Dominique Perez traveled to Salamanca, Spain, for four weeks. One of her goals was to learn Spanish and Spaniard traditions and culture. Her other and most important goal was to experience music. In a way, she understood that looking up information online and watching YouTube videos were not accurate replicas of music as it stands as cultural motif. She immersed herself by spending time with her host mother watching television, conversing about their lives, and interacting with her host mother’s church choir friends. She allowed herself to fit into the Spanish culture through dress and mannerisms such as no stretching in public. Luckily she found herself surrounded by street performers and gypsies at an international music festival which gave her more music than she thought she would encounter. Her program allowed her to take salsa and flamenco, and she absolutely loved the story portrayed in each dance. She also separated herself from the group of sixteen American students within the IES Salamanca Program by exploring the city during the day. Sometimes she walked nearly four hours near the outskirts of Salamanca and she went to markets and saw architecture like a local. While she was in Spain, she made friends with a girl from Germany who taught her about a typical European’s view of Americans. Dominique was able to communicate in Spanish and replicate Spanish customs. Also, she fell in love with music in a new way. Even though she could not understand every word of the lyrics, the music spoke for itself and revealed a Spain unspoken. She experienced tapas and pastries which were delicious and a form of Spanish pizza that made her crave Dominos. Dominique became more independent and less fearful of making change in the world. The experience in itself revealed her life goal: she is ready and eager to fight for the stability of music education in every single school throughout the country of the United States.
CEE Title: international Festival
The CEE was an International Festival, set up in a concert and presentation format. Our goal was to give knowledge about difference cultures, specifically those that were being targeted for bullying, interest the audience in learning about these cultures, interacting with people if different cultures, and exploring the opportunity of study abroad, and immerse the audience in multicultural activities. The Henry Lea Middle School gLea Club sang, played instruments, and danced to music from Japan, Mexico, Albania, Senegal, and America. Each of the gLea Club students presented one of the countries, giving general background information, cultural context, and specifics about the song or dance they would be performing to go along with it. In each presentation the audience was also given a task to participate with the performers (i.e. singing along, moving arms in similar dance movement, clapping, stomping, etc.). My colleague Daniel Robinson and I both presented on our study abroad countries (Rome and Spain). We told the students about our experiences studying abroad, how we were able to find study abroad opportunities, and how our study abroad experiences changed our lives. I also explained a bit about the Vira I. Heinz Scholarship, how it prepared me for my time abroad, and how the students in the audience could apply for it and similar scholarships in the future. Just before the last song, the audience participated in an activity inspired by the "spectrum" activity we had in our Vira I. Heinz retreat. I asked questions like "Who speaks another language?" and "Who is from a country other than the United States?" to get the audience thinking about what makes them different. I then asked them questions that would get them thinking about what makes the audience similar, such as "Who like pizza?" "Who loves summer vacation?" and more. Overall, students in the audience expressed that they would be excited to include students of cultures different from their own and to learn about and share cultures with them. Also, almost every student raised their hands in excitement to study abroad sometime in their future.