In the Loop

The Newsletter of Federation EIL - Worldwide Network of the Experiment in International Living - June 2010

 

The mission of the Federation EIL is to facilitate its member organizations in the lifelong involvement of individuals in intercultural learning experiences. This process helps develop understanding of and respect for people throughout the world.

In This Issue

General Assembly takes place under the "Ash Cloud"
Weltweitblik Experiment Switzerland Becomes Sponsored Member
Anne Alvear welcomed to Experiment Ambassadors Emeriti
Wallace Scholarship Awarded
UK Volunteer Coordinator Samples VIP Program in Morocco
Experimento Brazil nominated for LTM Award
Recycling Project Benefits Ecuadorian Communities
Xu Bo China Honored by US State Department
News from YES International South Korea
Experimenters to Guanajuato, Mexico celebrate their 50th Anniversary
New Addition to the Experiment Family
SASTS join the world cup fever!
AIPC Pandora Microprojects 2010
Links of interest

General Assembly 2010 - EXPECT THE UNEXPECTED!

GA Group Photo in ParisUnder sunny and very quiet skies, the 2010 General Assembly took place in Paris from April 18-22. The lovely spring weather was perfect and not unexpected, but those quiet skies certainly were. Quiet, since the volcanic ash cloud from Iceland's erupting volcano closed Charles de Gaulle airport, and several other major European airports on the day before the GA and kept them closed until the last day. Sadly, many of our Federation members were stranded in airports around the globe and some never were able to leave their home countries.

Despite Mother Nature, 23 delegates from 13 countries (Argentina, Brazil, Chile, China, Ecuador, France, Germany, New Zealand, Russia, South Africa, Switzerland the UK and the USA) made their way to Paris where they were graciously hosted by colleagues at CEI – Centre d’Echanges Internationaux and the terrific staff at FIAP Jean Monnet.

In true Experiment fashion, agendas and schedules were quickly adjusted to accommodate the unexpected circumstances and all those in attendance rallied round to make sure that the meeting was both productive and enjoyable.  Our special thanks to Guillaume Dufresne, Jose Luis Ponti, Joelle Lamouroux, Peggy Oliva and everyone at CEI for their countless hours of planning, and then the countless hours re-planning.

View a slide show of some GA highlights!

return to top

FEIL Welcomes Weltweitblick Experiment Switzerland as new Sponsored Member

Dr. Martina SchmitzWeltweitblick means World-wide View in German, and Weltweitblick – Experiment Switzerland is Federation EIL’s newest member.  We extend a warm and hearty welcome to Martina Schmitz, a former Experimenter to the USA who has founded Weltweitblick in the true spirit of The Experiment. 

Quoting from the mission statement of Weltweitblick – “One of the important principles of The Experiment in International Living is: People of different countries, societies and cultures who experience everyday life with one another understand each other better.  They understand their concerns and problems and also their joys.  They understand what makes people different from each other but also what unites mankind.” 

Members of the General Assembly first had the pleasure of meeting Martina when she attended the GA in Rabat in 2009 and then again in Paris when she came, along with her husband Markus Hugelshofer , to update everyone on the progress being made during this first year of Weltweitblick’s existence.  With guidance and support from Experiment Germany, Martina intends to build the organization slowly and carefully and will focus, for the present, on developing the outbound volunteer program.  Weltweitblick is off to a very auspicious start.  During the first half of 2010 there are 10 Swiss volunteers participating in the VIP program and another 20 on tap for the months ahead. 

return to top

Anne de Alvear Honored Anne Alvear with the EIL Ecuador Staff

At the GA in Paris, the members of Federation EIL recognized Anne de Alvear for her devotion to the mission, ideals and programs of The Experiment in International Living. As founder of The Ecuadorian Experiment in International Living and its National Director for the past 33 years, Anne built and led an organization that represents the very best of what The Experiment stands for.

