Amity Institute
February 2017 Newsletter 
From the Executive Director
 Happy New Year!
“Education is the most powerful weapon you can use to change the world.”  These words are truer today than when Nelson Mandela spoke them in 2003. An education that provides not only facts and data, but also language and culture is indeed the best tool we have for forging friendships, breaking down stereotypes, and understanding each other better. I would like to thank all of our participating schools for creating a global community for their students and families.
Amity Institute has been a leader in the sharing of language and culture for over 50 years, and will continue to work at building bridges of understanding. Our intern program brings young people from around the world into American classrooms to interact, teach, learn and share. They return to their home country with a new understanding of teaching, of American culture and best of all with new friends.
Our teachers come and share not only their native language, but their language in the context of cultural understanding. Almost every day we hear the stories or see the activities our teachers share with their students. There is no better way to break down barriers and develop fearless global learners than to engage them in thinking globally.
I believe that if we each share the value and benefit of cross-cultural learning and friendship with those who doubt the value, we can change the world.

Laura Anderson
Executive Director
Spanish Intern Featured in WA News

Amity Intern Alba Santuy was recently featured in Washington State's Skagit Valley Herald for her outstanding efforts at Burlington-Edison High School.  Alba, a native of Madrid, has been interning with students at Burlington-Edison since last fall.  To read the entire article, please click the link here

Congratulations, Alba!

Alba in action.
Teacher Spotlight: Maria Balibrea
Maria Balibrea, Teacher at Overlook Spanish Immersion School in Maryland is no stranger to the arts. Starting at the young age of 8 years old she has been creating works of art through the mediums of, but not limited to, painting, illustrating, engraving and sculpting. Her love of art led her to pursue a Doctorate in Fine Arts and from there a career in teaching. Moving from her hometown of Madrid, Spain to the United States in 2015, Maria continues to share her passion for art with American students.

Recently, we had the opportunity to see one of her paintings “Rostros al Otro Lado” which caught our eye and piqued our curiosity to learn more about her insights on the necessity of art education.
Amity: Why do you think Art Education is necessary?
MB: Art Education is a medium to develop a lot of skills. For instance, we can find different solutions to the same problem; this is creativity. Besides, the most difficult students have wonderful skills in art so we can use Art Education to help them develop their qualities. Also I have worked here with special needs students too and they achieve incredible goals through art.

Amity: What is your greatest inspiration behind your art?
MB: The Life. Everything that I read, I see, I think or I feel. Whoever is around me, every landscape or environment that involves my experiences. Every painter who I have known or who I have seen, Everything is part of my art making a great puzzle: my language.

Amity: How do you generate student excitement and interest in art?

MB: Because I love art and they know it. They perceive whenever anything is important to anybody. They are very sensitive and creative. In addition, naturally they love art.

Amity: Do you see any cultural differences in terms of art appreciation and understanding between your students in Spain and your students in the U.S?
MB: No, I think that art is a universal language that is part of human beings around the world. Every student is different and every school is different but art is part of our structure as human beings.

Amity: What was your inspiration behind “Rostros al Otro Lado”? Can you explain this painting a little more in depth?
MB: This work is a painting composed of different portraits of my students and people who I have met or seen here. Portraits are a wonderful way to understand our surroundings. Those faces are sometimes marginal faces and I like everyone to see them because normally they are invisible.

Amity: Is there anything else you would like to say about art and education?
MB: Yes, I have a dream too. I would like the education system to understand that art is not something to decorate or understand. Art is a knowledge with a different language that develops our intelligence and deeply supports our emotional and affective world.

Interested in viewing more of Maria's art? Please visit her portfolio at
Happy Chinese New Year! 

Happy Chinese New Year! In 2017, the Chinese New Year begins on January 28th and lasts until February 15th. These 16 days are celebrated all over the world with many different traditional customs and activities such as lion dances, dragon dances, fireworks, family gatherings, family meals, visiting friends and relatives, and giving red envelopes full of money. Be sure to check out your community’s calendar to see how and where you can participate in the festivities!

There are 12 signs in the Chinese zodiac, each one lasting a full year instead of one month like the Western Astrological Zodiac signs. Each sign is named after an animal, and every animal has its own unique characteristics. These characteristics are believed to describe both the person born in the year and the year itself.  

Beginning January 28th, we celebrate 2017 as the Year of the Rooster. The Rooster will characterize this year with many of its admirable attributes like ambition, pride, courage, and passion. This year, relationships fall under a sign of great honesty. We will all prove to have more passion in life, especially regarding work where we will not hesitate to roll up our sleeves in order to reach our objectives. “Always higher, always moving forward” is the motto of the Rooster and it will inspire us all to follow suit. Braver than usual, we will not be defeated by difficulties and adversities.

What year were you born? 
Click here for a quick glimpse into your Chinese zodiac sign!

Making Dad Proud! J2 High School Student Finds Academic Success in U.S.
Teacher Vasileios Tsagkalos’s son Porfyrios from Xanthi, Greece joined his father in the U.S. last August as a J2 dependent. In his first semester at an American school he has already earned the outstanding achievement of making Honor Roll status at York High School in Elmhust, Illinois.

The Tsagkalos Family received a letter from the Principal at York High School stating, "Porfyrios's grades are a reflection of a strong work ethic and a commitment to academic excellence, and earning High Honor Roll status is an indication that Porfyrios is developing a foundation of scholarly skills that will support Porfyrios throughout high school and college.  We also want to thank you for supporting Porfyrios as Porfyrios continues to strive and grow within our halls."

We are very proud of Vasileios and Porfyrios for this incredible accomplishment!

Porfyrios poses with his letter of achievement!
Delizioso! Italian Exchange Teacher Sabrina Lupoli Shares Traditional Pasta Recipe from Puglia

Olive Oil

Bring a large pot of salted water to a boil and add the orecchiette and rapini (or broccoli rabe or turnip greens).  Cook until the orecchiette are al dente, around 10 minute.

Meanwhile, heat the olive oil in a large frying pan and add the garlic, chili, and anchovies.  You can also use anchovy paste.  Fry over medium heat until anchovies are dissolved. 

Add the drained orecchiette and broccoli rabe to the pan and toss to coat in oil.  Toss briefly, then remove from the heat and serve. 

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Amity Institute · 3405 Kenyon Street · Suite 402 · San Diego, Ca 92110 · USA

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