Paying It Forward

By KATHRYN CLARKE BLACK on February 23, 2013

When Matthew first tried to convince me to apply for the internship at the Center, I was quite skeptical about if I was qualified for this and if I was ready for all the work Matthew had to do for it. After he basically dragged me through the application process when, I met Sarah for my interview, I realized how much I would really like to work there. I loved the environment and the idea of teaching a club at the Young Scholars of Central Pennsylvania. The school and how exposed they are to different cultures reminds me of the school that I grew up in. It was a small college town and there were a lot of international professors whose children were my friends and classmates. We experienced language education from a young age and participated in many multicultural activities. I was part of a Bhangra group and we performed at a benefit concert for tsunami relief and we were an exhibition group at Pao Bhangra at Cornell University. I was really excited when I found out that one of the opportunities would be to continue educating young people about world cultures.

We have been teaching a French and Francophone Cultures club to third through fifth graders. I wanted to do this club because I felt like I had the most knowledge about French and Francophone culture after spending a summer in France and a semester in Belgium. It was very exciting to hear that the kids in the club already have knowledge of France and a few have already been there. It has been an interesting journey so far to try and figure out what to teach the students without boring them to death. Also neither Matthew nor I really want to be the disciplinarian so there have been times where it gets a little unruly but I think we are getting the hang of it. The French Revolution was a big hit especially with the use of cupcakes as props. We also did a lesson on Mardi Gras which was fun for me to reflect on my Mardi Gras spent in Belgium last year.


So far this internship has been going really well and now that THON season has ended I will be able to give all my attention to the position and my best effort to the work. I am looking forward to continuing to learn about this field and grow through my assignments and the teaching of the club. It has been a great time getting to teach the students and is a good way to forget about some of my other stresses in the time that we are there. I am very excited for the WUN conference at the end of the semester and I hope to learn a lot from attending the presentations. After attending a Brown Bag talk I realized that I can learn more from those presentations than I do in some of my classes. Being able to continue my global education while at Penn State is great. I am very thankful to have this opportunity and glad that I was pushed to apply, now I am passing that along to my roommate who saw the pictures from the French Revolution day and is interested in the position.

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