Every summer an influx of international counsellors arrive at Mountain Camp Woodside, with wide-eyes and a lot of enthusiasm; excited to be working in the beautiful Portola Valley. Recruiting counsellors from all over the world is an intentional decision. We believe that the unique atmosphere created by this cultural exchange, adds to the camp experience. However it is not just the counsellors that fly in from all over the world to experience California, the campers do too. Just this week we had children from Italy, Egypt, Ethiopia and China to name a few.
In today’s interconnected world, it is important to prepare children and educate them about other cultures – the world has got smaller and employers are looking for globally aware candidates that can work in this new world marketplace. Having counsellors and campers from all over the world, provides an opportunity for children to enjoy cultural exposure through play, in a safe environment. By interacting with people from across the globe they are learning to appreciate and communicate with other cultures, not only learning cultural sensitivity, but also igniting a passion and curiosity to enjoy cultural diversity.
Learning about other cultures at a young age makes children more accepting as they go through life. It improves their social skills and opens up their eyes to the big world that lies just outside of their home bubble. It is a great opportunity for the kids to see how other people live and broaden their minds, allowing them to see things from other people’s points of view.
Aside from making children more accepting and well-rounded people as they grow up and preparing them for work in the global environment, having exposure to other cultures and travel has been found to improve children’s growth in other ways. A study from the US Department of Education showed that international travel contributes to cognitive growth and achievements in math, reading and general knowledge. Children exposed to foreign cultures develop higher empathetic understanding, which results in higher grade-point averages and higher-order reading comprehension skills.
Being immersed in other cultures is an amazing opportunity for kids to experience at a young age, not only that, but it is extremely fun. The kids love asking the counsellors all the weird words they say different and about the funny accents they have. They especially like finding out if the English counsellors are friends with Harry Potter! Check out our latest video the CIT’s helped with – looking at Culture.