Selma Elementary teachers Heidi Meyer, Katie Strickland, and Dani Yarborough were given an amazing opportunity through the UNC Word View Immersion Program this summer.
Every summer World View leads educators on 10-14 day international study visits to countries or region of the world where few North Carolina educators have traveled before. The experience is to broaden the perspectives of educators and increase global awareness through complete immersion into another culture.
Meyer, Strickland, and Yarborough left on July 20, for their first destination of Atenas, Costa Rica. There they stayed with different host families to fully experience the culture for the first week of the trip. During the day they worked at the area school to see education from a whole new perspective. The host families provided breakfast and dinner for the teachers daily. The following week the teachers continued their trip working at a school in Granda, Nicaragua.
“I was amazed at how much pride the students took in their school,” said Katie Strickland. “We helped plants trees at the school, and the entire community came out to help. Everyone knew how important it was to make the school a better place to learn.”
“This trip was the most gratifying, humbling and amazing experience I’ve ever had. I gained awareness to truly appreciate the little things other countries don’t have the luxury of having,” said Myer. “Although it looked like this community had so little to my privileged eyes, I was completely in awe of the way they came together, supported and loved one another. On this trip I witnessed students in minimal learning conditions, still love school. I would not change one thing about our experience, and will forever be grateful for the opportunity. I am excited to share my new insights and awareness with my students.”
Yarborough said for her that the trip was a life-changing experience.
“It did not matter where we went, community was evident, and especially in the schools” said Yarborough. “In Nicaragua we had to get off the bus and walk up dirt roads to get to the school. When we made it to the school, every parent was there to greet us and help us plant trees to use as shade for classrooms. Their lack of electricity, running water and supplies did nothing to stop them from making school a priority. My heart will forever be attached to this trip and those people.”