New program promotes cultural understanding at high school

Joe Toppe Staff Writer

September 25, 2013

EASLEY – A new program at Easley High School is working to highlight the necessity of cultural exchange.

Foreign Academic Cultural Exchange Services (F.A.C.E.S) is a state program designed to introduce South Carolina students to foreign languages and cultures.

“The main aim of the program is to get native speakers and teachers from Spain, France, and Germany to come here and teach in South Carolina,” said program teacher and native of Spain, Juan Ubeda. “The program also includes teachers from science and math, but the main goal is to teach American students our languages and cultures.”

Ubeda said the program also prepares teachers to take what they have learned in the United States back to their native countries.

“The program also focuses on preparing foreign teachers,” he said. “When you go back after three years, you have to display everything you have learned and share it with your native students.”

According to Ubeda, teachers coming to South Carolina can stay for a maximum of three years but are afforded with the option of applying for an additional two years.

“The maximum time for foreign teachers is three years,” Ubeda said. “However, if everything is correct and all of the administrators in the company agree with you wanting to stay to improve further, you can stay an additional two years, but five years total is the limit.”

Ubeda said a foreign teacher’s decision to return to the United States can only be made after returning to their countries of origin to teach for two years.

“The cultural exchange involves teaching in America and your native country,” he said. “You must stay in your home country at least two years after your time in America to teach everything you have learned to your native students. After teaching in America, you must share your experience for at least two years and then you may return to America if you choose to do so.”

Ubeda has been in the United States since August but would like to visit other locations while in the country.

“I plan to visit New York City, Miami, Florida, and I would also like to see the Grand Canyon,” Ubeda said. “I plan to enjoy my time here in the United States.”