Children make new friends and experience the joy of receiving emails and making video calls!
It’s always exciting to receive a letter. Even today, when the world is digitally connected, receiving an e-letter from a distant land is a great way for children to make new friends.
The Global Pen Pals Project is a beautiful initiative that blends together global connection and self-expression. The project is part of the nonprofit programmes held by WeShall Education and EduHarbor that has successfully launched the Global Teens Meet-Ups project, which won the 2022 Champions Prize 🏆 at the UN-sponsored World Summit Information Society (WSIS). Click to read more.
The Global Pen Pals Project is designed for young students from all over the world to connect online and share about their local cultures (holidays, food, clothes, music, etc.). It is to support the children in developing a global vision and be aware of the diversity of people from all cultural backgrounds.
This project is open to all children, ages 8 through 15. Each child is assigned an international pen pal of a similar age. Currently, communication either by email or video/audio call is all in English. This establishes a point of connection right off the bat for the children and facilitates a stronger bond. If the pair of pen pals are in the same grade, they can chat about school, their teachers, and what they are studying.
They can also compare and contrast what different countries learn about and how the dynamics of the classroom are, whether socially or academically. Children may also be more inclined to write about issues they are having if they feel like they are speaking to a peer in a similar situation.
In terms of the initial connection, children are given a template they can follow. The template includes: their age, grade in school, where they live, and a short video of self-introduction. This helps create a personal connection from the very beginning.
They also write or make videos about the local weather or climate change, who the email writer or video maker lives with, and their favourite things to do at home. This will give the pen pal a good sense of the writer’s home life and they may relate to certain aspects, such as parents, number of siblings, or if they share a room.
Although pen pals may live in different countries, they may find common ground according to this information. Additionally, the children list their favourite activities to do outside, plus what they like best and least about school. And they talk about their favourite books. This gives the children an opportunity to vent and receive advice or feedback from the pen pal. Lastly, they explain what they want to be when they grow up. They end the email or video with three questions for the pen pal to answer.
In addition to the unique connection these pen pals can make, there are excellent benefits when it comes to mail writing, communication in English and having a pen pal in general.
“Hearing first-hand stories from an international pen pal can encourage tweens to take someone else's perspective and to think outside of themselves,” writes Rebecca Fraser-Thill on Very Well Family. Having a foreign pen pal can also encourage interest in geography, politics, and history.
Taking the time to sit down and write a letter or make a communication video teaches children patience, in contrast to the immediate gratification of receiving a text message or a phone call. Very Well Family adds, “having a pen pal promotes many key skills, including reciprocation, empathy and mutual concern.”
The Global Pen Pals Project provides children around the world with an opportunity to make new friends and connect with someone they may not have met otherwise. These pen pals become confidants and can rely on each other for advice or a good story. Not to mention what a great feeling it is to receive a letter or video in your personal Email account!
Parent's signed approval;
Good internet connection to join the course;
Level of English: students are able to express their thoughts in English.
We will follow up via email with the name and email address you provided in your applications. The time it takes to find a match for your child will vary based on the age/gender/time zone. If two weeks have passed and you haven’t heard from us, please check your SPAM folder. You may follow up with us at email@example.com to check the status of your match.
As a participant, please understand:
- Your child is making a commitment to write to another child; not doing so will result in the disappointment of the other child. If something comes up where your child is no longer able to participate, please email firstname.lastname@example.org so that we may connect your child’s pen pal with another child.
- The accuracy with which you fill out the online sign-up form is important. Please double-check you have typed the correct parent email address so that we would be able to reach you.
We are so happy your child will be part of this meaningful project and look forward to making friendship connections between youth all over the world!