Majida Bargach / French

Our students are more and more eager to learn about the world.

Since the summer 2002 I have the tremendous opportunity to direct the UVa Program in Morocco. There, the students take classes of literature, civilization, attend lectures and conferences where they learn as much as possible about the country. They also take trips around the country. But in their view point that I share, the most valuable experience is meeting with local people from different backgrounds.

My dream idea would be to take my students around the world … in Charlottesville. How? Our University town is the most incredible place I have ever seen. Each year, the city welcomes families from all over the world. I met people from countries I never had the chance to visit like Congo, Afghanistan, Burma, Sudan, Argentina, Pakistan, Bosnia, Russia and Somalia, and I learned so much from refugees or just new immigrants.

I would love to organize a tour of the world with my students in town. Once a month the students and I would spend a day with a family. The students will be asked to prepare their meeting by learning about the country of the family they will meet: its geography, history, ethnic components, political and social situation and all the elements that will allow them to connect with our hosts and be prepared to learn more about them.

This exciting activity will involve a double exposure. Exposing the students to people they have never had the opportunity to meet is, and, at the same time, exposing our hosts and their kids to our great students they would never have the chance to gather with. Each one can learn from the other and our students will especially be role models for the young ones. The kids could find mentors among the group or at least be exposed to the diversity of our student, because I would like the group to be as diverse as possible.