Goodbye Nebraska, Hello World

Teachers Experience Different Cultures

While living in England, Mrs.Cari Whitehill and her family explore historical landmarks. “It was a fun experience,” Mrs. Whitehill said. “Just travel and know a little bit about what you will get yourself into.” They lived one hour north of London.

It may seem difficult to travel within COVID-19 guidelines, yet, the importance of traveling should not be forgotten. According to an article from the HULT international college of business, there are many benefits that come from experiencing other cultures. Some teachers from Gretna have traveled the world and apply their experiences to their everyday lives.
“I think it is important to travel,” library aide Mrs. Cari Whitehill said. “Everyone should try to get out of their boundaries a little bit.”
Mrs. Whitehill’s husband was a member of the Air Force for 22 years which led them to move frequently. Her family lived in Ramstein, Germany from 2000-2004 and London, England from 2012-2015.
“I was a little scared to go,” Mrs. Whitehill said. “My grandma who lived through World War II was not happy with us moving to Germany. In Germany, it was different because they would talk and I wouldn’t know what they were saying. I took a course to learn the language. In England, we spoke the same language but it was still different.”

When Chemistry instructor Mrs. Wendy Alexander was in high school, she participated in a foreign exchange program in Japan. She spent three months continuing her education at a Japanese high school while picking up the language. Here, she experienced how the education system in Japan in a school of 2000 students differed from a small town in Nebraska.
“I went to a lot of math and English classes,” Mrs. Alexander said. “I could help them with English classes and math is universal. A big difference I noticed was that at the end of every day, we had jobs. It only took about ten minutes and we cleaned the classroom. One of the biggest things I learned was the acceptance of others.”
While there may have been language barriers, Mrs. Alexander and Mrs. Whitehill were still able to connect with their acquaintances. Whether it was through music, movies or sports, they noticed that they all had different opinions to bond over. It was through this they reaped the benefits of traveling.
“Outside of your walls, there are so many different ways to live and make a living,” Mrs. Alexander said. “Teenagers are teenagers no matter where you go. We bonded over music and movies and we all have different tastes in music. It helps me when I see a student who struggles with a language or someone who recently moved to the U.S. When you never look outside of your comfort zone, you are missing a lot that the world has to offer.”
Sometimes it may feel like people are living in their own little bubble. But, one key way to grow and connect with others is by traveling and learning about diversity and culture. During the pandemic may not be the safest time, the want and need for travel will come back. National Geographic offers more information on the future and safety of travel.