Around the World at TYO

For any of us who have travelled, the excitement and diversity of our world never ceases to amaze and drive us. However, not everyone has this privilege. This realization immediately motivated the core focus of my summer course’s design: I wanted to share how exciting and different the world around us is, in a way that fosters my Grade 5 students’ self-awareness and curiosity.

The Grade 5 students proudly show off their work on football players and their countries’ flags.

The Grade 5 students proudly show off their work on football players and their countries’ flags.

As I began planning my classes, I felt overwhelmed: where do you start to teach about the whole wide world? On day 1, I started with the people that unite (and divide) us all: football players! As my students learned that Ronaldo and Messi do not speak the same language, questions began to flow: “How does Ronaldo say hello to his mother?” and “What is Zlatan’s language like?”

Obliging, I went through greetings from over the world. To my surprise, Suhil, one of my brightest students, taught the class “Bonjour” and “Je m’appelle Suhil.” Inspired by this show of confidence, Ameera, “princess” in Arabic, approached me shyly to ask if she could sing a song in Turkish in front of the class. It was Masa, though, who taught me how to say “sit down” in Turkish, which all my students now respond to. The confidence, curiosity and will to share of my students is genuine and inspiring.

Learning about the world also means learning to work together. For this reason, I divided my classes into groups of four or five students who each represent a continent. The North America group outlined the map of their continent on the whiteboard; Africa, Asia, and Europe followed suit. Soon enough the whole class had drawn the world together.


The students’ favourite activity, however, was the international music guessing competition. Students had to secretly pick the language of the song to be played, and had to give hints to their classmates for them to guess the correct language. The class’s favourite was Japanese! This competition quickly led into a more local cultural exchange of music. I am now learning to dance to an Egyptian hit song.

Through their passion to share what they know, and through their enthusiasm to engage with what they are learning, my students have inspired me to do the most I can to value and nurture their innate sense of curiosity. Curiosity surpasses geographical barriers and brings humanity closer together with every question. I am honoured to be a small part of the work that TYO does to give Palestinian children the world they deserve.

-Anat, Summer 2019 International Intern