Online Conversation Connects Students in Afghanistan and Massachusetts

Posted by Anna P. Mussman
November 19, 2009
Students in Afghanistan Connect Online With Students in Massachusetts

About the Author: Anna P. Mussman serves in the Bureau of Educational and Cultural AffairsYouth Programs Division.

Jumpstarting International Education Week, high school students in Boston and Jalalabad used Skype technology to meet online and discuss teen life, culture and current events. At 8:00 a.m. EST on November 5 and again on November 12, staff and students at the Beaver County Day School, located in Brookline, Massachusetts, met via Skype a group of Jalalabad students participating in the Global Connections and Exchange (GCE) program of the State Department’s Bureau of Educational and Cultural Affairs.

In the first session, Afghan students asked about American holidays and U.S. schools while the Beaver County students wanted to know more about Afghan teen life, such as interaction between boys and girls, entertainment, and how Islam affects their daily lives. During the second call, the Beaver County students asked about the security situation in Afghanistan. This dynamic discussion lasted close to one hour and forty-five minutes. One Afghan student said that they see improvements in the education, health, and reconstruction sectors, particularly in the major cities. However, they can’t visit relatives or provide help to people living in villages because the Taliban poses a greater threat in those areas of the country.

Those were the first face-to-face conversations for youth in Jalalabad with U.S. peers. According to Almas Abdul Qaum, Afghanistan GCE Country Program Director, “[O]nline discussions will clear all misunderstanding between Afghan and American communities; we will have open minded community in which people will solve their political and social problems via joint discussions.” The teens will continue their discussions about Afghanistan and U.S. policy on the Beaver County blog.

The Global Connections and Exchange program in Jalalabad, implemented by the La Jolla Golden Triangle Rotary Club Foundation, provides youth with opportunities to meet American peers through Internet applications. In addition to the links with the Beaver County Day School, American students attending 14 San Diego schools meet up regularly with Jalalabad students through Facebook.



November 20, 2009

Susie in Turkey writes:

That was great, Anna....keep it up! Inspirational...

California, USA
November 20, 2009

Michael in California writes:

This is such a valuable progam and approach. Congratulations to all involved. I have followed the development and support of education in Afghanistan because of personal interest and because of my involvement in the La Jolla Golden Triangle Rotary Club. I have seen the value of student-to-student programs such as this enriching the lives and futures of our next generation of leaders. Maybe they can improve their and our world. Let's hope so.

November 21, 2009

Qasm in Afghanistan writes:

Hi dear Anna!

How are you?

Hope you are fine and happy all the time with your all relatives.

Yes it is really good way to find the salutation way to keep save security and to lead a way for progress of education in Afghanistan. We gat more useful points from the USA students what they have idea about Afghan students and government.

We wish for more

Best luck
Qasm student in Abdul Wakil high school

Ajab k.
November 21, 2009

Ajab in Afghanistan writes:

Hi to All!

That was great discussion among us. We love to see such actions and inform ourselves from each other. Through such kind of conversations we can be familiarized with each other cultures and customs.

Rotary High School

November 21, 2009

Ezatullah in Afghanistan writes:

In the name of Allah

Hello to every one!

Desire every one fine and healthy.

This is the best valuable program between students of Afghanistan and US because they ask face to face and answer face to face too. We are pretty much happy that there is a skype online meeting between them and they improve their education and increase their encourage. And we desire therefore Afghans and US students will have other skype online meeting too.

Best regards,

Ezatullah student of Abdul Wakil high school

zain z.
November 21, 2009

Zain in Afghanistan writes:

Hello to all

Wish you all fine and healthy

First of all thanks a lot of from the member of GCEP to provide

The online skype with Americana students

And also the students of our country will be get more improvement

From this online skype and we want this online skype with Americana students forever

To shear our ideas with Americans students and also this online skype that is we have

In the week 2 days but we want to start this online skype more in the week

And earlier time our country students much struggle to find more colleagues in the world

Whereto our country loses much chances but now never be lose any chance

Have nice day

Zain from Abdul Wakil high school

Qais a.
November 22, 2009

Ahmad in Afghanistan writes:

Hello to all members of GCE!

This is Ahmad student of Abdul Wakil high school, as I was involve in the second online videoconference that we had on 19 of November was so interesting and it's an efficient chance for us to share our ideas and cultural and other information with the US students. We were really happy and we hope to have more facilities like that to have collaboration with US students.

The conversation was based on some question, which was asked by the US students, and our students answer them so happily and were enthusiastic to have more conference with them.

Best wishes
Ahmad student of Abdul Wakil high scho

South Korea
November 22, 2009

Palgye in South Korea writes:

very good.

and if can more (people, country)

Indiana, USA
November 22, 2009

Amy in Indiana writes:

I think this program sounds amazing and I wish I had the opportunity to learn and better understand another culture while I was in high school. There is a lot of misunderstandings and misconceptions when it comes to Afghanistan. This opportunity gives students the chance to see and better understand their culture from people who live there themselves. The impact is so much greater when the information comes from an actual person rather than a book you read in world history class. Furthermore, these students can take this knowledge they have gained about these students and help break down unfair stereotypes that exist. Even with the back and forth that is seen on this blog you can tell these students have formed a special bond. I think it is great that both of our education systems are working to help students understand one another. I applaud the students and schools for participating. There should be more programs like this!

Cynthia V.
California, USA
November 22, 2009

Cynthia V. in California writes:

We celebrate our Global Connection and Exchange students in Jalalabad, Afghanistan and in the US during International Education Week. Whether communicating via Skype, posting to topics on Ning, or getting to know each other through posts and individual messages on Facebook, our students are taking strong and enthusiastic initiative to exchange ideas and goodwill. They know it's a global community. They want to understand each other.

Our GCEP students are beginning to exchange language instruction (English, Pashto, Romanian) and to share published and/or original poetry on our FB page, GCEP Afghanistan.

However they connect: I follow their thoughts with interest.

Qais a.
November 25, 2009

Ahmad in Afghanistan writes:

Hello dear Dr Cynthia!

Wish you fine and well. Thank you for your interest and help, which you are doing with us. The conferences that we are having I am also an eye witness of it I was involve in it, its so interesting and efficient for us and USA students, it was a great exchange of ideas and cultural information we hope to have so. I have a request from you hope you don't mind, what if the student whom are having conference with they join the facebook with us and we will have more adventure thoughts with each others, in facebook we have so less amount of students from USA.

ahmad student of Abdul wakil high school


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