Now is the Time. Memphis is the Place.

Did You Know That Memphis in May is Educational?

First off, we get it. You REALLY want to see Lizzo at Beale Street Music Festival and, although we have no say in that matter whatsoever, we’ll put in a good word. Now that that’s taken care of, we’re here to discuss something that you might not know about Memphis in May. It’s not the exact amount of sauce that we go through at the World Championship Barbecue Cooking Contest nor is it how long you should train to be fully prepared for the Great American River Run. We’re here to talk about how Memphis in May has an educational curriculum that your kids could benefit from!

You know how MIM has a celebrated country each year? If you did, good on you! If you didn’t, where’ve you been? Since 1978, MIM has put international awareness at the core of their mission, honoring a different country every year and playing host to international ambassadors, exhibits, and performance companies from 38 countries such as Japan, Kenya, South Korea, Argentina, and more. Last year, in celebration of the Bicentennial, Memphis was honored for the first time in 43 years, but in 2020, they’ll return to their regular scheduled programming of “bringing the world to Memphis and bringing Memphis to the world”—this time, honoring the “gold coast” of Africa, Ghana.

So what does that mean for you? Well, that’s a loaded question. Memphis in May is chock full of opportunities for people of all ages to expand their cultural knowledge—but where to begin?… Let’s start with the Student Exchange Program.

I’m sure you know of a high schooler who could benefit from worldly travels. Each spring, Memphis in May sends a group of 11th & 12th-grade students to the honored country where they’ll be completely immersed in a different culture for 10-12 days. They’ll stay with a host family and attend a host high school plus all of the added Lizzie McGuire Movie moments like sightseeing, culinary experiences, friendship building, and more for the low low cost of zero dollars. That’s right, it’s free! Now show me a student who wouldn’t jump at this chance if they knew about it…I’ll wait.

The deadline to apply is Monday, December 2nd. Oh, and they’re looking for chaperones too!

Now that you know about the Student Exchange Program, let’s move on to how Memphis in May is dedicated to bringing a variety of cultural experiences to the Bluff City. Thanks to their youth education program, local students have the opportunity to experience the customs and traditions of 12 different countries by the time they graduate high school. With resources like the honored country curriculum guide that is available for all educators, and the World Cargo Crate that travels from school to school— offering hands-on learning experiences—Memphis in May is not only building relationships with the community. They are creating global classrooms for public, private, and home-school students.

Even though we’ve told you about the World Cargo Crate and the curriculum guide, we’ve still only scratched the surface of how you can bring Ghana to your classrooms this year. We hope you’re one for having your eyes on the prize, because things are about to take a competitive turn.

To show off what you’ve learned via the resources that Memphis in May provides, there are education competitions that students of all ages are encouraged to participate in—plus a couple of select opportunities for teachers to get in on the fun as well. There’s the Memphis in May Classroom Competition that will put your decorating skills to the test, the Creative Writing Contest with which any type of literary work can be created, the International Paper Children’s Poster Competition that can lead to a student’s work being printed and sold, and many more chances to encourage creativity and learning about the honored country.

While we’ve discussed plenty of options for both student and teacher involvement, this one, right here, is just for the educators. The International Teachers Conference on Saturday, January 25th, is designed to supply educators with information on how to incorporate international studies in their day-to-day lessons. I mean, who doesn’t want a morning of free workshops that will provide new insights and resources to utilize year after year?

Now that you know that Memphis in May presents a whole lot more than music and barbecue, it’s time you spread that knowledge to the masses. Tell a student, tell a teacher, tell a principal, and once you do that, tell a parent, tell a friend, tell a neighbor, and whoever else will listen—because not only does the world need to know about Memphis, but Memphis needs to know about the world.

Learn more about the festivities surrounding the 2020 Salute to Ghana here.

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