Global Connections help promote the cultural opportunity to international students

Global Connections connected a school group from Altoona with the Hubert Humphrey Fellows program, resulting in a stimulating day at Penn State University. The coordinating teacher, Diane Hayes, has participated many times in cultural luncheons in the past, always bringing a group of students from her World Cultures class at Bishop Guilfoyle Catholic High School, in Altoona.

On December 8, Diane and 26 students explored the Matson Museum of Anthropology. They also met with current Humphrey Fellows for presentations, group discussions, and a wonderful lunch at the Indian Restaurant Kaarma. They ended the day with a visit to the Palmer Museum.

“My students had a wonderful time learning about Angola, Algeria, South Africa, Egypt, and the Philippines… as well as exploring the two museums. So, thank you for thinking of us and making the recommendation”, said Diane.

This is a good example of how GC can be a facilitator for community involvement in international understanding.

Bob Persiko reelected Global Connections’ president

Robert (Bob) Persiko was unanimously re-elected president of Global Connections at the general membership meeting held on November 30th. Bob has been a member of GC since late 2017, has volunteered in and managed numerous activities of the organization, served as vice president in 2020, and was elected to his first term as president in November 2020. 

During the meeting, Bob told the members that he hopes GC can restart in-person meetings and activities in 2022. He also encouraged individual members to become active and consider initiating new projects that support GC’s mission. Since the beginning of the pandemic, English lessons, book clubs, and discussion groups have moved to an online format. While GC principally serves the American and international residents of central Pennsylvania, Zoom has made it possible for people in other countries, like Spain, South Korea, and Brazil, to participate regularly in activities. In 2021, some in-person social gatherings did actually happen, always with safety precautions in place. A good example is the general membership picnic in September. According to Bob, for 2022 the plan is to revive cultural luncheons and other activities that would engage members in person.  

In the elections, Sabrina Lima was chosen to represent Global Connections as public relations officer. Maryam Barzegar is the new secretary. Melanie Foster was re-elected as a former president, and Kieran Holland will continue as vice president. Bruce Truitt remains the treasurer. The service of all of these volunteers is greatly appreciated.

Global Connections online activities engage internationals and Americans

The members of the discussion group “Making Sense of the American Experience” meet faithfully every Tuesday at noon. In the final week of October and the first weeks of early November, we explored cultural differences around Halloween, the notion of cause and effect/randomness in our lives, and racial tensions. The group will gather in December at the home of one of the members for a potluck dinner to celebrate the year-end holidays.

The members of the English class are a lively group of men and women from 13 countries. In the past few weeks, we learned about “digraphs” and talked about the confusion between written letters and sounds. We’ve done lots of vocabulary building. We had a great discussion around a TED talk about the relationship between language and how we think. For written English, we examined word order and subject-verb agreement. This activity is as much about community building as it is about language learning.

Do you want to be part of one or all of these activities? Contact Bob Persiko to have more information ([email protected]).