Skype call goes international

Joana Neshkova, Reporter

Students in Sam Hanley’s English class were met with an opportunity to speak to students who live over 7,165 miles away from where SHS students call home.  

On Wednesday, Dec. 2, Hanley and his students met and spoke with students from across the world face-to-face. The whole endeavor was made possible by Curtis Swedren, Hanley’s former student teacher, who now spends his time student teaching in China.

With just a webcam, Hanley’s students were connected with Swedren’s students in China with the intent to ask questions concerning a variety of topics such as education and popular culture to see how lives differ between the two countries. However, conversation was scattered among topics like the weather, fast food and sports along with education and pop culture.

“I thought it was really cool to see how their schooling is and the way their classrooms are set up,” sophomore Nate Bucker said. “I really enjoyed seeing what it was like in a different place.”

Despite a large language barrier, the students shared many laughs.

“I thought their level of english speaking was interesting,” Nate Bucker said. “Some of them could speak english so well and some of them had trouble with it.”

Students were able to communicate by typing out questions, and the webcam allowed them to mimic some of the words the other party couldn’t quite understand, such as fireworks. There was even a little bit of flirting, where one student from China asked sophomore Josie Bucker if she spoke Chinese.

“Maybe I can teach you Chinese,” he said, after sophomore Josie Bucker answered no.

“They were more straightforward,” Josie Bucker said later on. “People here aren’t as straightforward about things like that.”

While Hanley’s students were asking questions on a whim, the Chinese students had many of their questions readily prepared. These questions were all essentially the same, asking things such as, “Do you like music?” “Do you celebrate Christmas?” and even, “Have you ever eaten dumplings?”

Chinese and American students alike expressed a great interest in pop culture, especially music.

“I thought it would be a lot more controlled and strict, but they’re just like us,” sophomore Jadin Benge said. “They were kind of just like us.”

Benge says one of the most interesting parts of the experience for her was seeing how different people greeted them and introduced themselves.

The whole experience gave the students a greater understanding of what life is like all the way across the world, what their values and traditions are and especially their interests and hobbies.