One of the best educational experiences a young person can ever have is to see how people in other nations live their lives.
That’s exactly what nine high-school aged students from the nation of Hungary discovered during a two-and one-half week visit to Keystone College in June and July. The Professor Jay Nathan, Ph.D. Endowed Cultural Immersion Program at Keystone College provides opportunities for interaction among scholars from different countries and cultures. A longtime resident of Lackawanna County, a Fulbright Scholar, and a member of the Board of Directors of the prestigious Fulbright Association, Dr. Nathan’s goal is to encourage young people to visit other countries and learn new cultures and customs.
“I think the more young people learn about other nations and other cultures, the more they may be able to understand each other and come together once they become adults,” Dr. Nathan said. “That’s really the purpose of cultural immersion. It can lead to a greater understanding and the realization that we are all citizens of the world.”
The students, along with their chaperones, relished every bit of their time on campus where they enjoyed classes, workshops, and leadership/team building sessions. Off campus, they visited museums, nature preserves, a local soup kitchen, and even traveled to New York City and Philadelphia. Their visit was capped off by a farewell celebration in Hibbard Campus Center on July 10.
“I think this has been a whole new and wonderful experience for me. I loved going to the classes and lectures and meeting new people. It’s been very exciting,” said 18-year-old Emese Szabo.
Zoltan Peli, age 17, also known as ZoZo, hopes one-day to become a professional fashion designer. His journey to the United States helped fuel his creativity that he will use as pursues his education and works toward his goal.
“I’m seeing things now that I’m only used to seeing on the Internet,” he said. “This trip has really helped me grow. I realize I now want to continue to travel abroad as much as I can.”
“This is what cultural immersion is all about and why we are so proud to partner with Keystone College in this important endeavor,” said Dr. Nathan. “The goal is the same as the Fulbright Association which seeks to promote scholarship, collaborative engagement, and cultural diplomacy throughout the global community. The more we understand each other, the more we will realize how much we have in common with each other.”