Students from Columbia visit South Whidbey

As part of a continuing exchange program, 16 Columbian high school students and three teachers will arrive on South Whidbey from Bogota, Columbia this week for a week-long cultural visit, hosted by South Whidbey High School students and teachers.

The group arrives today. Students from Colegio Santa Francisca Romana will sing, drum and dance as a way of improving cultural understanding and international friendship, helping educate South Whidbey students and the community about their country in Spanish classes, and at an assembly celebrating the colorful heritage of the South American country.

“We’ve hosted four schools over the past six years,” said South Whidbey High Spanish teacher Jennifer Gochanour. “It raises the awareness of our kids as they explore the contrasts and similarities between the two cultures.”

She added that her students are often surprised to discover that the teens from Columbia are more alike than different.

“It forces them to see their own culture through the eyes of their visitors,” Gochanour said. “And, hopefully, this process will result in their making friends for life.”

The visitors will give a performance for the community at 7 p.m. Wednesday, Jan. 6 in the high school auditorium.

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