The members unanimously supported her admission into the College of Experiment Ambassadors Emeriti – an honor reserved for those distinguished individuals whose vision and commitment helped to nurture this very special organization that is dedicated to building peace through understanding.Previous inductees include John Wallace, Meliha Toros, Barbara de Gomez, Phyllis Watt Ingersoll, Shigeru Yamamoto, Renza Rosso, Amarish Trivedi, Agustin Castellon, Kamil Toros and Alvino Fantini.

Although Anne is retiring from her official position, she will always be part of The Experiment and the thousands of Experimenters whose lives she has touched. She is our valued friend and colleague and we wish her and her family the very best in the years ahead. She is pictured in the center of the front row with the EIL Ecuador staff.

return to top

John A. Wallace Scholarship Winner

We are pleased to announce the recipient of the Wallace Memorial Scholarship to Argentina in honor of John A.Wallace, the former Secretary General of Federation EIL, Executive Vice President of The US Experiment in International Living and founder of the School for International Training. Beatrice Walker from Germany has been selected from a pool of qualified applicants from the UK, Ireland and Germany. Beatrice is 24 years old and has studied to become a teacher. She wanted to explore schools in different parts of the world as well as learn a new culture and support cultural exchange between Germany and Argentina.

During the volunteer project, she will be working in an elementary school in Chicoana Argentina. It is a small town about 45 km from Salta, with a population of about 1,200 in the town and 10,000 in the surrounding areas, with farms and homes near the mountains and rivers. Most people living in the area are rural workers with low incomes, working with tobacco, bean and corn crops. The 400 children attending the school are mostly from these rural farm families.

We are indebted to Jean Wittman and EIL Argentina for sponsoring the 2010 Wallace Scholarship and for reminding us of our dear colleague, Jack Wallace, who spent a lifetime supporting The Experiment in International Living and promoting international, educational exchange around the world.

 return to top

Ann Pritchard, Programme Co-ordinator EIL UK took part in a Volunteer International Programme to Rabat, Morocco, 8 -14 February 2009

I went to Rabat on Sunday 8th February, to do have a ‘taster’ week volunteering, so I could better understand some of the challenges that might be faced by prospective volunteers. This seemed only reasonable given that it’s a large part of my job to send people to far-flung places to work.

It was certainly eventful.  After leaving my passport on the transfer bus at Charles De Gaulle in Paris on the way out, and nearly having to bebeing deported back to the UK, I finally arrived (obviously without my luggage) in Rabat several hours late.  The bank at the airport was closed by this time and of course Dirhams can’t be bought outside Morocco.  I had no money at all.  Luckily, because Air France had lost my luggage, the nice lady at the Air France information desk gave me 400 Dirhams for having to come back and collect my suitcase when it was found.  I used this for the taxi to the hotel, otherwise things could have got really interesting!....Click to read Ann's full account of her time in Morroco volunteering at a Day Care Center and enjoying the hospitality of her homestay family.


FOLLOW UP:

In December 2009, the staff and Board of EIL UK elected to make a donation instead of sending Christmas presents to each other. The donation was sent to AMSEFL in Morocco, a Day Care Center for children with special needs, where Ann spent her time on the week 'taster' program. The gift was used to purchase a digital camera, something they had wanted for a long time but could never afford. The staff at the center are now able to use photography as an effective tool to monitor and mark the progress of the children, as well as for other purposes.

return to top

Experimento Brazil Nominated for LTM Star Agency Latin America

The Language Travel Magazine Star Awards or LTM Star Awards are unique peer-voted awards in the international education industry. The awards acknowledge the important mutual links between organizations that offer work and education experience to international students and those organizations that send students overseas for an international study experience. Federation EIL is pleased to announce that Experimento Brazil has been nominated for the award for the third time.

Betty Woodyatt, speaking for Experimento Brazil says : "It is an honor for Experimento Brazil, for the third consecutive year, to be nominated for LTM Star Agency Latin America.  This nomination is the utmost recognition that Experimento has been working in the right direction for all these years and it would not have occurred if it were not for the trustful and great partnerships we have developed through our 46 years of work providing high standards international educational programs and quality services to our customers in Brazil. We would like to thank all our partners who believe in our work and voted for us."

