International students at Babcock share cultures at local elementary school

3.19.2009 Global, News Release, School News

Students at the Wake Forest University Babcock School of Management are taking a local elementary school on a trip around the world.

The pupils at Cook Elementary aren’t leaving their classroom. Rather, four first-year Babcock students are bringing places such as Costa Rica and India to them.

Kent Greer, assistant director for International Students and Scholars in the Center for International Studies at Wake Forest, started the program in 2006. Greer volunteered at Cook Elementary and believed the children would enjoy having the international students visit to talk about their home countries, said Samuel R. Edwards, International Studies adviser at the WFU Center for International Studies.

“The students at Cook have loved the program and enjoy meeting the international students,” Edwards said. “The international students have had a wonderful experience and love speaking with the students and answering their questions. It is a fantastic opportunity for the international students to see life outside of Wake Forest and for the Cook students to catch a glimpse of life outside of Winston-Salem.”

Babcock students Karishma Damani and Poonam D’Souza of India, Ian Jankelowitz of Australia, and Diego Espinoza of Costa Rica have volunteered at Cook Elementary this spring.

The presentations, Edwards said, covered topics that included discussions about exotic animals, local food, public transportation, holidays and a day in the life of a local elementary student.

“Two more students, from Colombia and Syria, are scheduled to present at Cook Elementary later this month,” Edwards said. The program is flexible and accommodates the schedules of the international students at Wake Forest and the students at Cook Elementary.

Espinoza has enjoyed his time with the students, calling it a valuable and positive experience.

“It was very rewarding to see the engagement the children had and the interest they developed for my country after the presentation.” Espinoza said. “It was also very valuable for me to see the environment the children of Winston-Salem grow up in. I believe the children gained valuable knowledge that will enrich their education, and I think it is very valuable for them to know how children in other parts of the world live and to be exposed to other cultures at a young age.”