Humanities Moments

Humanities Moments

We’ve all had “humanities moments” — when our lives were made richer, more poignant, and meaningful because of the insights the humanities provide.

Abroad At Home

Contributed by Olivia Azzarita

Description

A few summers ago, I volunteered at a summer camp at a local school working with children to create art and other goods to sell at a market. Most of the children came from the school, or at least the area, but there was one family at the camp that had come from Japan. The children, ages 9 and 11, spoke almost no English, and their mother, Reiko, stayed with them to translate and help them adapt to the new environment. But even she struggled with English and American culture. So I took it upon myself to stay with them the whole week as long as they were there and act as an ambassador, welcoming them to the US and helping them through any misunderstandings. Despite only having middling proficiency in Japanese, and they in English, we managed to communicate and exchange our cultural experiences. Reiko and I still keep in touch, and continue to learn from each other to this day.
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Why is this a Humanities Moment?

Because we were--and still are--constantly learning from each other, we have created an interpersonal cultural exchange. In addition, my experiences helping them with English facilitated growth on their part, especially that of Reiko's children. While at the beginning of the week they spoke next to no English, by the end they were speaking and interacting with the other children. The connections they made, not only to me but to the others, was heartwarming.

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About this Moment

Title

Abroad At Home

Subject

Because we were--and still are--constantly learning from each other, we have created an interpersonal cultural exchange. In addition, my experiences helping them with English facilitated growth on their part, especially that of Reiko's children. While at the beginning of the week they spoke next to no English, by the end they were speaking and interacting with the other children. The connections they made, not only to me but to the others, was heartwarming.

Description

A few summers ago, I volunteered at a summer camp at a local school working with children to create art and other goods to sell at a market. Most of the children came from the school, or at least the area, but there was one family at the camp that had come from Japan. The children, ages 9 and 11, spoke almost no English, and their mother, Reiko, stayed with them to translate and help them adapt to the new environment. But even she struggled with English and American culture. So I took it upon myself to stay with them the whole week as long as they were there and act as an ambassador, welcoming them to the US and helping them through any misunderstandings. Despite only having middling proficiency in Japanese, and they in English, we managed to communicate and exchange our cultural experiences. Reiko and I still keep in touch, and continue to learn from each other to this day.

Date

July 2015

Contributor

Olivia Azzarita

Identifier

abroad-at-home

Location

Collection

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