The student news site of Greater Latrobe High School

The High Post

The student news site of Greater Latrobe High School

The High Post

The student news site of Greater Latrobe High School

The High Post

Greater Latrobe Welcomes Teachers from Austria


Going to different places and learning about other cultures can help broaden mindsets and open eyes to new things as well as create a more peaceful world.  This year, the Greater Latrobe School District is doing a cultural exchange with teachers from Austria. This exchange will allow both teachers from Latrobe and from Austria to better understand diversity and build community relationships. “You get to see the cultures and the experiences that you can only have in other places,” said Jason Brandt.

Austria reached out to the United States of America for a cultural exchange. Last year a school in Iowa swapped teachers with Austria and now Pennsylvania is in the mix. Greater Latrobe was the only school district in Western Pennsylvania that was interested in this opportunity. Eight teachers are delighted to be able to experience the exchange. Liz Antolik, Sara Armanious,  Jason Brandt, Jamie Campbell, Raven Dupilka, Laurie Havrisko, Bri Nalevanko, and Wendy Lint will represent Greater Latrobe.

 The teachers from Austria will be coming to Latrobe to live with a teacher from here and learn about our school, classes, and how teaching is done in our schools. They will also get to go to Washington D.C., Flight 93, Greensburg, and Pittsburgh. They could also go to Fallingwater or a football game. “They want them to see what the culture is like around here,” said Jason Brandt. The teachers will then get to spend eight days in Austria living with a host teacher. They will be observing classrooms, cultures, and cuisine. Individuals may even present a lesson. 

 The AFS is the organization that is making it possible for this opportunity to occur. Their goal is to “empower people to become globally engaged citizens by delivering meaningful intercultural experiences that provide the knowledge and skills needed to help create a more just and peaceful world.” The AFS believes that individuals have the power to impact communities. Through this organization, people become more informed about places other than where they live.

 “The more that you understand other cultures, the more that you will not judge an entire culture based on the actions of a segment,” said Jason Brandt, “You shouldn’t judge an entire race or culture and I think you see that when you go to these other places and you see other races and cultures, and go, yeah those people are like us…”

This cultural exchange is key to cultural awareness. “We develop our mindsets around what we see around us,” said Jason Brandt. Expanding perspective of the world helps to relieve conflicts and gain a deeper understanding of others. To do this, people have to travel and experience other things. “You have been shaped by your parents, and your family, and the little geographic circle you are in. When you get out and see the world, you realize there are a lot of ways to do things that can be better,” said Jason Brandt.

“There are things better in other countries that we don’t have here. Why can’t we replicate it?” said Jason Brandt. “You learn that by going and seeing things in other countries; they do things differently. Sometimes it’s no better, it’s no worse, it’s just the same. Sometimes it’s better, sometimes it’s worse, but it opens your eyes to how things can be in different areas,” said Jason Brandt. Understanding and embracing diversity helps create innovation, empathy, and social cohesion, which are crucial aspects of life.

The takeaways from this trip will affect the outlook of people in a positive way. Jason Brandt said, “There are a lot of things that don’t have one right answer. There’s a lot of things that have shades of grey to them and I’ve tried to bring that into my teaching…” 

Hearing different viewpoints and asking questions about why people see things the way they do, can help to better understand other’s views. “I think what it has helped me do is take my teaching from just being locally centered and broader… When I go on these trips and travel, I see things that help broaden my ability to try to teach in a way that makes you better prepared to be global citizens,” said Jason Brandt. 

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About the Contributor
Abigail Allias
Abigail Allias, Staff Writer
Abigail Allias is a sophomore at Greater Latrobe Senior High School. This is her first year on the staff of The High Post. Abigail enjoys spending her free time dancing, reading, and traveling.  She has been a dancer for seven years and takes classes in a variety of different genres including Lyrical, Ballet, Jazz, Pointe, Hip Hop, Modern, and Tap. When she isn’t at the dance studio, she is usually found reading a book. As an avid reader, she will read any and every kind of book. She also enjoys traveling and feels lucky to have taken many vacations with her family. Her very favorite place to visit is San Diego, California. She loves the weather and the positive, laid-back vibe of the city. Abigail also enjoys taking her dogs, Joy (a Cavalier King Charles Spaniel) and Ginger (a Labrador Retriever), for walks around the neighborhood each day. Abigail’s family is very important to her. She has learned from her parents what a diligent work ethic looks like and is going to carry that on to her work at The High Post. Abigail is excited to be working on The High Post as a writer since she enjoys writing, learning about current topics, and sharing her opinions. She looks forward to learning about journalism and further developing her writing skills. Her plans after high school are to further her academic career by attending college. Although she is unsure what she is going to major in, she is looking forward to figuring out what she is passionate about and what she is meant to do in the future.

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