Doors to Diplomacy Project ID: 6571

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International Schools CyberFair Project Narrative
Title: International Adoptions and Diplomacy
Category: 7. Health and the Environment

School: Shanghai Community International School
    Shanghai, Shanghai, China

4 students, ages 15, 15, 15 and 16 worked together to complete this Doors to Diplomacy project on March 8, 2011. They have participated in Doors to Diplomacy in the following year(s): 2010, 2011

Classes and Teachers: Ms. Koenig, Mr. Schmidt, Lif, Filippa, Jennifer, Nicole

E-Mail contact:

Our School's Web Site:

Project Overview

1. Description of Our Team

We are four girls that have joined together to do this project. Lif, Nicole, Filippa and Jennifer. We all live in Shanghai and are students at the Shanghai Community International School. We are in 10th grade and are doing this project in our English class.

Lif is 15 years old, she has only been in Shanghai for 4 months but adopted life here quite quick. She is from Sweden and likes to laugh. Nicole is also 15 years old, she has lived here for one and a half year now and thrives. Nicole likes to watch movies. She is half Chinese and half American. Filippa is also from Sweden, she is 16 years old. She likes to go skiing! She came to Shanghai last August. Jennifer is from Hongkong and she is 15 years. She is interested in photography and likes her friends. She has lived here for 3 years.

We are all in the same English class and we joined and found a topic together. All of us thought international adoptions was an interesting topic. Since we all are in China and it is from here most of the adoptions over the world comes from, we found it really interesting to find out more about it.

The organization wasn’t specific in the beginning, but we all had an idea about what we had to do and everyone was okay with that. We had a clue about how we were going to and how we wanted to present it. The collaboration has been good during the whole process.

Our main coach we have had is our English teacher Ms. Koenig, but also Mr. Masoni and Mr. Strombeck who (with Ms. Koenig) presented the project for us. We also have Mr. Schmidt as a support with his own experiences of adoption.

2. Summary of Our Project

We as a team chose the topic of International Adoptions. Adoption is one way in which countries are related to each other and it is a part of diplomacy. The relationships that are formed by adoption are formed from childhood and will have life long affects. In our project we want to show how adoption is dealt with in different continents and countries, as well as what you as an individual can do to help. For our project we chose to focus on four countries; Ethiopia, Guatemala, Russia, and China. Our project shows the influence and affect that adoptions have within each of these countries, and how they have gone on to make differences on a worldwide level. Adoptions between different countries can help to strengthen the diplomatic bonds between them. This not only makes for better relationships all around for those two countries, but it helps make a more united and peaceful world. The website that we create will show the affects on four individual countries, and how this has an impact on their diplomatic connections, as well as the influences it has made on the individual nations. This project will help show others has adoption has affected the many diplomatic relationships between countries, and the importance of good diplomatic relationships. Also, to help further the awareness, we will list a charity or organization, which can be referred to for ways that you as an individual can help and make a difference in the life of a child.

3. Our Computer and Internet Access

A. Percentage of students using the Internet at home:more than 50%

B. Number of workstations with Internet access in the classroom:more than 6

C. Connection speed used in the classroom:dedicated connection

D. Number of years our classroom has been connected to the Internet:more than 6

E. Additional comments concerning your computer and/or Internet access (Optional):

Because of China’s firewall protection, a variety of websites and information are currently inaccessible.  Since various social networking sites such as Twitter, Facebook, Google Sites, and Youtube are restricted, it can be difficult to invite people to our site, or make links for others to share. Therefore, our group used different programs, or was able to bypass some of these restrictions with a Virtual Private Network. Although the restricted access can be difficult and frustrating at times, for the most part it meant that it just generally took longer to get to the sites we wanted, or forced us to be more creative in finding sources that would benefit our project.

4. Problems We Had To Overcome

The project has been going on fluently for the most time. We had some problems with the interviews though. In our research we had prepared two interviews, one with a parent who has adopted his children from Ethiopia and one with a girl who was adopted from China to Sweden, but has now moved back to Shanghai, China. The problem was that this girl was not comfortable to talk about it, so we could not do that interview. We also had some problem with the other interview, it took long time to get the answers and even if Nicole mailed many times we did not really get them. To solve these problems we used other persons. For the interview with the girl, we just changed some of the questions so they could fit an adopted girl from China, but she still lives in Sweden. She is Lif’s friend and she had no problems with answer questions! So we where lucky there. For the other one, we went to the father of the Ethiopian children and it seemed to be so easy that he had just forgot it… So when we came he had no problems to answer the questions. We also had some with our action project. We tried to put up donation jars in our compounds but no really put any money in them. So we thought about having a baking-sale instead and that that would make more money. We will do this sometimes this week. Because we are living in China, the internet access is limited. So we have had an decreased access than if we had lived in (for example) the US.

