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Bringing the World Back to NC Classrooms

North Carolina teachers engage with Per Blix of the Danish company Vestforbraending, as he discusses the company’s process of burning trash to create electricity for Danish homes.
June 27, 2012

CARY, N.C. - Despite tight school budgets, a group of North Carolina teachers traveled to Denmark this month as part of an immersion program, funded by private donations.

The Global Teachers' Denmark program hosted 31 educators from around the state to expose them to Danish culture - particularly conservation, education and Denmark's role in the European Union.

It was teacher Kevin Hrehor's first trip out of the country.

"There's such a push right now in the curriculum to become globally minded citizens. It's one thing to think about it in the abstract. It's another thing to actually experience it, and to do it."

No state funds were used for the travel. The trip was coordinated by the Center for International Understanding. Hrehor, who teaches at Green Hope High School in Cary, says his experience will not only help him educate students about the EU, but also has given him a fresh perspective on what it's like to be in unfamiliar surroundings.

Matt Friedrick, director of kindergarten-through-12th grade education programs for The Center for International Understanding, says students will benefit from their teachers' experiences.

"What this kind of thing does is get them more passionate about teaching international education and teaching about the rest of the world. Those things are coming back to those North Carolina classrooms."

Hrehor says his experience in Denmark made a lasting impression on him that he'll take back to his classroom.

"It was one of the best experiences of my life. I wish that every teacher in North Carolina could have the opportunity to do this because, really, I think it would be helpful professionally - just to get the sense of what we mean when we're talking about a globally minded citizen."

Since 1995, the center has organized international visits for more than 600 North Carolina teachers to 12 countries in an effort to expand global education in schools.

Stephanie Carroll Carson/Dallas Heltzell, Public News Service - NC