World Citizen Essays 2014

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Grades 3-5:

Aryeh Tenbroek, Bryant Elementary, Freedom for Tibet

“To me, the country of Tibet has a fascinating culture. And I would like to preserve it.…By traveling to Tibet, I would be able to talk to the people living there and find the impacts of Chinese rule on their lives…The only way to truly understand another culture is to meet the people in the place where it is practiced.” 

Roberto Kannapell, Bryant Elementary, Guatemalan Coffee

“I went back home to Guatemala in February, but I do not live there. I was born there and adopted to live in the U.S….I heard about…a coffee farm that we visited in Guatemala that supplies its beans to US companies. These companies sell coffee all around the world but do not pay workers in Guatemala as much as they should. I think we should pay a little more attention to where our coffee comes from…We all need to think about others.”

Gilly Wolf, Bryant Elementary, Ethiopia

“Despite being one of the richest countries in Africa, Ethiopia is a country struggling in the health of their people and its economy…A lot of it is because of the lack of wells and clean water. Also the small amount of children getting a good education, that leads to a poor life. I would like to go to Ethiopia to help people get clean water…Ethiopia would be a great opportunity to see how people live differently than us.”

Grades 6-8:

Anirudh Prakash, Odle Middle School, Piracy: A Conspiracy to Shun Ancient Growth

“Although the Oscar-nominated Captain Phillips shed the spotlight on Somalia last year, current events research had already sparked my curiosity about the horn of Eastern Africa. Like Peter Pan craving Neverland, I dared to venture into an unconventional travel on the rarely chosen path…I would question international organizations and tourists…I would dig deep into a young pirate’s origin…I could help earn a well deserving respect for a misunderstood ancient settlers’ nation with a vibrant past.”

Melinda Day, Tahoma Middle School, Broadening Perspectives Through Travel

“Traveling around the world can be very educational and life changing. For me, traveling to Zimbabwe would provide me with the added knowledge of differing cultures and lifestyles….The richness of Zimbabwe’s culture overpowers its many problems, including its abundance of music, religion, and ethnic groups waiting to be uncovered… Examining their exquisite tastes in music and cuisine dares my mind to explore other cultures and brings me closer to a part of me I have never experienced.” 

Gabrielle Chappell, College Place Middle School, World Citizen Essay

“If given the opportunity to travel with a goal of getting involved with the people and understand how they live, I’d take it and want to go to Guatemala. There are many lessons I could learn in Guatemala. Do Guatemalans have any different meaning to hand gestures? Do they have different ways or types of eating? What religion is practiced?I want to see if the people there have a culture and way of life that is different from the one I live and how they may be alike…Broadening my perspective is important because I can understand how cultures work, make sure I’m respectful and have new experiences.”

Grades 9-12:

Daaniya Iyaz, STEM High School, Peering Across the Partition

“Bustling streets, the shrill cry of hundreds of cars, the smell of fresh peanuts tossed with rich spice…These are a few of the images that enter my head when I think of home. To others, it is a rugged, exotic peninsula, but to me, these five unassuming yet potent letters mean home: India. Throughout my life, whether it was blatant or inadvertent, I have always sensed the discord with Pakistan…I wish to see the cities, interact with the people, breathe in the culture, so I can understand what it is that could cause such enmity with a country that was our own flesh and blood…I would hope to experience the lives of our neighbors, to contrast the differences in our cultures, to see if I can find some semblance of similarity between the two countries.”

Warisha Soomro, STEM High School, The “Perfect” Destination

“Turkey is – and has been for quite some time now – my dream travel destination. I eagerly await the days I can finally walk the streets seeping with history…In addition Turkey is the country home to the “perfect refugee camp” – a place which would provide me with understanding and experience unlike any other destination…If I were to visit Turkey, my most important task would be to listen to those whose voices have not been heard. Gaining perspective is about looking at a situation from different points of view…We are constantly hearing “facts” about international circumstances that may not be as reliable as expected. In my opinion, the only way to come up with my own viewpoint is to witness a situation and decide for myself.” 

Marium Raza, Redmond High School, Hopeless Paradise: Questions about the Future of Swat Valley, Pakistan

“Lush green forests are interspersed with beautiful lakes and vibrant wild flowers. Mountain valleys plunge unlike anywhere else, idyllic places of peaceful beauty. These descriptions are of a paradise on earth, and are in stark contrast to what might be seen in this place today…This is the setting of Swat Valley, Pakistan…I would try to connect with these people and inquire about how they believe peace can be achieved…and ask what they would like to see for education…I would get multiple perspectives from the people whose lives are being impacted most…As stated by Saint Augustine, “The world is a book, and those who do not travel read only a page.”…By meeting new people and going to new places, connections are made.”