By Brittney Haynes/Assistant news editor

Students from Madison Southern High School traveled to Eastern on Friday to participate in a cultural experience.Students from the EKU English Language Instruction program hosted MSHS students from Todd Moberly’s modern world history class for a day of dancing, eating and learning about one another. This was about the 20th time MSHS students and EELI students have gotten together over a 10-year period.

Joy Allameh, director, started the EELI program in 1991. International students participating in EELI are not enrolled at Eastern, but most enroll after completing the five-level program, according to Allameh. This year, EELI has 24 students of nine nationalities enrolled in the program.

Moberly’s students recently studied cultures, and EELI feels it is important to immerse international students in a second-language culture, said Allameh.

In the beginning of the day, the MSHS and EELI students did not interact much. The day’s first activity changed that immediately.

Students began the day by learning dances like the hustle, the cha-cha slide and the barn dance. Many high school students learned the dances along with the international students. Maranda Witt, a senior at MSHS, said dancing was one of her favorite parts of the day.

Students then moved onto learning about different cultures. The EELI students taught MSHS students phrases and words in their native language and about their cultures.

Akinori Yano, of Japan, said he enjoyed talking with the MSHS students. He added that teaching a language is much harder then learning a language.

Amanda Cameron, a senior at MSHS, said she learned new words and about a new culture from Yano.

Students also learned games from different countries. Sothea Khiev, of Cambodia, taught the students, both American and international, the cat and mouse game along with the Cambodian song that is sung while playing the game. The game seemed to be a mix between tag and duck, duck, goose.

By the end of the day, high school and international students were hardly interacting with students of their own culture.

Moberly said his hope for the day was that the high school students would be able to put a face with the countries they had learned about in class.

Holly Burns, an MSHS student, fulfilled Moberly’s hopes. It gives her a different perspective on countries that were once only a name to her, Burns said. “It’s cool to meet someone from another country,” she said.

Moberly and Allameh both said they have noticed over the years that the high school and international students often become friends and exchange contact information. Allameh said she has had high school students come up to her and tell her about recently talking to the international student they met at a similar event 10 years ago.

Nothing has changed about that this year. Witt said she made a new friend and exchanged contact information.

Tylor Thompson, a sophomore at MSHS, said he got more out of the day than he thought he would.

“I figured because we were American (the international students) wouldn’t treat us the same, but they treat you like their own,” Thompson said.

“It’s an honor to know (the international students),” Allameh said. “We learn as much from them as they do (from) us.”

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