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Almaty, Kazakhstan -- Vacations and cultural interchange

With the desire to put into practice some words of Benedict XVI about cultural interchange found in his most recent encyclical, Club Irtysh in Almaty organized in August a volunteer activity to teach Spanish. The young women taking part were alumnae of the Senara school in Madrid who traveled to the former capital of Kazakhstan to give the classes.

In addition to the classes in Spanish, seminars on current events with a focus on Christian anthropology were offered on topics of the family, youth, freedom and justice. The sessions ended with a lively exchange of opinions about possible ways to better society. The students at an advanced level acted as interpreters and translated the various presentations into Russian.

Since Spanish culture stirred up great interest, each day the accent was placed on a different feast or tradition. This cultural interchange was a source of mutual enrichment, both for the volunteers and the attendees. The Kazakhstan girls, by their hospitality, made the Spaniards feel at home, despite being over 4,000 miles from their native land. In many cases it was the beginning of friendships that will be continued by e-mail.

Romana, No. 49, July-December 2009, p. 346-347.