My experiences with Language Buddies has been an amazing experience. I have met many kids that are extremely bright and others with special gifts I wish I had. My class was very diverse with three Somali boys, two Latino boys, and a Latina girl, an adopted Chinese boy, and a little girl who has down syndrome. All of these children had their own personalities and ways of thinking which allowed for diverse words, ideas, and moments. All of these experiences allow me to reflect back on my own culture and see how what my family and friends think and believe can be very similar in some ways, but also very different. It has made me much more open to different ideas within my own culture.
One experience I had that really led me to think intensely about my own culture. I was near a young boy named Simon that was telling another girl in the class that he had three families. She was so confused because she had been raised in a “normal” household. She was raised by a mom and a dad and had a brother. Simon was explaining to her that he had a mom and dad back in China, a foster family here in the United States, and the family that adopted him. This made me step back and evaluate how I was raised. I was raised in a house with a father, mother, siblings, and pets. This is the “typical” household for a European descendant family. We are an average family but it made me think of all the friends of mine that were raised in different cultures and different family situations. It isn’t bad or good, that others are raised with more than one dad, or mom, or raised in a house where a hijab must be worn anytime a woman leaves the house. These all create such diverse and well-rounded communities and I’m glad to have been able to volunteer in a school that was such a great example of this.