Be an arm­chair am­bas­sador for the U.S.: get a pen pal

Maryland Independent - - Community Forum -

I re­mem­ber when I got my first pen pal: Made­moi­selle An­der­son’s fresh­man year French I class at Mau­rice J. McDonough High School. In the in­ter­ven­ing decades, I’ve had pen pals from ev­ery in­hab­ited con­ti­nent. Even in this dig­i­tal age, I com­mu­ni­cate by postal mail ... be­cause it’s nice get­ting happy mail.

Pen pals can pro­vide per­spec­tive on world news in their coun­tries and a long-term re­la­tion­ship with friendly ben­e­fits. My first time to France, my pen pal and her fa­ther picked me up from the air­port and al­lowed me to stay with them while I was get­ting set­tled in the Paris re­gion. I have had pen pals help me with my French as I pro­gressed in the lan­guage. And I’m also able to be an arm­chair am­bas­sador for the U.S., ex­plain­ing the nu­ances of life here, to counter the in­cor­rect views es­poused in mu­sic videos and movies.

In tan­dem with your for­eign-born neigh­bor to whom you can speak ev­ery day, I en­cour­age chil­dren and adults alike to get a pen pal. Pen­palling is a great way to aug­ment your ed­u­ca­tion and to travel with­out leav­ing your home. Not ev­ery pen pal will be­come a last­ing friend­ship, but for the time you are writ­ing them, there is al­ways op­por­tu­nity to learn some­thing new. Keep calm and write on. Kather­ine Cooper Buehler, Wal­dorf

Newspapers in English

Newspapers from USA

© PressReader. All rights reserved.