ALAMEDA -- There is a big world beyond the Island as local students learned recently through a series of afterschool activities.
Students from Encinal and Island high schools and Ruby Bridges Elementary ate international food, took part in science experiments and learned that they could attend school overseas April 17 during the "Do Something" program.
"Do Something'' is part of the Global program which is designed to teach kids how to live in a worldwide culture. The activity was held at Encinal High School, where the nonprofit Bay Area Community Resources runs afterschool programs.
During the previous week, students took a series of classes designed to work off the globalization theme. A history class featured the life of Ho Chi Minh and the Vietnam War. An afterschool class, which advocates for student health, tackled the issue of human trafficking around the world. A science class studying the impact of global warming made an exhibit on floating gardens used to grow crops after floods devastated farms in Bangladesh.
"It's connecting the dots between these big global things and making it accessible,' said Aja Minor, who organized the activity.
Organizations representing foreign study programs were on hand to inform students of the advantages of studying in another country during the school year or during a gap year between high school and college. Minor said Globalize organizers insisted that the groups bring information on how students could qualify for scholarships given the high cost of overseas study.
"Study abroad is amazing and transformative," she said. "You have to do it, but so many people don't have access."
Minor studied in Britain and received her master's degree there. Learning the customs of another country helps to broaden an individual's view of the world, Minor said.
"There is nothing like perspective," she said. "I was talking to a friend last night, and she said that you do everything you normally do, but everything is different."
Holly ManieOskoii was on hand representing American Foreign Study, one of the best-known foreign exchange programs in the country. ManieOskoii spent a year in Thailand where she learned to speak Thai, rode elephants, spent a week in a Buddhist temple and explored the jungle. She enjoys telling students about the opportunities open to them through overseas study.
"I got to see things I would never have if I was a tourist," she said.
The Globalize activity also featured some community organizations that will work in the afterschool program this year, including the Hip Hop Chess Federation.