Global Families

November 2, 2010 at 11:36 AM | Posted in AmeriCorps, Class, Student Stories, Teaching | 1 Comment

Last week, I asked my level three students to write about their families. As they read aloud what they had written, I was struck by what diverse international lives my students live. While we are all familiar with globalization of the world in terms of markets, politics, and pollution, we seldom reflect on global families. These families are spread throughout different nations and  across cultural divides.

For example, a student from Cameroon revealed that he is the son of his father’s fourth wife. However, some of his brothers and sisters are in Cameroon, and his parents remained in Cameroon until their death. His family lives in more than one country. When the same student was asked about his goals, he replied that he wanted to be better integrated in American society. He plans to achieve this goal, in part, by getting married. If he stays in the United States, his marital path will be different from that of his father’s. His children, too, may have a different concept of grandparents than children with parents and grandparents raised in the United States.

Another student from the same class was born in Afghanistan. She has two brothers living in Germany and a sister who lives with her in the United States. Her sister is married and has a son. Her family is represented in at least two countries (she does not indicate whether any family members remain in Afghanistan) and is potentially influenced by three cultural ideas of family. Two other students have children and sisters who live Ethiopia.

All of the students who completed the writing assignment had family members who live in other countries. Although only about half the class did the homework, I am sure that many of the students we serve have global families. I often think about how differently people in other countries live; however, in my mind, these people are strangers. For many of my students, these people are family.

Kerrin Epstein,  Lead Teacher and AmeriCorps Volunteer

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1 Comment »

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  1. It must be so hard to live so far away from family. What a great way to celebrate family and provide an opportunity for your students to share!

    Like


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