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Amity Institute
April 2017 Newsletter 
The Value of What We Do
We are engaged with the world, and now is the time to speak.  Through our participating Exchange Visitors and host schools we are creating experiences that reach beyond politics and party and touch our humanity.  Many participants on both sides have been concerned about how welcoming the United States appears to the world.  Is this important? Absolutely.  "The State Department reports that one in three current world leaders have been on an exchange program in the United States.  In another State Department study, 92 percent of exchange participants from Muslim majority countries reported having a more favorable view of the United States.  These programs make friends for the U.S. and expand our nation's ability to be effective and do business in the world."* 

Is it a real concern? Yes.  The current proposed budget cuts to State Department, and in particular the Bureau for Education and Cultural Affairs, could dramatically decrease our ability to host exchange visitors and a desire for exchange visitors to want to come here.  However, if we all speak up about the value the Intern or Teacher Exchange Program has had in our schools and communities, we will be heard.

Last month I sent a request to all of our participating host schools to contact their local Congressional leaders and let them know the value of immersion education, inclusiveness, cross-cultural integration and exchange programs.  The response was awesome and more than 120 Congressman signed the letter in support of the Exchange Visitor Program, delivered to the House Appropriations Subcommittee on State and Foreign Operations. 

Amity Institute will continue to reach across the globe to bring qualified, engaged Exchange Visitors to our host school and communities.  The value of what we do cannot be measured, but it can be seen in the eyes of our students and the impact on students around the world. 

*Read the full article here.

Laura Anderson
Executive Director
School Spotlight: Albert Einstein Academy Charter School


Albert Einstein Academy is a German immersion public charter school located in San Diego, California.  Founded in 2002 with just 24 students and a mission to create an international school with a German focus, AEA has grown to over 1200 K-8 students with a German immersion and International Baccalaureate Program.  Elementary school students work in both a German and English setting alternating between each language every other week.  An immersion program is essential for mastering a language fluently at a young age.  It helps children become more flexible in their thinking and embrace cultural differences. 

Recently AEA held their 2nd annual German Theaterfest where students who are a part of the elementary school's theater group performed songs and mini plays for students  and parents.  During the event, the school was presented with the C1 Language Diploma Testing Authorization.
With this new official authorization, the school can now offer the complete scope of language testing recognized by the Minters of Education and Cultural Affairs Germany, which gives proof of necessary knowledge of German for higher education in Germany.  This is a great accomplishment for AEA and will allow them to grow both as a school and international presence. 
 

For 12 years, School Coordinator Birgit Schafer has worked with Amity's J1 Visa Teacher and Intern programs, recruiting participants, providing support, and organizing cultural events for the school.  When asked why she enjoyed her job, Schafer replied, " I love the diversity of my day to day work and being able to work with people from around the world."
Interns Helping the Community
 
Last month, Amity Intern Coralie ChowWing Bom (France), took a break from her duties at the French American School of Minneapolis to participate in a "Polar Plunge" into Lake Calhoun, Minnesota.  This annual jump into icy cold waters is an event that helps raise money and create awareness for Special Olympics Minnesota. 
Coralie connected with friends and family in France, via Facebook, to raise $250 for the foundation, well over the required $70.  When asked about her experience, Coralie said, "It went so fast and was not as cold as I expected.  I am happy that I did it because it proves to me that I can have success in everything I put my energy into." 

The Polar Plunge activity has become popular in the U.S. in recent years, but is virtually unheard of in France.  It was a wonderful way to experience a piece of American culture while also raising money for a great cause.  Coralie reflected, "Doing something for someone else and not just focusing on me, allowed me to feel like I was a part of something bigger and to grow spiritually."
Virtual Exchange: Connecting Across Borders
For this year's Virtual Exchange Component of the Cultural Activity Report, teacher Olivier Dieval of Lycee Francais de Chicago flexed his creative thinking beyond the borders of his home country of France.  

