Great International Resources for Students & Teachers

We at the World Affairs Council of Pittsburgh are always looking for ways to help out our students and teachers learn more about the world. In that vein, we have put together a list of some of our favorite online educational resources. These links include a wide range of information, including facts, photos, videos, podcasts, books, discussion boards, and lesson plans.

We have identified some general international resources at the top of the list. After the break, you’ll find information and resources relating to Africa, Asia, Europe, Latin America, and the Middle East.


 CIA World Factbook An excellent compilation of country facts (i.e. population, geography, etc.).

CNN for Teachers and Students Spotlights the day’s current events and offers printable quizzes, discussion questions, and maps.

National Geographic Kids A variety of resources are present on this website, including an online atlas with road, satellite, physical, and theme maps (population density, weather, and natural resources) as well as country profiles and pictures from around the world.

New York Times for Teachers and Students This blog highlights the day’s events, but also offers everything from lesson plans for teachers and comment boxes for students.

Outreach World This website offers a wealth of information for teaching students about the world. Under ‘Download Instructional Materials,’ it is possible to search for lesson plans by region of the world and age group.

PBS for Teachers Exclusively for teachers, this site acts as a network for lesson planning, programming, and resource guides.

PBS News Hour for Teachers and Students Offers lesson plans for teachers, but is also a great resource for students looking to comment on and follow world events.

Peace Corps World-Wise Schools Also provides lesson plans and resources created by Peace Corps volunteers around the world.

 Time for Kids Interactive and informative, and is applicable to teachers and students. The site has sections with age-specific material.

Region-specific resources can be found after the jump.

Read the rest of this entry »

Council Sending (Record) 18 High School Students Overseas This Summer

PITTSBURGH, PA –The lives of eighteen area students are about to get a lot more exciting.  In just two months’ time, the students will be jetting off to all corners of the world to immerse themselves in the daily lives of Australians, Germans, Spaniards, Turks, Thai, Costa Ricans, and nine other native populations.  These high school juniors – selected as Global Travel Scholars by the World Affairs Council of Pittsburgh – will leave behind friends, family, and the familiar comforts of Western Pennsylvania to discover first-hand the joys and challenges of living in a foreign country.

This marks the eighth year that the Council, in partnership with The Experiment in International Living, has provided this unique opportunity to local students.  Through the generous financial support of regional foundations, corporations, and others, the Council is sending its largest and most diverse group of Scholars, representing eleven different high schools, to fifteen different countries.

Maston Casto, a junior at Pittsburgh Carrick High School, will be spending four weeks in Chile exploring some of the country’s most picturesque and culturally-varied regions.  He is excited about the opportunity to put his high school Spanish to the test.  “The idea of practicing the knowledge and vocabulary I have accumulated with native speakers thrills me,” enthuses Casto.  “The fact that I won’t be able to slip into English when I experience problems communicating should make each day more interesting and memorable,” he notes.

Read more about the Scholars, the Global Travel Scholarship program, and those who make it possible, after the jump: Read the rest of this entry »

>Thinking Outside the…Classroom!


Hopefully you caught the Sunday’s editorial in the Post-Gazette by Ryan Oliver, a social studies teacher with City Charter High School.  He presented some pretty interesting ideas about education reform.  Currently, Ryan and 18 City High students are taking education to a new level. They’re on a “learning journey” in Costa Rica.  The goal? Self development through cultural exploration, service learning, and environmental study.
Follow their adventures through their blog — hosted here by the Post-Gazette.  (Look at the right-hand side, under “More World — Blogs Abroad.”)

>High School Student Study Abroad Opportunity


Our partners at iEARN passed this along to us, and we wanted to share it with you.  This is a fantastic opportunity, and one that is attainable, as well. (In fact, we know of two local students who participated last summer!) We encourage all eligible students to apply to take advantage of this wonderful opportunity…please let us know if you do!

600 High School Scholarships to Travel Abroad
for Language Study
The National Security Language Initiative for Youth (NSLI-Y) is offering more than 600 full scholarships to U.S. high school students to study abroad and learn Arabic, Chinese, Farsi, Hindi, Korean, Russian, and Turkish, starting in the summer of 2010.
The Department of State, Bureau of Educational and Cultural Affairs, in cooperation with American Councils for International Education, AFS-USA, iEARN-USA, and Concordia Language Villages, is awarding U.S. government funding to high school and just-graduated students (ages 15 – 18) to participate in summer, one-semester and full-year language programs in countries where these languages are spoken.  Students who have participated in other NSLI-Y programs are eligible to apply to participate again.
Programs immerse participants in the cultural and social life of their host country, giving them invaluable formal and informal language practice and sparking a lifetime interest in foreign languages and cultures. While abroad, students will have the opportunity to possibly live with a host family, attend intensive language classes or enroll in a local high school, and participate in cultural and community service programs.
As a program partner, iEARN is administering programs in Korea, Morocco, India, and China.  In addition, iEARN will be providing students with access to the Language Lounges — an online interactive space where students can practice reading and writing their language of study before, during, and after their physical exchange. Through the Language Lounges, NSLI-Y students have access to thousands of native speakers of each of the seven NSLI-Y languages, who are part of the iEARN network around the world.
Students wishing to apply for the scholarship need to:
  • be U.S. citizens
  • be between the ages of 15-18 years at the time of departure
  • be enrolled in high school at the time of application
  • have at least a 2.5 GPA

 Deadline for application is December 4, 2009.

For more information on the NSLI-Y program, including the length and nature of the programs for each language, as well as application materials, please visit


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