One teacher is about to pack up and spend almost an entire day flying to Indonesia, where she’ll then spend two weeks with 10 other teachers from the United States.
Jennifer Mason Wolfe was one of 63 total teachers in the country to receive a grant from the U.S. Department of Education to study Global Learning. She’ll be flying to Indonesia on July 17, and will remain there until July 31.
The largely Muslim country will be observing Ramadan at the time, which means food won’t be widely available from sunrise to sunset. I asked her a few questions about the fast-approaching journey. You can read her answers below and follow her experience on her blog: Travels With Mamawolfe.
What are you most excited about?
I'm most excited about going to a country that is off my radar -- I don't know much about Indonesia, and it was never a country on my bucket list of places to visit. I'm also excited to put some of the coursework I did last fall into use, and of course, to learn about global education!
What are you most fearful of?
Fearful... going to a place that is so different culturally, religiously, socially than what I've experienced before. Being across the globe from my kids. The 18-hour plane trip! Being in a culture that regards women differently.
How might you apply what you've learned when you return to the classroom next year?
I'm focusing on an essential question of the impact of human rights and social justice issues, which works well with our study of American history in 8th grade.
We examine America from 1400s through WW2, and looking at the rights, responsibilities and quest for justice that so many Americans have worked for will tie in nicely. I'll also be able to tie in current news stories and situations with what they're learning about America's past, hopefully to bring relevancy and a global perspective to the classroom.
Are there any particularly interesting food items, traditions or cultural differences that have stood out to you in your pre-trip research?
The women's issues, the covering, the heat, the language--it's Dutch-based and hard to follow structurally. We'll be visiting during Ramadan, which means no eating from sunrise to sunset. The food looks to be similar to what we consider Thai--lots of rice. I'll be in an urban area--Jakarta--then suburban for my school visit--Tangerang. I'm worried a bit about safety in such a large city.
I'm worried a bit about being culturally ignorant when asking questions--Americans are known to be brash and bold, and especially as a woman I want to be sensitive to what is appropriate. I'm worried about communication issues--I need Internet to blog (at this website) and connect with family. I'm overall feeling a bit apprehensive and just think I need to jump in and get on with it!
Are you all packed and "ready?"
No! I've gotten lots of guidebooks and have things assembled but not ready at all. Wardrobe is an issue--women need to cover, and I'm struggling with clothes to wear in their hot climate that will cover me from my elbows to below the knees. I'm not sure I'll ever feel ready--it's going to take a leap of faith.