One of our first tasks after the first week was to visit a local school and give presentations to them about our countries.
I had a terrible time deciding whether I should present on the entire United States, or just Chicago, with myself prefering the latter and none of the other international volunteers agreeing with me. I’ve always felt that the United States is too large (to be presented as one entity), and, as Howard Zinn said, is composed of many cultures and does not lend itself well to a homogenous representation, especially compared to, say, Japan or Korea.
The international volunteers eventually convinced me to do the entire United States, but not before I had already made a poster for Chicago. I stayed up late making my new US poster, featuring polar bears, disney land, and Barak Obama. The main argument of the other volunteers was that at the age that we were presenting to (pretty young), the kids weren’t super concerned with the accuracy or fullness of the depiction.
The presentation ended out fairly well, and we concluded by baking with all of the kids. We had French, Estonian, and Korean recipes (I was never asked to cook something, maybe because I was male? Or from the US?) I joined the Korean team and made delicious Ddeokbokki. Success! Then the kids talked about what they liked best, which was 100% the games that the Koreans brought to play during their presentation and the dance the Estonian girl did.
Lesson learned: kids need to be entertained