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International Pen Pals Meet in Veazie 

Wayne Harvey

It began as a project for a class.But in just a couple of months it has resulted in friendships that span the globe.A group of eighth grade students came away with more than they thought when they first put pen to paper.”In social studies we have a self reform project and mine was to do pen pals with people from other countries so we could learn about their culture more” said Madison McNally “and my mom works at IEI so I thought we could do pen pals with her students.”IEI is the Intensive English Institute at UMaine for foreign exchange students, and it helps those students at the same time.”I’m learning about her lifestyle, Americans lifestyle, because I think it’s different from Thailand, so I tell her about my culture and she learns.” said Aithittaya Wichayamuphap of Thailand.And Laura Exposito of Spain agreed. “I think that it is a really nice experience to meet people from another country and I was really I don’t know from happy and excited to meet someone.”The students are from Brazil, South Korea, Saudi Arabia, Thailand and Spain and they gave presentations about life in their home countries. The best part was putting a face to the writers of the letters they’ve been reading.”To meet each other” said Exposito “and just learning about the different experiences and stuff and the different countries.” said Veazie’s Catherine Cunningham.The project went beyond the expectations that McNally had for it.”I didn’t know people would be so excited to do this and we’d actually get to meet our pen pals but it just unfolded that way and I think it’s just better now because they all got to meet them.”Which has created bonds that will last and the conversations don’t end here said Brazils Marcelo Rugini.”Yeah, I mean we are friends now and we probably going to continue.”