Federation EIL wishes Experimento the best of luck at this year's award's ceremony! To see last year's nominees and winners, click here.

return to top

Recycling Project Benefits Ecuadorian Communities

Volunteers in Ecuador began a recycling project in the north central part of the Pichincha Province in 2006.  They began their campaign by teaching workshops and presenting videos in three rural schools educating the students about the benefits of recycling to the environment and to health. Following the workshops, the volunteers Volunteer recycling in Ecuadorian elementary schoolbegan a system for collecting paper and plastic in the schools. The Experiment in Ecuador also supported the project by providing monthly collection of recycled materials during their visits to volunteers.

Since 2008, the project has had additional volunteers and increased the campaign to include more schools. Posters and flyers were distributed and recycle bins are now placed in 26 schools. The improvements to the communities are apparent, and many parents are cooperating by doing their own recycling and abandoning the practice of burning plastic, paper and garbage waste. Every Wednesday the children continue to collect plastic and paper from their schools and communities and bring the waste to central locations for collection. The EIL local coordinators actively participate to continue the campaign begun by the volunteers.

Click here to read the story of how the project was initiated written by one of the original volunteers.

return to top

Xu Bo Art and Culture Exchange honored by US State Department

On 28 May, 2010 Xu Bo was honored to accept a certificate of appreciation from the United States Department of State. The presentation was made by Ms. Maura M. Pally of the US State Department's Bureau of Educational and Cultural Affairs (ECA). The certificate was presented at a meeting in the Shanghai offices of the United States Consulate and intended to show the United States government's "...heartfelt thanks and appreciation to Xu Bo Arts & Culture Exchange... for promoting mutual understanding between the United States and China through its support of the NSLI-Y program in Shanghai and Zhengzhou."

NSLI (National Security Language Initiative) for Youth is a language learning program for American high school students sponsored by U.S. Department of State, Bureau of Educational and Cultural Affairs. During the summer of 2009, Xu Bo hosted a group of 15 NSLI-Youth students for a six-week intensive Mandarin program. In the summer of 2010, Xu Bo will host 40 students, 20 of them will be placed in Zhengzhou and 20 of them will be in Shanghai.

The NSLI students receive Mandarin lessons five days per week. In the morning, they have an intensive Mandarin lesson which aims at improving their competence and understanding of Mandarin grammar, vocabulary and reading skill. In the afternoons, they take culture courses to learn about Chinese calligraphy, painting, paper-cutting, martial arts, and history. Later in the day there is another intensive Mandarin lesson focusing on listening and speaking skills.

During the program, the NSLI students make four sightseeing trips to Beijing, Suzhou, Nanjing, and Hangzhou. These cities have important historical significance and help the students learn more about Chinese culture. Weekly during the program, there is also a practical (and fun) language activity for the NSLI students which gives them a chance to practice their oral Mandarin. These activities have included things like bargaining with vendors in the Yu Garden market in Shanghai, and participating in a Chinese banquet.

Xu Bo Art and Culture Exchange also hosts the Federation's Volunteers for International Partnership program in China. More news about this summer's NSLI program follows from YES International Korea. Read on.....

return to top

News from YES International - Things are "heating up"!

Just like many other organizations organizing programs for youth, the staff at YES International have been busy with final preparations for different programs that started or will be starting soon. Unlike other years, summer 2010 will be keeping everyone at the office on their toes as the number of local and international youth participating in both inbounding and outbounding programs of YES International have greatly increased. With the increase in the number of teenagers going to France for workcamp, more youth going to International camp in the U.K., and a drastic increase in number of international youth visiting Korea through YES International, the YES office will be on “fire” from the heated office. A couple of programs have been high-lighted below.

Anyeonghasaeyo (Hello) Korea!

