An International Life

This week I taught a class on Living an International Life. It came about like this. A couple years ago, I did an AW story on Beth Ekre: 2009 N.D. Teacher of the Year. A few months ago, a met Beth unexpectedly and she invited me to speak to her geography class.

150 7th Graders!

I spoke what it’s like to Live an International Life and did a PowerPoint.

An International Life, Geography, Carl Ben Eielson

“How does a girl who grew up in North Dakota end up living an international life?”

I spoke about meeting my Dutch husband and life in the Netherlands as well as some WWII history that still affects the Netherlands today. I spoke on living in Zambia and Indonesia. I spoke about moving to this weird place called Fargo where there is SNOW and ICE and people eat Popcorn!

The students were a blast and I was so intrigued by their curiosity for life, their good questions, their eager minds.

It was quite a joy to see their hands shoot up for the Q&A.

  • What country did you like best?
  • Was Zambia at war?
  • Where would you still like to go?
  • Did you ever get sick?
  • Were there emergencies?
  • What is your favorite memory?


I thoroughly enjoyed myself and found it refreshing to be in the midst of the chaos and joy of being young.

Beth gave away several of my books for “door prizes.”

Here are a few photos of some of the winners. I just love their smiles.

Geography Class, Jill Kandel, So Many Africas, An International LifeGeography Class 2, So Many AFricas, Jill Kandel, An International LifeGeography Class 3 , Jill Kandel, So Many Africas, An International Life

Geography is such a wonderful subject encompassing the land, cultures, traditions, languages, foods, wildlife and homes of people all around our big, beautiful globe. I’m so glad to have seen so much of it. I hope that my presentation left the students eager to go and explore.

The PowerPoint ended with this slide.

An International Life

As St. Augustine said, “The world is a book, and those who do not travel read only a page.”

Jill Kandel
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