So, in one of the most wonderful/awful parenting moves ever, I recently put my daughter on Royal Air Maroc flight to Casablanca so that she can live in Morocco for 2-1/2 months. She’s doing a gap year between high school and college. Because she has some significant goals (learn to speak Arabic and understand Arab culture), we concluded that the best way to do that was to go live there for a while. Of course that was six months ago and the whole thing felt safely far away (both geographically and chronologically).
However, September 1st eventually rolled around and the next thing we know, we’re at JFK waving goodbye as she walks through security. Sending your 18-year-old off for several months in Rabat is not the same as moving them into a college dorm, believe me.
But we didn’t do this foolishly … we used Projects Abroad to provide a connection to a family, Arabic teacher, and volunteer project placement. They gave her lots of preparation advice before she left, met her at the airport, and have provided a support group to help her learn her way around and understand how to be an American living in a different culture.
And sure, it’s been a hard first week. But Cory’s blog is really funny – and she promises to write longer, more thoughtful posts when she can get her computer to the internet café this weekend. In the meanwhile, check it out.
So as an educator, this confirms my belief that schools and curriculum are missing some major opportunities. We only really learn when we take risks, embrace challenges, and consider all that the world has to offer. It is imperative that we create these kinds of opportunities for our students, our children. Not everyone has to fly off to Morocco, of course. But we have to push kids out of their comfort zones in whatever way we can.