We are too excited to sleep as we make final preparations for PenPal-A-Palooza: the biggest global exchange extravaganza of the year! PenPal-A-Palooza starts on January 29th and students from 31 countries have already enrolled!
This week, we celebrate Borislava I. from Bulgaria who recently participated in World Explorer, one of our most popular projects featured in PenPal-A-Palooza.
Borislava was matched with four other PenPals to learn about food, daily life, history, and pop culture in their communities and around the world. Borislava helped her PenPals learns more about life in Bulgaria as they discussed their own cultures. She also demonstrated curiosity and respect by asking her PenPals questions about their own communities.
During the history lesson, Borislava shared a history lesson of her own with her PenPals and encouraged them to share more about their histories to develop a healthy online discussion. She told her PenPals….
“The clock tower in Etropole was built in 1710 and is one of the oldest in Bulgaria. Her builder was Master Todor and originally served as a defensive tower. In 1821 it was rebuilt as a clock by master Dido and still counts the right time. Can you tell me about a famous person from your history?”
As Borislava and her PenPals discussed popular foods from their communities, she gave them a taste of Bulgarian cuisine…
“Shopska salad is the salad that defines Bulgaria. Not only is it the most popular Bulgarian salad but is also named after a large group of very frugal people called shopi who live in the capital of Bulgaria, Sofia. Shopska salad is made of chopped tomatoes, cucumbers, onions and peppers sprinkled with Bulgarian white cheese. Can you give me a recipe from your side?”
Borislava reflected on how taste buds change across cultures...
“I learned a lot of interesting things about my PenPal friends. I was surprised to hear about some strange dishes that they prepare, such as waffles and pasta.”
Despite these differences, she also learned that she shares similar musical tastes with her fellow teens...
“Bulgarian teens love listening American music and they love singers like Selena Gomez, Ariana Grande and Justin Bieber but they also like our singers.”
Borislava eagerly shared a glimpse into her life in Bulgaria and demonstrated curiosity by concluding each of her responses with fresh questions. When we asked Borislava what her favorite part of her PenPal exchange was, she said…
“My favorite part of PenPal exchange is the unique opportunity to write to real students from different countries around the world. I have never talked to a foreigner before. I was impatient to find their places on Google Earth. I think it would be wonderful if we could keep in touch with my PenPals and chat again in the future.”
And we can’t wait to see where those future chats take you. Congratulations, Borislava, and thanks for being a great PenPal!
Want to learn about communities around the world with PenPals like Borislava? Enroll your students in World Explorer for the January 29th start date, just in time for PenPal-a-Palooza!
Read more from other students who have participated in World Explorer:
PBL Example: Marija Loves Exploring the World with PenPals
Students Explore the World with PenPals
PBL Example: Student in Argentina Discovers a World of Similarities
A PenPal Led Tour of Springfield, Missouri
Meet our PenPal of the Week from Iraq
See more student work and learn how PenPal Schools can improve learning outcomes:
How to Make Social & Emotional Learning Authentic
How to Improve Reading Comprehension Through Global Connections
How to Teach Digital Citizenship Through Global Connections
How to Teach Writing Through Global Connections