On a late evening in early June, YES International welcomed 29 American students to Korea. These 29 Americans are U.S. citizens who are undergraduates, master’s or doctoral students who are recipients of the funding to participate in beginning, intermediate or advanced level Critical Language Scholarship Program. These recipients are expected to continue their language study beyond the scholarship period and later apply their critical language skills in their professional careers.

During the past months, YES International was able to expand the local network outside of Seoul. With the support of Jeonju City Government, host families were successfully recruited. The host city, Jeonju City, the heart of traditional Korean culture, was very supportive with the preparation for the CLS program.

After a restless night, the CLS participants spent a long day attending the welcoming ceremony and orientation. The group however, was not tired, to join the rest of Korea to cheer for the Korean National Soccer team in one of the biggest match in the FIFA WorldCup for Korea. Although the Korean team lost, the CLS participants were excited to be able to join the “Red Devils” in cheering for the Korean team. The CLS participants have now gone to their “home” city Jeonju where they will be spending the next 8 weeks studying the language and getting acquainted with the culture.

NSLI-Y 2009 ... and 2010

“I love DBSK.” “2AM and 2PM becomes a day!” were some of phrases often used in the bulletin created for the students coming to Korea on the National Security Language Initiative for Youth (NSLI-Y) last summer. The coordinators at YES International would stare at the block letters trying to make out what they meant only to find out later, that they were names of Korean K-pop stars.It was amazing to see how influential Korean celebrities were in foreign countries as many of the NSLI-Y participants got to know about Korea through their favourite Korean pop-star.

The students participating in the NSLI-Y program returned to America after spending almost 11 months in Korea. During the 11 months, these students spent 2 semesters in a local high school either living with Korean host families or staying with Korean roommates in dormitories. They were involved in diverse cultural activities and excursions throughout their stay to understand the Korean culture better.

This year, the number of students who will be coming to Korea as the second group of NSLI-Y students, have increased in number from 37 to 48! With the students scheduled to arrive on June 28, YES International is in the final preparation phase before meeting with the students. Together with the other host families, schools, and other organizations involved, everyone involved in anticipating to meet with all 48 of them.

return to top

Experimenters to Guanajuato, Mexico celebrate their 50th Anniversary

The Atomic 13, as they like to call themselves, are a group of 13 Experimenters who, along with their leader, Kelso Wessel spent the summer of 1960 in Guanajuato.  To mark their 50th anniversary, ten members of the group along with several spouses, came to the World Learning campus in Brattleboro to reconnect, remember and rejoice in the experience that originally brought them together as young college students. 

While on campus they got a taste of the International Experiment today from Ilene Todd and heard wonderful stories from Chris Frantz who described how the program has grown and evolved over the past half century.  Of particular interest to the group was the fact that the homestay, which they consider to have been the most valuable part of their program, has remained an important component of all the summer programs.  They were also extremely pleased to learn that today almost half of all participants receive scholarship assistance thanks to the generous support of so many donors. 

When asked how The Experiment impacted their lives, Kelso Wessel spoke for the group.  He recounted his own story which began in 1955 when he participated in a 4-H exchange program.  Then, as a university student looking for something exciting to do, he came upon The Experiment and applied for a group leadership position.  He led three times – to Mexico, Chile and England.  Kelso then completed his MA and PhD in International Development and has devoted his professional life to teaching and international work in his field of specialty, Agricultural Economics.  Together with his wife, Judy, he has visited almost 70 nations, had several long term overseas assignments and has led a number of student academic programs abroad.  Judy is quick to add that a homestay is part of every program they organize. 

The Atomic 13The Experiment, Kelso believes, is a great force in introducing young people to different cultures and has a great impact on their lives.  For him, it was his first EIL program that helped to develop and solidify a direction that he has pursued for the rest of his life.  Most of the other group members nodded their agreement and it was clear that everyone in the room had been similarly touched by their early Experiment experience.

