Wednesday, September 8, 2010

Vote for Your World Next Door in the Pepsi Refresh Project

As I was cleaning out my various inboxes of messages that accumulated during my vacation and other “out of office” time I came across a very interesting post on SECUSS-L (from Sept. 1st) and I thought I would post to IHEC Blog about it.  My post is a simple copy and paste job of the original SECUSS-L message (with permission):

Do you believe in the power of study abroad? Like the idea of students experiencing study abroad in high school, and then creating a natural pipeline to longer term study abroad experiences at the college level?  Think it’s important that more minority students have access, and the opportunity, to study abroad?  Want more high school students coming in to higher education poised to approach college with a maturity born out of a study abroad experience?  Think students need to learn through experiences, and take command over foreign languages?

Then read on...

Washington, DC teacher at Paul Public Charter School has created an innovative study abroad prep program for middle school students and is seeking your vote through the Pepsi Refresh Project.  Chris Magnuson started Your World Next Door in 2009 with a grant from the Humanities Council of Washington and a dream to inspire middle school students to set their sights on studying abroad.  He started with a small group of students interested in international travel and conducted five “Saturday Abroad" programs in which students visited local international communities to understand what it would feel like to spend a day in India, Ethiopia, Japan, Brazil or Italy.  Students caught the travel bug and became serious about studying abroad in high school. Through our activities they began to learn the steps necessary to truly be ready for going abroad and how such an adventure could enable them to be better prepared to enter college.  We are poised to follow our current middle school students through the steps to actually study abroad *but we need your help*!

If we win the Pepsi Refresh Project for the month of September, we will expand our program to more schools, offer language and culture classes for specific countries, create an intense cultural immersion summer program and offer financial assistance for students ready to study abroad this year.  *But we can only accomplish all of this with your vote!*

*Here is what we are asking you to do:*
1) *Vote today and everyday for the month of September!*  You can do so in two ways:  Visit to go directly to our voting page and vote online or you can use your cell phone and text 102524 to Pepsi (73774)!

2) Recruit 5 friends to vote everyday for the month of September.  We need a HUGE group of people willing to commit to voting on a DAILY basis for the month of September.

3) Learn more about our mission, learn more about the programs offered over the  past year, and see videos of our students in action so you can spread the word about what we do.  Visit our website at and check out our facebook page:

If you have any questions, ideas for promoting this project, or comments please feel free to contact Chris Magnuson at or Beth Mora, Program Assistant, at

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