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    Local Children Learn about El Salvador

    University of Scranton international graduate student Ingrid Maria Serrano Bran discussed El Salvador with elementary and middle school students from Howard Gardner MI Charter School and The Lutheran Academy as part of the University’s International Education Week programming. From left are: Rachel Bonebrake, Jefferson Township, a seventh-grade student at the Lutheran Academy; Keira Evans, Scranton, an eighth-grade student at Howard Gardner School; Serrano Bran; Sunil Ahuja, Ph.D., associate provost for academic affairs at Scranton; and Huey Shi Chew, director of the University’s international student and scholar services.
    November 20, 2018
    By: Catherine Johnson ’20, student correspondent

    Eighty elementary and middle school students and their teachers from Howard Gardner MI Charter School and the Lutheran Academy attended “Presenting El Salvador” at The University of Scranton as part of its International Education Week programming. International graduate MBA student Ingrid Maria Serrano Bran of El Salvador gave the presentation about her home country on Nov. 12 in the McIlhenny Ballroom of the DeNaples Center.

    After introductory remarks given by event organizer Huey Shi Chew, director of international student and scholar services, and Sunil Ahuja, Ph.D., associate provost for academic affairs, Serrano Bran asked the school children to guess at trivia facts such as El Salvador’s national bird, currency and the continent on which it is located. She handed out small prizes to students who could provide the correct answer. 

    After sharing photos of beaches, mountains and volcanoes in El Salvador, Serrano Bran then gave a brief overview of the nation’s history, beginning with a description of the indigenous populations, covering independence through to modern times. When discussing the current political and economic situation of El Salvador she mentioned high poverty and low literacy rates in the country, saying the average educational level in the country is sixth grade due to “the violence and environment,” which affects “especially the poorer class.”

    Serrano Bran also discussed cultural aspects of her homeland, sharing colorful photographs of dancers, food, soccer teams and traditional arts of El Salvador. She also explained the special connection between the Jesuit university of El Salvador and The University of Scranton since 1999. She shared a photo of a Scranton sweater that was made in El Salvador.

    Serrano Bran urged the children to sympathize with those who want to leave El Salvador for better opportunities. She shared a photo of a young boy who was fleeing to Mexico even though he knew he could die in the process. “The kids just want to play and have a good future,” she said. “When we understand each other’s problems, we can open our minds and hearts to solve them together.”

    Following the presentation, the students were invited to taste El Salvador’s most popular food: Pupusas (a thick corn tortilla stuffed with a savory filling).

     

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    Catherine Johnson ’20, Scranton, is an English and philosophy double major and member of the Special Jesuit Liberal Arts Honors Program at The University of Scranton.
    Catherine Johnson ’20, Scranton, is an English and philosophy double major and member of the Special Jesuit Liberal Arts Honors Program at The University of Scranton.
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