistas, we are honored to support and advance global education through a variety of initiatives.

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International Interns Give Back for J Day

Small acts, when multiplied by millions of people, can transform the world.

–Howard Zinn, Author of “A People’s History of the United States”

There is an understanding that is pervasive in the United States: the transformative power of volunteering. Community service projects and volunteer-run organizations have become as American as apple pie and baseball.

These days, community service is thought of less as a punishment and more as a type of education, a baseline for college acceptance, and a part of many national and religious holiday celebrations.

Day of Service Riverside Park
Exchange students and staff joined the Riverside Park Conservancy in New York in 2013 and have returned each year since.

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What German Work Culture Is Really Like

After a few weeks on the job in Berlin, I think I am ready to debunk (and uphold) some common beliefs about German work culture. For easy skimming, it’s compiled into a handy dandy list.

1: The dress code is a lot more casual than in the US.

This is absolutely true! I and several fellow American interns packed our suitcases to the brim with suits and business casual attire, only to find ourselves severely overdressed on the first day. My supervisor wears acid-washed jeans on the daily. I showed up the first day in business heels. Save yourself the embarrassment (and the luggage space!) by packing more casual attire.

For reference, here’s what I wore to work today and it was a-ok.

Internationaler Wirtschaftsrat Cultural Vistas Fellowship Berlin
Sanja Grujo’s work outfit. She’s spending the summer interning at Internationaler Wirtschaftsrat as a Cultural Vistas Fellow

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When Your English Teacher Isn’t a Native Speaker

“You are from Ukraine to teach English in the US?!”

The first time I introduce myself to the students I always mention that I am from Ukraine. I do it for two reasons, mainly because I am proud of my nationality, but also because I want to relate to my multilingual students. However, not all of them react positively to the fact that they have flown across the ocean, spent thousands of dollars and found a non-native speaker teaching them English grammar.

Muskie Internship Program IECP ESL Teacher
Oksana’s workplace at IECP. Gerunds and infinitives are on the agenda.

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Why I Feel Lucky to Intern In Argentina

I’ve had a hard time putting into words how fortunate I am to be living the life of my dreams. Traveling. Interning with a nonprofit whose mission I strongly support. Working with people who care about what I have to say. Being surrounded and living with strong, talented, and empowering women. Meeting genuine human beings who make a foreign country feel like home. Yes, I know. I am blessed beyond belief.

Cultural Vistas Fellow Jennifer Buenos Aires
Jennifer in front of Floralis Generica, the giant steel flower of Buenos Aires.

Every morning, Facundo, my internship supervisor in Argentina, and I sit down in the common area, sip on mate (the traditional infused drink in Argentina), and chat for a bit. Recently, I shared my life story with him. I talked to him about my upbringing and why working with Red Comunidades Rurales is so important to me.

He understood that improving the living conditions of rural people in situations of risk or social exclusion is just as important to me as it is to them.

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