Students at Carver Middle School are getting first-hand experience with Israeli culture through an exchange with Nofarim High School in Tiberias, Israel.
The annual cultural exchange program is part of a 20-year partnership between Tulsa and Tiberias designed to expose students to diverse cultures and further enrich their understanding of our world. On November 29th, 2018, the school opened its doors to an eight-person delegation from its Israeli sister school, Nofarim High School.
Carver student Ryan Bell and Norfarim student Yanny Hadad were partnered together and look forward to the opportunity to learn from each other. This is Yanny's first time visiting America. He said his older brother visited through the same program three years ago. This is also the first time for Ryan to be involved in the program. He said he had the chance to have a pen pal, but this is more exciting.
"This is really new for me. I expect to see everything from movies and social media. Places like Walmart and Taco Bell," Yanny said. “America, so far, is kind of what I expected, but different. Everything is bigger and more official than Israel. I look forward to learning about different foods and culture."
“It’s baffling. You realize they’ve been places but that's where they've lived their entire life.” Ryan said. “Judging on past experiences, I believe it will be interesting and fun.”
There is a process to join the program. After applying, Carver student Leol Olmas said he and his family were interviewed by the school. Yanny said there was a similar process for him.
“They made sure we could speak English, watched us for a while to see our behavior and did a background check on our families,” he said.
The visiting students will stay with Carver students for one week while they are in Tulsa. Every day is packed with different events around the city, including visits to Gathering Place and Turkey Mountain. Students will spend one day in the classroom at Carver Middle School.
Leol said his main concern is making sure the visiting students enjoy their trip, “I really want them to have a good time. They won't be here long so I want them to enjoy it."
Carver students and teachers will travel to Israel during Spring Break in March 2019.
You can learn more about Carver's Global Awareness programs here.