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Foreign exchange student presents her home country

Sonya Phillips
In front of the class, senior Gulay Aliyeva shows her classmates where Azerbaijan is on a world map. Aliyeva presented to Hill’s 4th hour spanish class on Nov. 13 for her foreign exchange program.

Senior Gulay Aliyeva is a foreign exchange student from Azerbaijan, she presented to her Spanish class to teach her classmates about the culture of her home country.

Aliyeva said she was thrilled to present about her country and she had friends come to watch her presentation which made her more calm.

“I was so excited [to give the presentation] I didn’t feel very nervous because they are my friends and some of my friends came to my class to support me even and it made me happier when I saw them in the audience. I was excited to give the presentation and I actually made it in one week and I made some posters for it,” Aliyeva said.

Spanish teacher Eric Hill said that he has not had other foreign exchange students present about their countries in the past, but he thinks it would be a great opportunity for other future students

“I think Gulay is the first person to have given a presentation but I’ve never been closed off to the idea. This was her idea and she asked if she could do it and who am I to say no?  I thought it was a really good opportunity for both her and the students, but in the future, if we have any other foreign exchange students that want to do something like that I think that would be a pretty important part of their trip,” Hill said.

Aliyeva said her classmates were engaged with the presentation and asked follow-up questions afterward which she was happy with because she knew they had enjoyed it.

“I liked the questions [the class] asked and I think they were genuinely interested because their questions were very good. They asked me about the meanings of the colors on the [Azerbaijan] flag and they asked other very interesting questions and I think it was very fun for the audience. I truly enjoyed it,” Aliyeva said.

Hill said it’s great to have Aliyeva as a student because she can share different outlooks on culture to be able to connect it back to the class.

“I think it is amazing to have somebody else who can share a different perspective from their culture or language and in her case the other side of the world it’s fun to see the similarities and differences between the cultural components between the two countries and the Hispanic world,” Hill said.

Aliyeva said she had a difficult time choosing what she wanted to share with the class because there was so much about her culture she wanted to talk about, but she chose the most relevant information to share with her classmates.

“It was hard [to choose what to put into the presentation] because we have a lot of interesting stuff and I wanted to share a lot of interesting information so that they can learn but I know that we had a limited amount of time so that’s why I had to use the most interesting and significant facts about my country to include in my presentation,” Aliyeva said.

Hill said that the opportunity was beneficial for both Aliyeva and the whole class because it gave her a chance to teach the class about something new and he hoped that it would give inspiration to his students.

“For her, it was important to be able to show off her country. I feel like if any of our students were halfway across the world and they wanted to talk about St. Louis I would hope that they are as proud about St. Louis as she was Azerbaijan. It was cool to see her be proud of her country that we don’t really know much about. I think it was beneficial for our students to hear a different perspective. I thought it was good to look at a different culture for purposes of growth,” Hill said.


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About the Contributor
Sonya Phillips, Business Manager
Class of 2025 Time on staff: 2 years Favorite newspaper memory: Trivia night when we all dressed up for zigs funeral but we were really the ones who committed the murder. Then we demolished the entire game Favorite song: "Back to December" by Taylor Swift

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