It’s one of those ideas that makes you wonder, “why didn’t someone think of this before,” but now that it’s here, we can’t help but applaud: take kids living in other countries who wish to learn English and pair them with senior citizens living in the United States who simply want to chat. Badda-boom, badda-bing, you have a winning combination. In a project implemented between CNA school in Liberdade, Brazil, and the Windsor Park Retirement Community in Chicago, students get to polish their English language skills and retirees get a break from the doldrums of endless games of bridge, shuffleboard and pool Jazzercise. All thanks to technology, of course, which has now made it possible to video chat with anyone who has a webcam and a halfway decent Internet connection. We can’t help but think that, in addition to the practical learning opportunity, there’s a longer play happening here as well, as older generations of Americans, not particularly known for looking beyond the borders of the US too often, begin to learn that, at heart, people are generally the same wherever you go.
May 13, 2014