World Language Day emphasizes the importance of travel

Students eagerly wait for the World Language Day Panel to begin
Students eagerly wait for the World Language Day Panel to begin

On PHS’ annual World Language Day celebration, panels made up of students and teachers who travelled overseas last summer shared their stories about going on a foreign exchange trip and answered questions from the audience about their experiences.

According to organizers, this event aimed to “create a platform for our student and staff travelers to highlight their experience abroad and talk about how learning another language and being immersed in another culture has positively impacted their lives.” 

The Sept. 8 occasion held in the auditorium included a video showing highlights from the summer exchange trips to France, Germany, and Costa Rica. Afterward, a panel of students and teachers who went on trips shared their experiences about travel and being immersed in different cultures. 

“When you travel to a different country, you get to see the world through a completely different lens,” said PHS Sophomore Austin Carnahan, one of the panelists who went on the German exchange trip. “You are raised into a certain culture. So when you travel to different countries you get to see what other people are born into and raised into and you really get to see their world in comparison to yours.”

A panel of students and staff answer questions about their experiences abroad.

“By traveling, I have been able to view life through a variety of lenses and it has opened up my eyes to new experiences that I wouldn’t have had otherwise,” Gustavo Correa, one of the German exchange trip chaperones, said. “Traveling has enriched my life in more ways than I ever expected.”

Many of the other panelists at the event agreed on the fact that traveling, whether it be with the school or not, is an opportunity to truly immerse yourself into another culture and to learn to appreciate a different way of life.

“My trip on the Inca Trail definitely made me appreciate all the amenities that we have and use on a daily basis, such as clean, running water and electricity,” Spanish teacher Jamie Stirlen, who trekked on the Inca Trail to Machu Picchu, said.

Stirlen explained that for the four days of the trip, they had no access to these conveniences and that their guides had to boil their water before it could be used.

“It was amazing how the meals they served us were so tasty with their limited cooking supplies,” Stirlen said.

Living on a diet of simple, yet delicious Peruvian fish and potatoes, Stirlen said, “This trip taught me to live life simply. You don’t need a lot to be happy and enjoy life.”

Last summer, students had the opportunity to travel to Costa Rica and live with Costa Rican families for 11 days. Students attended language classes, went on excursions, and fully immersed themselves in the “Pura Vida” or simple way of life.

“On these trips, I get to watch students grow not only as language learners surrounded by Spanish, but also as human beings who are becoming more independent, adventurous, and open-minded with every new experience and interaction,” Stephanie Eide, the organizer of the Spanish-speaking exchange program, said.

Eide, who also was the main organizer of the World Language Day event recommended that all students take advantage of travel opportunities in order to immerse themselves in a different language and culture. 

“They will become more understanding human beings while also getting better at speaking another language, which opens up connections to literally thousands of new people they would have never been able to communicate with before,” Eide said.

“Perhaps most importantly,” Eide said, “students will become more tolerant and accepting of other people whose cultures are different from their own.”

Principal Tony Medina’s wife, Lisa sings her brand new Spanish songs to an audience of world language students.

Palatine’s World Language Day came to an end with performances by Lisa Medina, who wrote two songs in Spanish, and Brianna Tellez and Evelyn Marin, who each showed off their talents by singing mariachi music.

Overall, World Language Day was a day where both students and teachers shared their life-changing experiences with language learning and travel in order to convince more people to take this next step in their lives.

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    DinaSep 15, 2023 at 8:54 pm

    Amazing article