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Pen Pal Exchange

Increasing cultural awareness | Building lasting friendships | Overcoming stereotypes

Testimonials

From these letters I realized that people from the U.S. are kind hearted and nice. Before the exchange, I thought people from the U.S. were unfriendly, but now my views have totally changed. You are now my best friend. Good friends are a blessing of God.

BUSHRA, age 13, Pakistan

The pen pal exchange has helped me realize how similar my life is to kids in Pakistan. It was interesting for me to see all of the similarities and differences between our lives and has helped me realize that at the end of the day, we are all just kids and their country is not that different from our own.

ANNIKA, age 15, United States

We are very grateful and pray for America. I think people from the U.S. are great and friendly, and this exchange of letters totally changed my views about the U.S. and I am very lucky to have a friend like you.

TOSEEF, age 14, Pakistan

My thoughts have totally changed about the U.S., especially after this pen pal program. I learned that U.S. people are very nice and they take care of needy people, which I think is the best purpose of being human.

NOUMAN, age 14, Pakistan

This pen pal program has caused me to shift my views on Pakistani society. Before writing to my pen pal, I had no frame of reference as to what childhood was like in Pakistan and what national pride looked like there. However, after participating in this exchange, I feel much closer to understanding Pakistan, as teenagers in both the U.S. and Pakistan are very similar and share a lot of pride in their nations.

JAMES, age 15, United States

Americans are very well disciplined, energetic, and trustworthy people. After this exchange I realized that you are interested in Pakistani culture and that means a lot to me.

SONIA, age 14, Pakistan

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Pen Pal Exchange

2019-2020

Power to Pakistan builds connections and friendships with the students in Pakistan through a pen pal exchange. This exchange seeks to eliminate the presumed stereotypes mainly around terrorism and to build peace between Pakistan and the United States. Twenty-seven students from the U.S. and 15 students from Pakistan took part in three letter exchanges during the school year. The creative project for the club this year was to create COVID-19 masks in which our club members voted on the three best designs from our pen pals.

Meet Our Pen Pals

Hover over each student's picture to learn more about them 

Exchange #1

Objectives: Talk about your everyday life and what is different about your culture.

Exchange #2

Objectives: Describe your culture, traditions, and religion.

Program Takeaways

Through this exchange students learned that we are more alike than we are different. Pakistani and U.S. students both had the opportunity to experience and learn about a different culture. This exchange was both engaging and exciting for the participants. Each pen pal made a new, international friend that helped them view their culture without stereotypes and misconceptions. The goal of this pen pal exchange is to build peace by fostering communication and relationships. Each student was influenced in some way by the words exchanged with their pen pal and this new thinking has the potential to expand beyond the individual student. That student will share their experience with their family, friends, neighbors, and eventually their children. The pen pal exchange has the potential to change the minds of an entire generation, which can improve relations between the United States and Pakistan. 

Creative Project: COVID-19 Masks

Each Pakistani student drew a design to be printed onto fabric and handmade into masks by Power to Pakistan club members. Club members voted on their three favorite designs, which were named after their creators: Fazal, Afshan, and Ayaz. 

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Pen Pal Exchange

2018-2019

Power to Pakistan builds connections and friendships with the students in Pakistan through a pen pal exchange. This exchange seeks to eliminate the presumed stereotypes mainly around terrorism and to build peace between Pakistan and the United States. Fifteen students from the U.S. and 15 students from Pakistan took part in three letter exchanges during the school year. The creative project for the club this year was to create a Pakistani cookbook with recipes that each Pakistani student exchanged with their pen pal with a description of what this food is and why it is special to them. This cultural activity was a fun way for students to learn about Pakistani food and culture. 

Meet Our Pen Pals

Hover over each student's picture to learn more about them 

Exchange #1

Objectives: Talk about your everyday life and what is different about your culture. 

Exchange #2

Objectives: Share your favorite recipe with your pen pal and explain why you chose it or what makes it special to you. 

Exchange #3

Objectives: What are your favorite and least favorite parts of your school. What would you like to see added or changed?

Program Takeaways

From this experience Aspen students now understand how common stereotypes about Pakistan are simply not true. While a somewhat violent culture may have been perceived by students, they are now aware that Pakistani culture is peaceful. Things that many Americans see on the news in Pakistan is not true for the whole country. Breaking these stereotypes is in important step in building peace with another nation. This experience goes beyond just the students. Their experiences will be shared with family and friends, and this information will continue to spread throughout the world. Similarly, students in Pakistan wrote about having a completely different perspective before and after this exchange. Pakistani students thought that Americans only cared about money, but they now understand that Americans care about helping other people obtain the freedoms and rights that they are grateful for in the United States. 

Creative Project: Pakistani Cookbook

Pen pals each shared their favorite recipe with each other and explained the significance or history of their favorite dish. Instructions to make the recipe were provided so that each pen pal could get a taste of each other's culture. These recipes from our Pakistani pen pals, along with their letters and pictures, were created into a cookbook.

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101 Stein Way, Aspen, CO 81611 | 970-456-5463 | macy.hopkinson@gmail.com

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