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Wednesday, May 25, 2011

Crossing Bridges

It's easy to overlook many different elements of our daily lives. Either we simply take experiences for granted, or we are so immersed in the incredible amount of interactions, decisions, and opportunities we are engaged with that they are eventually obscured.

Let's take snow for example. We might all agree, even the most ardent skier, that we had too much snow this last winter. However, our two learners who immigrated from Algeria had never seen snow until two months after they arrived in Green Island. Back in North African country of Algeria they would have to travel four hours up to the mountains to find out about snow. Nonetheless, they both accompanied a bus load of fellow Heatly learners and visited West Mountain in Queensbury where the group all enjoyed tubing down the snow covered mountain. This interest in trying new experiences has served both of the Algerian learners well as they become assimilated into a new culture with unknown customs and a different climate.

Our communications director interviewed both learners today for an upcoming article that will be posted on the school district's website. I sat in on some of the interview with curiosity and admiration. I was interested in their explanation of the trials of transition and respectful of the resolve and commitment they have made while encountering a foreign environment; unable to speak more than a few phrases of English, (they are fluent in Arabic as well as French) and unfamiliar with any of the other 320 learners of Heatly.

I won't share much more of the interview. You can read it on the website soon. I was also intrigued by their experiences because my son leaves June 1st for a two and a half year assignment in Mongolia with the Peace Corps. He will live with a host family for three months to provide him with an immersion in the culture and an opportunity to learn the Mongolian language.

I am impressed with the ability and determination that our two new learners have displayed. I am similarly proud of how well the Heatly learning community has welcomed and accommodated the foreign born learners.

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