Around the World in Two Hours Flat

Written by Sophie Zhang, University of Rochester Class of 2017, Pre-College Counselor

During this summer's Pre-College sessions, our very own counselors held the first of three "Around the World" programs. Our Pre-College Counselors (PCC) come from, and have studied in, many countries across the world; therefore, we decided that we could use this summer to expand cultural awareness among our Pre-College students in an interactive and educational way. Around the World provides a great chance for counselors to talk about their traditions and for students to get to know a variety of new cultures.


This past week, counselors Weiting, Noel, Maria, Joe, and I organized the activity. Weiting taught students how to make origami peaches with patterned papers. Noel gave students a presentation about his home country, Guyana, in South America, and introduced students to the local food and tourism attractions there.

Maria brought traditional Nicaraguan cookies and salsa danced with Pre-College Counselor Jaede to demonstrate the dance moves. Joe showed students how to do an Italian Ballroom Dance; he paired up students and then gave out instructions about foot movements and arm positions.

As for me, I cooked a bunch of dumplings and kimchi (a type of spicy Korean cabbage); and I gave a general presentation of Asian table manners and greetings. The students learned how to greet and bow in Chinese, Japanese, and Korean fashion. At the end of two hours, everybody went back to their dorms with a full stomach, a paper peach, and new knowledge of different cultures.


As PCCs, we were so excited to present our cultures to the Pre-College students spending the summer at Rochester. As an international student myself, I really appreciate the diverse student body at Rochester. I am always eager to learn about different traditions and teach my American friends about Chinese culture. So when I watched students pick up a dumpling carefully with chopsticks, taste it, and give me a smile, I felt extremely happy and satisfied.

In just two hours, students traveled with their counselors across three continents, experienced four different cultures, and tasted three kinds of foreign food. We all enjoyed the evening and look forward to more Around the World activities for the coming week!

About the author

Ursula Balent

I'm the assistant director for Pre-College Programs. I’m a Rochester native and currently live in Hilton, NY. Pre-College Programs are designed for high school students in grades 9–12 to get a taste of the college experience through rigorous coursework and life-changing experiences. From this blog, you will hear from faculty, students, and staff directly involved with Pre-College Programs.

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