by Nina Mariotti and Alexandra Augustak
Photo Credit: Joel Hinrichs
To add to his impressive list of visited countries, Joel Hinrichs recently sojourned to the exotic Saudi Arabia. In an attempt to dispel any stereotypes or misunderstanding that American students might have about Saudi Arabia a popular oil company invited 20 US teachers to experience the country first hand. Hinrichs, an adventurous history teacher at BHS, jumped on the opportunity to visit a country that not many Americans get the chance to travel to. Saudi Arabia has been somewhat closed off to American tourists, so it was a huge learning experience for Hinrichs. “I was prepared for the culture difference, but it still came as a shock…I was surprised by how diverse Saudi Arabia actually is.”
Hinrichs and the other teachers visited schools of all ages ranging from primary to university level. The schools were co-ed, although the boys and girls were separated by different floors. Of the subjects studied there, mathematics and engineering were most prominent. ANd the students there were very interested in America and seemed to want to learn more about our culture.
Hinrichs hopes to incorporate his travel to Saudi Arabia, as well as many other countries, into his classroom. Because of his travels he is now able to show personal pictures, such as the inside of a Mosque, him riding a camel, and him wearing the traditional outfit. In his opinion, personal stories and photos really brings the lesson to life, and makes the country less distant. Hinrichs recommends exploring the world to everyone. “It’s a really good experience to see what life is like in other countries,” he says. “It really opens your mind.” It is important to realize that the world is bigger than Branford High School.