In October Brookwood welcomed Guatemalan student Emila “Mila” Calderón (center) who joined our community for an eight-week stay. Mila is an eighth grader at the Colegio Internacional Montessori school in Gautemala City, Guatemala, and comes to Brookwood through the Experiencias Interculturales program that organizes for students from Guatemala to become cultural ambassadors for their country while attending school and learning about the daily life in the United States.
Mila lived with a Brookwood family during her visit and had a busy schedule in the school community. She spent the majority of her time going to classes as a part of Brookwood’s seventh grade (she’s part of Kent Lenci’s Grade 7 advisory group), but also interacted with students and faculty across the community. For example, Mila regularly worked with our classes of Lower School students as well as in several Music classes.
“Mila is the fifth student we have hosted at Brookwood through our relationship with Experiencias Interculturales, and we were so happy to have her join us,” said Carrie Woodruff, Brookwood’s World Language Coordinator and Spanish teacher. “This was an amazing opportunity for our students to interact with another student from abroad and make connections.” The primary objectives of Experiencias Interculturales are for the students to hone English language skills and to learn as much about New England and American culture as possible.
For our part, we benefit from having a native Spanish-speaking student teach us about Guatemala and, through daily life together, implicitly clarify our differences and commonalities. This is a chance to showcase our school and our culture and an opportunity to explore those of another. It offers a forum for our students to practice Spanish authentically, and it is an incomparable way for all involved to apply and improve cultural competency skills.