AFS holds intercultural week

Kris Long, Print Editor-in-Chief

AFS club held its intercultural week from Nov. 15 to 19, taking part in a nationwide AFS event. 

The exchange students — Fredrico Mastel, Martin Cejpek, Guadalupe Bonilla Milera, Kino Otsuki, Carla Sofia Quique Guzman, Toshi Yamada, Yukino Umemura, Vareesha Zafar, Tien Nguyen and Marta Garcia Ramos — with the help of other AFS members, created poster boards about their country to present at the main event on Nov. 18, an event that was open to the public. 

“My [exchange] program actually started after 9/11 to bridge the difference between American society and the Muslim society,” Pakistani exchange student Zafar said. “So I’m actually trying to bridge those differences because there have been a lot of stereotypes about Muslims, so just clearing some off and eradicating some American stereotypes.”

Some students also created props to go with their presentations, and many provided food. 

“My favorite part of my presentation [was] definitely the handicrafts,” Zafar said. “They are handmade, and they are very much valuable to me because they’re made up, most of the time, of handmade goods.”

The exchange students are all English language learners, so for some presenting in front of an audience was stressful.

“I thought it would be scary,” Guzman said. “But the people, they’re really nice and they don’t make it uncomfortable.”

The event also included presentations from two seniors, Eszter Chikan and Ronan Tanona, about their experience in foreign language immersions programs for Russian and Arabic respectively. 

“I’m just really pleased that we had our students who’ve actually done language immersion classes willing to present,” AFS sponsor Janet Hanson said. “Because, even though that’s a little bit different than AFS, they definitely go hand-in-hand.”

The program also used it as a chance to fundraise, as Mr. MHS — their main fundraiser — was canceled. AFS sold plates of food to the public to raise money for their Christmas event in Kansas City.