Cultural Attaché Program

The Cultural Attaché Program helps connect international Grinnellians with the local Grinnell community through its local schools and community venues in order to facilitate authentic cultural exchange. It invites international students to share things and topics they love from home while also allowing members of the Grinnell community to welcome international students into new environments. Cultural attachés have visited local spaces like school classrooms, the Grinnell Arts Center, and the Mayflower Community, with almost 25 international students from 10+ countries sharing their culture in unique and fun ways. These attachés have shared anything from food to music, politics to sports, and language to pop culture. In this work, the Cultural Attaché Program hopes to make the world a bit smaller, a bit smarter, and a bit kinder.

Any appropriate cultural topic is welcomed! If you are a Grinnell international student interested in becoming a cultural attaché, please fill out the form below. Please email Emily Perry or OISA with any questions.

Cultural Attaché Testimonials

  • Qianqian Wu introducing herself to the high school class

    Grinnell High School

    Qianqian (Rosa) Wu '25

    China, April 2022

    It’s my great pleasure and honor to engage in Mr. Robert Menner's Global Studies course at Grinnell High School and present as a cultural representative to share something concrete about my culture with the local community. I presented on the inheritance and evolution of one aspect of Chinese lifestyle by comparing two living food cultures: traditional tea shops and bubble tea. One has thousand years of history and entrenched influence on Chinese traditions, while the other is a trendy drink among Gen Z. I am personally a boba tea enthusiast and I thought it’d be a great idea to introduce Chinese culture from this perspective, given the growing popularity of boba tea in the U.S. I really appreciate this opportunity offered by Robert and great help from Emily, and I was still impressed about how inspiring and informative the in-class Q&A session was!

  • Feven Getachew and Simon Taye talking to elementary students

    Drake Community Library & Central Iowa Christian School

    Feven Getachew '24 & Simon Taye '24

    Ethiopia, November 2021 & February 2022

    The Cultural Attaché program gave us the opportunity to share about Ethiopia to the community, both at the Drake Community Library's Global Story Time and in Ms. Janelle Stahl's class at Central Iowa Christian School. We are grateful to have presented to children who were very enthusiastic to learn about Ethiopia and ask us questions. Since our target audience were children, we designed creative projects such as using play dough to make coffee pots after hearing about a story with the unique coffee ceremony in Ethiopia. We were pleased to see the children have fun while learning. I have heard from a parent that after the program, the children made a short play with the story they heard and the coffee pots they made.  It is a program that connects us, international students, with the Grinnell community and allows us to share our unique experiences. We are thankful and honored to participate in the Cultural Attaché program.

  • Cultural Attache Presentation with Andrea, showing Scarlet Macaws

    Grinnell Middle School

    Andrea Suazo Rivas ’24

    Honduras, May 2021

    I gave a virtual presentation to students from the Grinnell Middle School about Honduran wildlife and ecosystems as part of the Cultural Attaché Program. I was so excited to share a part of my country I love and cherish, especially since not many people are aware of Honduras’ beauty. The students showed great interest in the stories I had to share, specifically the animal encounters I have personally experienced, and some of them even volunteered their own stories and knowledge. It was lovely to see the wonder in their eyes and interact with them after the presentation ended. I can’t wait for future opportunities to share more about my country and culture with the world.

  • Shirley Jwa playing gonggi with Grinnell Middle School students

    Grinnell Middle School

    Shirley Jwa ’22

    South Korea

    “I went to a 5th grade class at Grinnell Middle School and introduced a Korean traditional game called gonggi. The students quickly learned the game and enjoyed it so much that they even asked if they could keep it. They were also enthusiastic throughout the game, which made me happy. Especially in the end, some students personally came to me and thanked me for coming and sharing the game. This made my day, and I felt grateful to be able to share my culture and feel appreciated.”

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