SPARTANBURG, S.C. – Each year in January, Fairforest Elementary School holds International Day for its students. And each year international students and professors from Wofford spend the day sharing their language and culture … and answering lots of questions.
“You never know what a 7-year-old will ask,” says Sara Milani, international programs advisor. “Do you have a McDonald’s in your country? Do kids in your country play Fortnite? Our students and faculty get to share their cultures, and the experience inspires the children to be global citizens.”
This year, Wofford sent representatives from Canada, China, Ecuador, France, Ghana, Japan, Spain and Venezuela to Fairforest Elementary. The students and faculty shared photos and stories of traditional foods, clothing and holidays. They talked about popular animals, sports and games. They showed a map of the country and gave the time it takes to travel from South Carolina to their countries by airplane.
“Qilin Zeng, a senior from Japan, talked about the Japanese school system,” says Milani. “The Fairforest students were fascinated that children in Japan serve each other lunch and they have a special place to store their shoes because they don’t wear shoes inside.”
Clara Colin, an adjunct instructor of French, came to Wofford from Nantes. She shared information on the history of the French flag as well as tales of famous places to visit in France.
“It was really fulfilling,” she says. “It’s always a pleasure to practice my teaching skills. I would gladly do it again.”
The Wofford students also get a kick out of reading the thank you notes from Fairforest students.
“Thank you for taking your time out of your day to teach us about where you come from or where you visited. I learned a lot of fun interesting facts that I made sure I told the rest of my family. They enjoyed these facts also. I really enjoyed you all. Thanks for coming to my school.” Respectfully, Zuria Foster
“I learned a lot about you and your culture! I learned that Japanese students wear special hats and backpacks to let people know they are students. I also learned Chinese people go back to their homes to celebrate Chinese New Year and have a big grand family dinner. Thank you for teaching us about your culture! I would like to know more about the Great Wall of China and more about Japanese students.” By Jayden C.