OROVILLE – Following months of discussions on the Global Connections and Exchange social networking site, Oroville High School senior Serena Carper organized a Skype call for six girls in her class and more than 15 girls in Jalalabad in Afghanistan.
The two groups prepared questions in advance that ranged from career choices to hobbies to U.S. assistance programs to help Afghan girls with their education. Nervous at first, the Oroville and Jalalabad girls finally met face to face for an hour and a half, starting at 8:30 a.m. on Feb, 10, Jalalabad time.
“The Afghanistan girls were so cheerful and kept asking us why we were being so quiet and by the end of the conference we were talking up a storm and laughing,” said Carper about the call.
While they found many things in common, such as the chores around the house and aspirations for their future, they also found some differences.
“In America we eat a lot of spaghetti and pizza where in Afghanistan they eat a lot of beans and rice,” observed Jessica McAllister, one of the Oroville girls taking part in the call.
After a debrief with the students, Oroville High teacher George Thornton said the girls “received a big dose of culture and some reality settled in about some conditions and culture in Afghanistan.”
In agreement, Carper wrote, “This was a very great experience and I hope that more girls will want to be involved in the future. As for the boys, they will be having their own video conference soon.”
The Global Connections and Exchange (GCE) is a program of the U.S. State Department’s Bureau of Educational and Cultural Affairs. GCE in Afghanistan “promotes collaborative partnerships” between secondary schools in Jalalabad, Afghanistan and secondary schools in the United States. More can be found on the web at http://exchanges.state.gov/youth/programs/connections/afghanistan.html.
Skype is a phone system that uses Voice Over Internet Protocol, or VOIP, to allow phone calls over the internet.