Holidays and Cultural Traditions with International Teachers in the USA

The festive spirit of the season is in the air at Greenheart, and our exchange teachers have been busy bringing their home cultures to life for their American students through activities that showcase holiday traditions and cultural celebrations around the world! Here is a sampling:

Atiya Fatima K.: From India, teaching 5th grade in Missouri

Activity: Indian Festivals

Atiya’s 5th graders learned about the vibrant and diverse festivals of India that bring together people of different faiths and background through videos and coloring activities.  She had this to say about her students’ reaction to the activity: “Grade 5 students, love to color and curious to know about international teachers and their culture. Festivals were the best way to connect with them and have them experience the same. The students were very excited to know about the festivals of India. They love the Onam festival video of Kerala, where hundreds of people were boarded on the boat, for the auspicious Nehru Board Race, which is held for 10 long days. To win this race they practice for long hours for almost 1 month. [The students] loved to color the traditional ‘Muggu’ which is a major part of Hindu festival, Diwali.”

Luvies M.: From the Philippines, teaching 7th grade Science in Illinois

Activity: Paskong Pinoy – Christmas traditions in the Philippines

Luvie organized a virtual exchange between her 7th grade Science class and a group of 12th graders from her home school in the Philippines. The Filipino students shared Filippino Christmas traditions, such as the festive Christmas Tree Lighting ceremony in the city, caroling, folk dances, and special Christmas dishes. The American 7th graders got to sample famous Filipino delicacies and learn a traditional folk dance. Luvies’s assistant principal had this to say about the activity: ‘’Your lesson was amazing! Thank you for adding awareness and appreciation for other cultures to our students. You provided an opportunity that may have never had.”

Rochelle D. – Teaches Special Education to students with Autism in Nevada

Activity: Inclusive holiday traditions

Rochelle organized a virtual exchange with students in her home country and her Special Education students in the U.S. to share Filipino Christmas traditions through visuals and pictures. She had this to say about the results: “The impact of the activity was far-reaching and profound. By showcasing unique Christmas traditions in the Philippines, participants gained a deeper understanding of cultural diversity and the importance of respecting and appreciating different customs. Moreover, by emphasizing the importance of understanding students with disabilities, particularly those who are non-verbal, the activity promoted a sense of equality and inclusion. The message was clear: regardless of disabilities, everyone should be treated with respect and given equal opportunities.”

Yanick E. : From Cameroon, teaching middle school Math in Missouri

Activity: Cameroonian wedding traditions

Yanick shared African wedding traditions with his middle school students, using his own wedding as an example. Yanick explained that the groom’s family traditionally sends representatives to the bride’s family to formally request her hand in marriage, and students learned about the traditional wedding attire representing the bride and groom’s ethnic groups, often intricately designed and adorned with beads, shells, or other decorative elements.

Yannick had this to say about the impact the activity had on his students: “The students were astonished as to the level of commitment and dedication involved in an African wedding, they praised whosoever they know who is married to an African or married from Africa. It was also a learning moment for me as I got to learn that in America, the parents of the couple do pay for the marriage ceremony unlike Africa where the couple ( the groom in particular) covers all the marriage expenses.”

Thank you to all our Teachers!

Interested in bringing new cultural experiences to your school?

Host an International Teacher at your school. Learn more at

Host an International Exchange Student at your school and/or in your home! Learn more at