Valentine's Day in a Faraway Land

In addition to learning about foreign holidays and traditions, our WorldTeach volunteers have the opportunity to bring American holidays into their classrooms abroad! Below, volunteer Kerry Tanney in Thailand and Olivia Bull in Ecuador share their experiences celebrating Valentine's day with their students.

:: Wan Valentine!

Seeing as Thai people love relationships and love so much, I obviously decided to teach my students about Valentine's Day in English. We learned that Valentine's Day is on February 14th and the vocabulary words "boyfriend, girlfriend, love, give, flowers, chocolate, heart, hug, kiss, cupid, bow and arrow".

I began teaching this material on Friday, planning to have the students make cards on Monday and Tuesday. Much to my surprise, a number of students bombarded me on Monday morning with roses yelling "HAPPY VALENTINE DAY TEACHEEERRRR". IT WAS SOOOO CUTE!!!

:: Feliz Dia!

On Sunday Jill and I made nearly 100 heart-shaped cookies for our classes. During class we had the students write their own love poems and it was EPIC. One of Jill's older students even sang an original love song, and, needless to say, his group was the winner. One of my favorites was from a student of mine and it went a little something like this.

"When I open my eyes you are there
I think you are my angel of the morning
There is no doubt you are my love."

They totally tried to channel Latin love into English and it was amazing. A great Valentine's day overall, and it won't be forgotten soon, especially due to all the reminders I now have in my house! Students brought us roses and candy and my night time class got me a teacup, teapot, and saucer set! When I got to class at night they had put Valentine's pictures on the wall and set up a food table full of Ecua-snacks. So cute.

Jill, Nia and I were talking about how different Valentine's day is in Ecuador when compared to the United States. For one, visibly. When we went shopping the days before to get things to make cookies, there were absolutely no signs that a holiday was approaching-- no heart-shaped doodads, pink candies, or flowers on display. The day of, however, the Valentine's vendors came out of the woodwork, with flowers and trinkets every few blocks. Mentality wise, I find I much prefer it here as well. Valentine's day isn't so focused on a significant other as much as it is on friendship. Many of my students wrote poems about being good friends and what that means, which I find really refreshing. Everyone you love is your Valentine here. So yeah, chalk a point up for Ecuador!

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