There is an exciting development that just got underway in the En Via English Program: Penpals! We have partnered with a school in British Columbia, Canada, to exchange letters between 24 of their sixth grade students and 24 of our students from Teotitlán del Valle and Tlacochahuaya. Not only does this help our students practice their blossoming English skills, but it also provides students from both countries a chance to connect to their peers and learn more about the world.
We received our first batch of letters from Canada in September. While the concept of penpal letters may seem a bit archaic with social media, the students jumped at the chance to start a conversation. In Tlacochahuaya, they blasted through letter writing without even taking their recess! Our students, here in Mexico, were curious about what kinds of foods the children in Canada eat, what their schools and families are like, if they have pets and what their favorite colors are.
Through the penpal program, we are opening up a dialogue between children in different countries. In fostering these connections between children of different cultures, the students are discovering similarities and differences, but more importantly they are simply having a conversation. Opening up lines of communication between people generally proves to increase tolerance and acceptance, as personal ties remind us that there are some things that people everywhere have in common. We hope these conversations create connections that give the students a chance to learn about another country and its people.