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On Friday approximately 70 students from Monterey, Seaside and Carmel and their teachers participated in a wide range of activities designed especially for the group. The goal of International Education Day is to celebrate the benefits of international education and foster an interest in younger generations to explore international studies. It is hard to think of a better place to do that than at the Monterey Institute, where one in every three students comes from outside the United States, and most US students have some experience either studying or working in a different country.

At one stop, the high school students entered Kinnoull House for a cultural fair where 23 international students shared information about their home countries. Students could for example learn about the ancient culture of Iraq, move on to Japan to taste typical street food, and then on to a presentation with photos of a traditional wedding in Vietnam. Other stops included a multilingual fair where groups of two and three students at a time got a private lesson in Russian, Spanish, French, Arabic, Japanese or Chinese, and then another fair where Fulbright scholars and Peace Corp volunteers shared their experiences.

For the Monterey Institute, this sort of multicultural exchange is an everyday fact of life, but for local high school students, it’s a window into new cultures and new ideas about the world and their place in it. In the end, though, it was hard to tell who enjoyed the experience more – the high school students, or the MIIS students who had the opportunity to interact with local young people and the chance to share their culture with an interested audience.

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Jason Warburg

Eva Gudbergsdottir