Connecting Somali students from Pittsburgh to Nijmegen, Netherlands

Journey To A Notherland is a project that connects students in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania with students in Nijmegen, Netherlands. We exchange ideas, artwork and creativity with one another. Although the two groups of students live across the world, many of the students come from very similar backgrounds. We talk about community, food, clothing, and music as the main sources of our work. The students in the Pittsburgh group come from various backgrounds: Some are 100% Pittsburgh, and have lived here their entire life. Others have moved from other places. Many of our students come from Africa, with a large population of Somali refugees now living in Pittsburgh. The parallel group of students in Nijmegen consist primarily of Somali refugee  and 1st generation students now living in the Netherlands. To learn more, visit

This is an ongoing project between Nijmegen and Pittsburgh. We have recently received some exciting letters from our pen-pals in the Netherlands. For now, we wish to share some of the activities we have enjoyed together thus far! 

The Pittsburgh group decided to take photos outside of Arsenal Middle School, at the beautiful park behind it. We took two trial photos. Unfortunately, I was having trouble setting up the automatic button shooter, so I had to take each photo manually. This meant I could not join our students in jumping into multiple frames of the photo.

This photo, as you can tell is somewhat inside out, but it has a cool effect. It is taken at Arsenal Park, showing our students playing in the Autumn park before Sunset!,hidetitle/iframe/flash.html

This was our Pittsburgh student's first try at the GigaPan. After selecting a scene and setting up the height and width that would be the GigaPan, the students jumped into frames as I tried to direct them. A cool lesson we learned from this activity was that some time accidents help you discover something new, or make something beautiful. In these photos, we are collaged over each other and blending into one another. In the second GigaPan, the finished product has the sky up top and below the ground. What does having the sky above you and below you make you think of? For one, it reminds us of our relation to the sun, and that our friends in the Netherlands are in a different timezone 6 hours ahead, where the sun may have gone down just that much. It also makes us think about the way we are constantly moving, from classroom to classroom, from block to block, or the way we have moved from country to country and are now standing on a new ground.