A Close Up Look at Culture

Mr. Tafel’s social studies class got a personal look at world cultures on Friday. Several Fulbright scholarship recipients who are studying at Lehigh University visited the classroom in Nazareth High School to talk about their home countries’ history, culture, and educational systems.

The Fulbright students were Minh Pham, from Vietnam; Seraj Elalam, from Libya; Jose Gnangnon, from Benin; Mai Abdelfattah, from Egypt; Daniel Mendez, from Dominican Republic; Nellie Gospodinova, from Bulgaria; and Rohullah Naderi, from Afghanistan.

The Fulbright Program is an international educational exchange program sponsored by the U.S. government to increase mutual understanding between the people of the United States and the people of other countries.

They presented to three classes at the high school, in a small town about 20 minutes north of Lehigh that’s marked by large cement factories. Justin Tafel, the history teacher, said it was a great opportunity to bring the world to his classroom.

The students got a first-hand taste of what it’s like to grow up in a conflict area like Afghanistan or to experience the transition from Communism to democracy in Bulgaria. They also had a chance to ask questions, like about the music that’s popular in each country or what the speakers like best about the United States. After their presentations, the Fulbright students joined the high schoolers for lunch in the cafeteria, where they talked more about their different experiences.