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The Magazine of The Evangelical Lutheran Church in America

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Bridging the gap between continents

Children at Iowa Lutheran school "host" Ethiopian college student

Fitsum Woldermariam is still caught off guard and even surprised when he enters Lisa Rupp's third-grade classroom in Waverly, Iowa. The college student is still not accustomed to all the kids at St. Paul Lutheran School who surround him instantly, many reaching out to give hugs. This form of welcome is a big change from his native home of Ethiopia, Africa.

Brady Ramker (left) and youth at St.
Brady Ramker (left) and youth at St. Paul Lutheran School, Waverly, Iowa, "host" Fitsum Woldermariam, a college student from Africa.

Last school year Rupp's third-graders partnered with Wartburg College to "host" Woldermariam, one of its international students. "Offering students a firsthand account of life in Africa is not something a text can do, so hosting Fitsum gives us a glimpse into what his life is like," Rupp said.

Throughout the year, Woldermariam spent time with various families on holidays, watching sporting events and simply playing.


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