June 23, 2015 is not a regular school day at the Junior High school of Thalwil. Student Ambassadors from the US are visiting.
Three teenagers are sharing a table seeming rather embarrassed. They should be exchanging information about their culture. But all you can hear is silence. Neither the two Swiss nor the American student has the courage to speak first. But after a few minutes the conversation starts to pick up. At some of the other tables the situation is totally different. Three youngsters are having a vivid talk and another group of three is giggling.
Samantha Kirtikar Mazenauer, English teacher and Zurich’s chapter president of PTPI, has organized this meeting between the nine Student Ambassadors and sixteen students from Thalwil’s Junior High school. “It’s a real life chance for my students to practice their English and check their skills. Of course the 3-day homestay with Swiss families also contributes to our main goal: Peace through understanding.”
Meanwhile all students are ready to present each other, most shyness has now disappeared and it’s fun to hear about their hobbies and families. Our Swiss students are amazed by the fact that some American states have three months of summer holidays, where they only get five weeks!
The cultural exchange is a success for all the students. Some exchange social media information to stay in touch.