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Mansfield Children Take a "Trip" Abroad

Mansfield Children Take a "Trip" Abroad(Posted: October 17, 2012)

More than 100 elementary school students in Mansfield got a look at a world beyond the borders of the nation, thanks to a visit from a group of college students and faculty from the University of Arkansas - Fort Smith.

The UAFS group included six students from Japan who are at UAFS for a semester through the American Cultural Experience program – Yukie Takashima, Ayaka Okubo, Maika Kawaguchi, Saori Fukuda, Saki Suzuno and Yuzuki Hayashi.

Also making a presentation to the youngsters was Brock Holland of Fort Smith, who is international student and scholar adviser at UAFS. Holland spoke about a recent trip he made to India as well as his other study abroad experiences. In addition to speaking about the culture, language, food and architecture of India, Holland showed the students items made in India.

Jia-Hui "Peggy" Li from Taiwan, a Fulbright Language Teaching Assistant at UAFS, showed a video she created which shows ocean fronts, mountains and buildings of Taiwan. After her presentation, the children worked in teams to solve a puzzle using information from the presentation, complete with prizes. Li also taught the children numbers 1-10 and demonstrated a musical activity using the numbers.

UAFS visited the school after an invitation from Mansfield principal Sam Slott, according to Jennifer Jennings Davis of Van Buren, director of the Education Renewal Zone at UAFS and the person at UAFS who coordinated the activity.

"He is really the driving force behind our visit," she said. "He was an exchange student at one time, so he knows the value of making children aware of the possibilities that are ahead of them."

Coordinating the event at the Mansfield school was teacher Laura Holland, who also handled planning for a similar trip last year.

Holland said the students learned about many different cultures and lifestyles.

"They were able to identify the countries on a map," Holland said. "Just hearing the stories from the speakers about their lives was a learning experience."

Takeo Suzuki of Fort Smith, executive director of international relations, said the visit was good for the Mansfield students and for UAFS.

"We want to show residents of this region how global our campus really is," said Suzuki, "and this is one way we can do that. This type of visit also helps learn about different cultures in various countries, so it is very educational for them."

The mission of the Education Renewal Zone at UAFS is to collaborate with educators, students, families and their supporting communities in order to combine efforts to improve achievement and learning experiences for all students. The ERZ at UAFS is one of several around Arkansas established in 2003 by state legislation.

For more information, contact Jennings Davis a 479-788-7256.

Article by: Sondra LaMar, Director of Public Relations
Photo(s) by: Jennifer Jennings Davis, Director, Education Renewal Zone at UAFS

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