Hola! Konnichiwa! Privyet! Shalom! As students, carrying ceremonial flames and flags representing their countries for the day, stand proudly in front of their peers to present greetings in their “native language” during an Olympic themed opening ceremony, I can’t help but wonder who these kids are going to be when they grow up. As sixth or seventh graders, many of them haven’t had much international travel experience. Their visit to International Towne, while providing hands-on learning in topics such as macroeconomics, global interdependence, scarcity and personal finance, also teaches them about cultural differences and basic rules of international travel. The world is becoming a smaller place, so this visit to International Towne makes their learning experience that much more important. These students could be future leaders in matters of foreign affairs. But regardless of who these kids will grow up to be all we can do is ensure they get the most out of their experience in International Towne today. I’m proud to announce some big changes this year to make their learning experience more relevant.
Tablets and Credit Cards
The first and most notable change is that we have added tablets to every country. Each country will now have the capability of accepting credit cards AND will allow the Finance Ministers to pay bills electronically. When credit cards are used to make a purchase, money will immediately enter the country’s bank account and be deducted from the account of the student who made the purchase. There will, however, be a 20% convenience fee each time the credit card is used. I spoke with student, Dante Amicarella, president of Ghana, on what he thought of the credit cards. “When I heard there was going to be a 20% fee every time I used my credit card, I decided not to use it. I went to Singapore right away on my first break and exchanged my money for currency in every country.”
Evan Borg, Director of International Towne, says the credit cards are designed to teach kids how to travel safely without holding onto so much cash. The 20% convenience fee is the opportunity cost of not going all the way to Singapore to exchange money for free.
Dante’s teacher, Michelle, has been teaching International Towne curriculum for ten years. She is impressed with the tablets capabilities of accepting credit cards, and also enjoys the choices her students are able to make in Towne as consumers. She preps the kids back at school for 2-4 weeks, and then during the day of Towne, she lets them make their own decisions. She is also looking forward to the addition of having account statements for each country and each student printed out and sent back to school.
We also have some big aesthetic changes! A stunning new blue mural is the first thing everyone sees as they enter International Towne. It blends impressive country features together creating an illusion of one International Towne. Each country also has a colorful poster, displaying information on economy type, GDP, population, $ spent on education per person, and statistics comparing the country to the United States.
We are very excited for these changes to contribute to each child’s learning experience. Stay tuned for more changes to come!