By Katie Strickland, Global Ambassador, AYLP
Learning about different cultures and making new friends has been a common theme throughout the course of this week. Having a chance to sit down and just talk with an Algerian student is such a rewarding experience. I have learned so many wonderful things about the country of Algeria and I have realized that our backgrounds do not matter. Whether you are from the state of Nevada or the country of Algeria, as young adults we have so many things in common. Just from my personal experiences, these past three days I have learned so much and I am so thankful for the opportunity to be a part of this amazing program.
One segment that the students participated in today was visiting their community organizations for a second time. Teams Blue and Orange were assigned to the organization, The Children’s Cabinet. The Children’s Cabinet focuses on helping Nevada’s youth stay safe as well as keeping families together. The activities for today’s visit were just pure fun! While learning about all of the life changing programs and activities that the Children’s Cabinet offers, both Algerian and Nevada students were able to participate with kids in the program. It was so refreshing to see every single person participate, all differences and backgrounds put aside. After getting a chance to enjoy peanut butter Rice Krispy Treats for the very first time, the afternoon started with a group debate. The Algerian students were just as, maybe even more, vocalized than any other student. They learned that this activity was specifically designed for the Children’s Cabinet kids to let out their concerns and opinions about any situation. Once the AYLP students had a chance to voice their own opinions, they discussed the importance of a discussion and how everyone is entitled to their own opinions. The major take away from this activity was that no matter what our differences are, we all have opinions and they all matter.
The final activity at the Children’s Cabinet, I believe, was the Algerians’ favorite. This was a very special moment as the t-shirt print shop, called Cabinet Ink, allowed all of the students to make their own shirts creating a memory that will last forever. Each student was prompted to pick out a shirt or sweatshirt, ranging in different colors and styles. Once the machines were ready to go, each student eagerly formed a line to learn the process of how to get an image or logo onto a shirt. While waiting for everyone to finish, I had a chance to talk and spend time with a few students. As the radio was playing softly in the background the Algerians suddenly recognized who was singing. Taylor Swift was singing away one of her catchy tunes as we all started moving to the rhythm. This immediately brought up the opportunity to talk about our favorite singers, which everyone was familiar with. “I really like Johnny Cash, “one student said. I was elated, as I too enjoy listening to Johnny Cash.
Not only have I had a chance to be a part of this amazing program and make friends, but along the way I have learned that it does not matter where you are from in the world. We all have similarities. At the very beginning of the program it was interesting to see the differences between our countries and cultures, where as now, just three days in, it is all about our similarities.