5. Our Project Sound Bite

To our students our project has helped them to understand more about international adoptions. To our school, it shows that we are interested in the community around us. For the community we will give back through our action project where we gained money for the orphanage. It shows that it is possible to help, a little effort is still something!!

6. How did your activities and research for this Doors to Diplomacy Project support standards, required coursework and curriculum standards?

Our school, Shanghai Community International School, has 5 content standards and requirements that are valued. We have tried to work after them and this is how we did it. They are called ESLRS, we used them to crate our webpage. Effective Communication We have reached effective communication most through our computers. They have helped us to communicate with each other and with our coaches. High Level Thinking While doing this project, we used a several different kinds of ways to do it. We have used many research methods, we have learned about the culture in the different countries and about the geographical areas and how they affect the topic. Solid Foundation of Knowledge Because we used a lot of sources for the research, we took part of many different views from many different people and in the end that gives a big knowledge and a . Positive Learning Attitudes and Behavior Through the whole process with our project, we have all had a positive attitude and never really complained about it. It has been very fun and we have learned a lot! Global and Community Appreciation We have presented our project in form of a website and that gives the whole world access to it. In that way, we have worked in a global community and people all over the world can see what we have done.

Project Elements

1) What information tools & technologies did you used to complete your Doors to Diplomacy project?

4 Computers, MacBooks: We used them to create our website, research of information, Mail-contact (interview and for the action project), Communication with our teacher and teammates, Skype Translator: Lexin (Swedish website, Google Translate ( Telephone: Communication between team members, interviews Wix (web creation software): To create our website ( Microsoft Word 2011: To collect our information. Pages: To collect out information Abode Photoshop: To edit pictures Oral Interviews: With people that have experiences of adoption. Camera: To take photos during the interviews. EBSCO (online database): To get information.

2) In what ways did you act as "ambassadors" and spokespersons for your Doors to Diplomacy project both on-line and in person.

In person, when we had our bake sale we wrote on the sign that this was a part of our Doors to Diplomacy project, International Adoptions and that the money we collected went to Half the Sky foundation. We also had a Information sheet from the foundation that they have on their website for use like this. In this way we showed what we were represent for the people who bought and they got some knowledge about the foundation. On the web, when we had published the website so everyone could see it, we linked the URL on our Facebook profiles so all our friends could see and visit it. It encouraged the views of the website and the visitors saw what we have done for the project and hopefully gained some knowledge about international adoptions.

3) What has been the impact of your project on your community?

Our project has made a difference to our community, because we both raised money for an orphanage, and taught people in our community about our cause. We present and shared our project with our class, community, and friends. We did this in multiple ways. When having our bake sale we told people who and what we were raising money for, along with that we also passed out informative flyers and information sheets about what we were doing, and about the foundation, Half the Sky. Our bake sale was beneficial to our community as well because all the money we raised went to a local orphanage. We also shared our website by posting the URL and summary about what our website was for and about on each of our Facebook pages. This allowed us to share our project with our family and friends all around the world. Our website has received positive feedback, and has helped to share information about international adoptions. Along with being informative, we have even given ways in which people can help out themselves!

4) How did your project involve other members of your community as helpers and volunteers?

Through our action project, the people in our school gained knowledge about Half the Sky foundation and their job. They also learned more when we presented our presentation for the class. We hope that all people that we have talked with remember this topic and that they will found out ways to help orphanages.

5) Discoveries, Lessons and Surprises (Optional)

None of us in the group knew so much about adoptions at all. We all have adopted friends so we knew what it was about, but not so deeply. Now after this project and after the publication of the website we can almost call us experts in the subject. One thing that we founded specially interesting was how the international adoptions have changed as the time has past. An other specific example that was fun was when we realized the big differences between the countries that we went deeper in. An example is how girls often are more available for adoption than boys, in most of the countries except for Russia. Filippa that has Russia, when she told us we all got surprised...


View our Doors to Diplomacy Project (Project ID: 6571)

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