Miramonte Students Exchange Culture with GSE Ambassadors

Maya Sherne, Breaking News Editor

In January, Miramonte students were visited by friendly new faces.  Global Student Embassy, a program that “promotes peace and equitable development by connecting young people from around the world through innovative workshops and service learning exchanges” came to Miramonte.

The students, representing Ecuador and Nicaragua, act as ambassadors while practicing grassroots international relations by identifying local issues, and collaborating with global peers.

“For the community, it’s always good to be able to talk with other people and see how they live and the differences in their lifestyles and their expectations,” Spanish teacher Carla Unroe said.  “I think that people see how much people have in common.”

The six students from Latin America focus on four main goals: environmental restoration and sustainable agriculture, action education, youth leadership and development and cross-cultural exchange.

While focusing on environmental restoration and agriculture, students build school and community gardens, contribute to local and international reforestation project and create community partnerships to preserve and restore bioregions.

This year, the local program in Nicaragua focuses on organic agriculture, and the local program in Ecuador focuses on environmental restoration and reforestation.

“I love the idea that they are here for a great purpose, to broaden their knowledge of organic farming,” Unroe said.

The students have international community-to-community exchange trips, and participate in grassroots international relations.

“Each January, scholarships funded by our generous supporters, enable student representatives from our partner communities to come to California to participate in our local exchange,” Global Student Embassy Director of Programs Mallory Bressler said.

As part of GSE, students came to Miramonte, and spent a class period interacting with Spanish  students and learning about each other’s cultures and lifestles.

“Group discussions give students the opportunity to tell about their country, their culture, their youth leadership experiences, and themselves,” Bressler said.  “GSE works to break stereotypes and remove cultural barriers through building friendships, working together and representing our local cultures- I think we achieved that at Miramonte.”

Lamorinda students participating in this program will immerse themselves in the local culture of Nicaragua’s northwest village of Chacraseca.

“Our programs are structured to allow students to immerse themselves quickly into vital, ongoing, local community driven development projects while gaining a true understanding of another culture,” Bressler said.  “As students live, volunteer, and learn they will join a national grassroots social movement led by cooperatives and nongovernmental organizations aimed at bettering the life of the Nicaraguan people.”