Exchanges in Action

Karachi, Pakistan and Baltimore, Maryland, USA

What does oppression look like?

High school students from Karachi, Pakistan and Baltimore, Maryland USA wanted to explore the impact of oppression in their countries, who the targeted groups are, and how the impact compared between cultures. The main platform of communication was Facebook due to its easy access through smart phones. Originally, teachers of from both classes of 25 students decided on a five-week long exchange during the January to May semester of 2016, but due to the highly rate of self-initiated interaction among students, they extended to 7 weeks.

Students from both countries exchanged about themselves, their cities, family lives, and touched upon current mainstream topics like #Black Lives Matter, and clarified stereotypes. The participants also used Wiser.me to create digital worksheets that surveyed each other on what they knew about the partner country. Students shared photos and descriptions of their communities to educate each other from their own perspective and experiences.

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After getting acquainted, students explored provided by The Concordia Project: “What are you most concerned about when you think about your future?” Students questioned youth unemployment and what is required to find work, why it is more difficult for some more than others, and what is expected of young people in order to survive in the workforce.

Common themes that arose from student dialogue included:

Common Project Goals:

  • Discuss cultural differences
  • Social disparities
  • Racial oppression
  • History of oppression in USA vs. Pakistan
  • How can we eliminate racial oppression and move towards tolerance and acceptance?

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Students from Karachi and Baltimore have created a life-long bond through this exchange and they hope to meet each other face to face. Until then they will continue to share their lives through Facebook.