This week’s blog is written by Cyprus Fellow Sean Wright about the PPI-ME exchange trip and his thoughts on learning a foreign language.
Yesterday, a group of Lead4Peace participants and a few coaches embarked on the PPI-ME exchange trip for the next few days. Just like the summer camp/exchange trip that took place in Cyprus in July, the other sites will be in attendance as well. This gives the Lead4Peace kids the opportunity to experience other cultures, foods and to reconnect with friends they made at camp in Cyprus. Unfortunately, I will not be in attendance as someone has to hold down the fort here, but what I can promise is that in the next few weeks there will be blogs written by some participants and coaches into how amazing their trip was to PPI-ME (I say amazing because there is no way it isn’t).
After my graduation from Providence College in 2014, I never thought that I would go back to school. Turns out I was wrong. For the past couple weeks, I have been taking both Greek and Turkish language classes. I wanted to take these because it will help me communicate better with our participants, especially those who have a hard time speaking English. I was lucky enough to have the Home for Cooperation (the building our office is in) offer these classes so all I have to do is walk 10 feet and I’m there. Before the classes began, I pictured myself having full blown conversations in either language almost immediately. Well I was wrong. I expected it to come easy to me, and once again I was wrong. What I’ve realized is how much studying is going to have to take place in order for me to truly grasp a fraction of either language.
I have so much more respect for the the participants in all of our PPI sites around the world. Most of our sites have language barriers that can make it difficult for our coaches to get the teaching points across to the kids. Along with PPI, these kids have broken down these barriers and learned a common language, which in this case is English. Now that I am learning a foreign language, I have a deeper understanding of how much time and effort these kids have put into being able to speak English, and speak it well. I am so proud of these kids!