The group then gathered for a photo – one of many taken this weekend.  Seated are The Experimenters:  Bill Burstein, Dianne Dynia Giglietti, Sandra Sacia Lewis, Joan Scott, Candelmo, Howard Isaacs, Eric Gerst, Tom St. John, Susan Daley Lohse, Kelso Wessel and Steven Drysdale.  Standing are spouses:  Arline Burstein, Bob Giglietti, Phil Candelmo, Lisa Isaacs, Cynthia Drysdale, Carol Gerst, Laraine St. John and Judy Wessel.

return to top

THANK YOU!

Federation EIL Vice President Bettina Weidmann and her husband Joe Ritzer, announced the birth of their first child, Emilia, in Early April. Following is a message of thanks and a picture of the new member of the Experiment family. Emilia at 9 weeks

Dear Federation colleagues and friends,

Joe and I want to thank you for all of the good wishes that have reached us after the birth of our daughter Emilia on April 2nd.  We were overwhelmed by the all the cards and gifts that you have sent for her.

Thanks also for all the offers to accept her on your exchange programs. We haven’t signed a contract, yet, but you can rest assured that if she ever goes on a program, it will be an Experiment program!

But before we send her off on her first exchange, we are enjoying every single minute with her, especially those minutes when she is happy, smiling, and telling us her stories in a language that we are getting to know better from day to day. Thank you for your warm welcome for this new Experiment family member. Best wishes from Bonn!

Bettina, Joe and Emilia

return to top

SASTS join the world cup fever!Staff and volunteers at SASTS during the opening days of the World Cup

Painted faces, matching t-shirts, the hum of the vuvuzela and an electric atmosphere...and that was just at the SASTS office!  Cape Town city was something else altogether.  On Friday 11 June, the very colourful SASTS team headed out together, into the fan-fray, to support Bafana Bafana (Team South Africa) who were playing against Mexico.  The cackling explosion of joy that ran through the country when they scored their first World Cup goal was overwhelming, and many tears of joy were shed around our land. Even though the game was a draw we left feeling undeniably and proudly South African. 

The Soccer World Cup is most certainly here, Cape Town is alive with tourists, dancing in the streets, the sound of vuvusela’s filling the air and we wouldn’t want to be anywhere else.  GO BAFANA! 

Micro-project of International Cooperation, the achievement of active citizenship

AIPC Pandora, FEIL's Spanish partner, works to promote cultural exchange and development of an active and conscious citizenship which acts as an engine of social change and as protagonists of the integration between cultures. To achieve these goals, AIPC Pandora promotes micro-projects of international cooperation during the summer, which have experienced significant growth this year in terms of number of destinations, projects being offered, and participant numbers.

For 2010, AIPC Pandora has developed 11 micro-projects in 8 different destinations in which over a hundred people will participate as promoters of social change and multipliers of their experiences in their environments. As an alternative to traditional development models, the Micro-project has emerged as a model of growing acceptance among citizens, with proven validity to generate cultural exchange and the resulting social change.

Perhaps one of the most important aspect of these programs is the achievement of the civil society union through the involvement of enterprises and universities. In 2010, private companies have taken steps towards direct involvement in the program through the promotion and financing of specific projects for their employees. Universities have done the same among their students, so that they are able to participate in these projects complementing their formal education adding relevant experiences for their future as individuals, professionals and conscious and active citizens.

Nigeria, South Africa and Chile are among the destinations for the development of Micro-projects of International Cooperation, in collaboration with FEIL members.

Links of Interest:

EIL Ireland Travel Grants 2010 - Go to their website to learn about the awards and the 2010 recipients

"Working together to halt the loss of biodiversity" - On 28 April, the United Nations Conference of INGOs, the Parliamentary Assembly and the Congress of Local Regional Authorities signed this joint declaration to respond to the urgent need to halt the loss of biodiversity.

EIL Intercultural Learning Spring Newsletter with a focus on human trafficking

Travelling Naturally and Green Earth Guides

UN Economic and Social Council 

UN Millennium project

UNESCO Culture of Peace  

Council of Europe

Every Human Has Rights Campaign

NAFSA Resources for Study Abroad offices

return to top

Federation EIL News