Problem Library

Hosting an Exchange Student

Length: 3-6 hours

Discipline: Foreign Languages

Level: Any

Author: Fees, Joseph

Culture and cultural understanding are crucial components of learning foreign languages. Due to classroom time constraints, it is often difficult to cover culture comprehensively while also teaching grammar and vocabulary during the semester. Students will imagine that an exchange student from a Spanish-speaking country is coming to stay with the student’s family for a few weeks as part of a cultural exchange program. What would some of the challenges and rewards be? What should they research to be prepared? Students will think critically about cultural norms and stereotypes, research a country or region of their choosing related to the target culture, create a cheat-sheet with relevant information and present it to the class. The class presentations will provide students with a panorama of the various areas of the Spanish-speaking world including common and unique foods and celebrations, taboo behaviors and popular past times. Students research and discover numerous cultural aspects about the target region as well as contemplate cultural norms and behaviors through this problem. They will learn extensively about Hispanic cultures within a few class days and also have an opportunity to chat with a student from the target region.

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