(The following appeared in the July 2009 issue of Positively Northern Nevada with Jennifer Burton http://www.positivelynorthernnevada.com/)
If you could tell 25 students from North Africa something about the America, what would it be? Ten local high school students and about a dozen host families will have that chance when 25 Algerian high school students arrive in Reno for a three week conference on leadership and media later this month.
Algeria is 99 percent Muslim and the students, who speak French, English and Arabic, will have a chance to share their their culture with ours and vice versa.
“I was impressed by their level of English and comprehension and their grasp of pretty complicated concepts of American History,” said Joaquin Roces who reviewed the essays the students wrote to be considered for the program.
Roces, who is with the Northern Nevada International Center, left for Algeria last week to meet the students and will bring them to Reno at the end of July. Once here, they’ll participate in the Algerian Youth Leadership conference, which is sponsored by the U.S. State Department.
In addition to the Algerian students, ten local high school students will also participate in the program. “I think it’s going to be a very interesting dynamic in exchange between the American students and the Algerian students,” Roces added.
Each Algerian student had to write an essay in English to be considered for the program. One 17 year old boy says in his essay that he looks forward to exchanging ideas and learning about America. He also likes soccer and watches NBA basketball, which he calls “spectacular.” Another 17 year old is excited about the chance to meet people and learn to communicate across cultures.
The students will learn about media and how it fits into society, and each will help produce a three minute mini-documentary. Local families who signed up to host the students will get a chance to learn about Algeria and meet kids who they might not otherwise come in contact with. Be sure to check back on PNN for more about the program after they arrive in Reno.