Day With A Foreigner
In June five friends came out to visit us for about ten days. They were interested in seeing Sumatra and the people there for themselves. They were also happy to step into some of the things we do and the people interact with here. One of the ways they did this, and one of the ways they helped locals during their visit, was to plan and put on a special English learning experience. We proposed this project to our friends in Lubuklinggau in late May. They run what they call the English Study Club (ESC), a club for English students and focus on pronunciation and speaking, which are the major challenges for English students here (and, in fact, for all foreign language students).
We suggested the event be called A Day With A Foreiger, but using the Indonesian slang for
|Some of the ESC and Day with a Foreigner participants with our friends at the event.|
western foreigner (bule). Our friends with ESC planned the logistics for the event: the place, promotion, and registration of participants. They attracted English students from the city and beyond, from Junior High age through university students, and even some young professionals. We had between forty and fifty English students spend four hours with Sean, Morgan, Samuel and our friends on Saturday afternoon, June 30.
Our friends planned great activities that got the students speaking to us and each other in English. We did large group activities, like person-bingo, where they had to find people matching descriptions in the boxes on their bingo card and have them sign their name. We had several people fill their sheets, though one particular description ("I was born in Bengkulu") was true for only one participant.
We also did smaller group activities that put eight to ten students in a group with a foreigner. Some of the activities were answering "would you rather" questions (e.g., would you rather be happy for 8hrs/day and poor or sad for 8hr/day and rich?), playing "I spy," a pronunciation bingo game that tested their comprehension of similar-sounding words (like "see" and "she"), and Sean told them a story and then challenged them fill in the missing words on a worksheet (the story was the Rich Young Fool). There was also a camp song led by the father-son duo on our team.
We felt like it went well - the students were engaged in the activities and most of them really tried to speak and understand what was going on. When I asked our friends with ESC how they thought it went they were positive about it, noting that they hadn't advertised when it would end but no one left early.
Our friends enjoyed the activity because they could interact with these students more than almost all the other Indonesians they had been with - because these students spoke some English. For the students it was a rare opportunity to interact with native English speakers. We are grateful for our friends' work and courage to take on the challenge, and grateful to the ESC members at STKIP PGRI Lubuklinggau for making the experience possible.