Below is Olivier's summary of how he managed to bridge the gap of communication between French speaking American and Tunisian students, exemplifying the advantages of cross-cultural education and understanding. 


"Since October my class has participated in virtual exchange with a French classroom in Tunis, Tunisia.  This has been a great source of excitement for everyone.  

First each student from both classes introduced him/herself in French. Then we created a common virtual newspaper to present our schools, cities, countries, and continents.  Next, each student will share their daily experience in the classroom. 

This is an amazing and motivating experience that contributed so far to develop the practice of the French writing and to open our students' minds to other cultures, places and ways of thinking.  This is an activity that we will continue for the rest of the school year."

Thank you Olivier for being a pioneer in a classroom virtual exchange! 
J2 Corner: Ricard Marsal-Castan Makes a splash in West Virginia State Athletics!
 

It's been less than a year since Ricard Marsal-Castan moved to the United States and yet he's already making a name for himself.  Ricard and his two younger siblings are attending school in Berkeley County, West Virginia - where both of their parents- Pilar Castan-Estivill and Ricardo Pizarro - are teaching and sharing Spanish culture through Amity Institute's J1 Exchange Teacher Program.
 
Since joining his high school swim team in the Fall, Ricard has broken multiple regional and state records.  Most notably, he won the State Championship in the 500 yard freestyle race, finishing in under five minutes.  He is the first state individual champion from Hedgesville since 1999! When asked about her son's accomplishments, Pilar replied, "My kids are athletes. It is a way of life."

Ricard was featured in the state's newspaper!
 
She went on to explain that their involvement in athletics is about more than just winning or breaking records - it is about forming and establishing values that transfer to all aspects of life including hard work, persistence, and striving to meet personal goals.  

The staff at Amity couldn't agree more! Congratulations to Ricard and his family on these momentous achievements. 
Jamaican Exchange Teacher Denise Francis Shares Traditional Jamaican Jerk-Chicken Recipe

Ingredients
-3 tablespoons dark rum
-2 tablespoons water
-1/2 cup malt vinegar
-10 green onions, chopped
-4 garlic cloves, peeled, chopped
-2 tablespoons dried thyme
-2 Scotch bonnet peppers or habanero peppers with seeds, chopped

-2 tablespoons vegetable oil
-4 teaspoons ground allspice
-4 teaspoons ground ginger
-4 teaspoons ground cinnamon
-2 teaspoons ground nutmeg
-2 teaspoons salt
-2 teaspoons ground black pepper
-2 teaspoons dark brown sugar
-1 cup ketchup
-3 tablespoons soy sauce
-2 3 to 3.5 pound chickens, halved lengthwise, rinsed, patted dry
-1/2 cup fresh lime juice
Instructions
 
Boil rum and 2 tablespoons of water in small saucepan for 3 minutes. Transfer rum mixture to blender, add vinegar and next 12 ingredients and blend until almost smooth. Transfer 2 tablespoons jerk seasoning into a small bowl, mix in ketchup and soy sauce to make sauce.

Arrange chicken in large roasting pan or baking dish.  Pour lime juice over; turn to coat.  Spoon jerk seasoning over chicken and rub in.  Cover and refrigerate at least 4 hours, turning occasionally.  

Preheat oven to 350F or prepare barbecue (medium heat).  Remove chicken from jerk seasoning marinade, sprinkle with salt and pepper. 
 


If roasting chicken in oven, arrange chicken, skin side up on rimmed baking sheet.  Roast until chicken is cooked through and juices run clear (about 50 min). If grilling chicken, place chicken, skin side down, on grill rack; cover and grill until cooked through (about 50 min).  Cut each chicken half into pieces and serve with sauce. 
Amity on Social Media!

Amity Institute has recently joined both Facebook and Instagram as platforms to share news, photos, and relevant resources regarding education and cultural exchange.  Please take a moment to connect with us via the links below! Also, don't forget to visit our website www.amity.org for additional information. 






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