MU Student Perspective – Semester in Australia

Student Spotlight: A Semester in Australia

The Office of Global Education supports many students while they study abroad, but taking classes abroad is not all that MU students do. Our university partners and other program providers around the world give students the chance for a once in a lifetime international experience.

Meet Matthew, a senior Millersville University student studying Business Administration. This past spring 2016 semester he boarded a plane to Australia to explore a part of the world he’s always dreamed of visiting. Read his responses below about his experience thus far and how his time abroad is allowing him to try new things! 

Get to Know Matthew

Name: Matthew Junkin
Year
: Senior

Major and/or Minor: Business Administration
Host University/Program: University of the Sunshine Coast
Host Country: Australia
Time period abroad: Spring 2016

Why did you choose to study abroad in Australia?

Australia has always been a place that I have wanted to go to. I think the history of it is fascinating and the climate is essentially perfect.  I considered studying somewhere in Europe, but I figured that I would not be able to get to Australia again any time soon. I figured if I wanted to experience it, now would be the perfect time to do it.

What is your favorite part about studying abroad so far? What is your least favorite?

My favorite thing would be seeing a different culture and having an experience that most people don’t get to have.  The nice weather is also a fantastic bonus.  My least favorite thing is just missing my friends and family at home.  I wish that they would experience this with me and see all the fantastic things that I am seeing.

Describe something you did for the first time or a specific memory that you have about your time abroad.

I tried surfing for the first time ever.  I did a lot better than I thought I would and had a blast doing it.  I figured it was something that I absolutely had to try while being in Australia, especially because I am from central PA and don’t have any nice waves to surf near me.

Did you get the chance to travel outside of your host country?

Yes! I went to New Zealand for 10 days over Easter break. The three of us from Millersville rented a camper van and drove around the northern island and saw some of the most beautiful sights I have ever seen.  New Zealand is definitely on my list of places that someone should see at some point in their life. Arguably the most beautiful place I have ever been.

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What do you miss most about the U.S.? Are you looking forward to anything in particular when you come home?

There are a few things I miss about the United States.  First off, Aussie TV is no good.  They have the same program running on 4 different channels at a time and you only get about 80 channels.  I have been living off of Food Network and HGTV because those are the only American networks here.  Secondly, I am so excited for American prices.  Going out to eat is unbelievably expensive.  Lastly, I am just excited to be home with friends and family and my dog Keno. Just relaxing over summer will be really nice with all of them.

What is something you’ve seen abroad that you would never see happening at Millersville?

People go everywhere here with no shoes.  Whether it be class, the grocery store, the mall, etc. shoes seem to always be optional.  Personally, I hate not wearing shoes so I am not one of those people.

How has your perspective of Business changed after taking classes abroad? Were there any classes that you really enjoyed or helped you think about your field of study in a different way?

The class structure is different here so it is a different way of learning, but I would say that my perspective has remained about the same.  My favorite course would probably be an International Marketing class.  Just interesting to learn about what all has to be considered when marketing in other cultures.

Why should other MU students study abroad?

Its an experience of a lifetime and one you may never get again.  It took some convincing (mostly me convincing myself) to do it and I am so happy that I did.  It gives you a different perspective on the world and it is always interesting to compare things to back home.  Things like prices, weather, slang, etc. are all different and there have been many things here that have caught me off guard.  It also allows you to really appreciate many of the things you take for granted at home.  I have also always said that the world is a giant beautiful place, and you should do everything in your power to see as much of it as you can before you die.  This experience has really solidified that idea for me and has given me the desire to see so much more than I already have.  If someone is thinking of studying abroad, just do it. You won’t regret it in the slightest.

Study Abroad Video

The Office of Global Education is proud to present a new promotional video featuring many of our past study abroad students. The video was produced, filmed, and edited by Cailin Clothier an office intern and past study abroad participant herself. Cailin is a Communications major with a concentration in Broadcasting. She used her skills to create a video that interviews students on their experiences abroad. The video features students who studied abroad through our Millersville Partner programs in: Chile, France, Germany, Scotland, and Spain.

See below to watch this amazing video!

 

Number Crunch: Study Abroad Alumni

graduation capGraduation is getting closer and closer as the semester comes to an end! Let’s take a look some statistics about our Study Abroad Alumni. 

A total of 73 Spring 2016 graduates have studied abroad through Millersville University.

Of that 73, two of the students are earning their Masters Degrees in Emergency Management.

Six of the total Spring 2016 graduate students are dual majors.

Breakdown by Major:

  • Art – 6
  • Art Education – 1
  • Biology – 7
  • Business Administration – 5
  • Early Childhood Education – 1
  • Economics – 1
  • English – 8
  • French – 1
  • German – 4
  • & Political Affairs – 4
  • History – 5
  • International Studies – 8
  • Meteorology – 1
  • Multidisciplinary Studies – 1
  • Philosophy – 1
  • Psychology – 6
  • Social Work -2
  • Sociology – 3
  • Social Studies Education – 1
  • Spanish – 5
  • Speech Communication – 6

Chart 2 

 Breakdown by Location:

  • Australia – 4
  • Canada – 1
  • Chile – 4
  • China – 1
  • Costa Rica
  • Ecuador – 1
  • England – 9
  • France – 11
  • Germany – 10
  • Israel – 1
  • Italy – 8
  • Japan – 1
  • Northern Ireland – 6
  • Norway – 1
  • Scotland – 3
  • Semester at Sea – 2
  • South Africa – 2
  • Spain – 10
  • Switzerland – 2

Chart 1

As you can see, various majors have had the opportunity to study abroad in all corners of the world – so why don’t you!

 

New Partnership CHEPD

In January, a delegation from CCIEE,  China Center for International Economic Exchanges, visited Millersville University to discuss our new partnership in the 1+2+1 Sino-American Cooperation on Higher Education and Professional Development (CHEPD) program. Administration and faculty gave presentations about various majors and programs on campus to the group, consisting of representatives from multiple Chinese universities.

The second visit we had from CCIEE this semester was a delegation that included CCIEE Executive Director Yin Kai, Vice Director Qin Wu, and National Coordinator of the CHEPD Program and Liaison Officer for CCIEE-US Programs, Sufei Li.

Millersville University will be receiving the first cohort of students from the CHEPD program this Fall 2016 semester.
CCIEE delegation

New Workshops/Events for International Students

This semester, the Office of Global Education brought some new workshops and events to our international student population. Look at some of the highlights below:

The office invited Holly Hatton, a Washington D.C. Immigration Attorney to speak with our international students on various topics. Some topics discussed were: Optional Practical Training (OPT), S.T.E.M. opportunities, internships, working in the U.S., how to apply for a green card, and others.
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We invited a tax expert, Gail Monteleone, from H&R Block to help our students prepare and file their taxes for 2015. The office held two tax workshops this semester.
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There were some great events that our office and global ambassadors held this semester! We did everything from snow tubing, bringing students to First Friday in Downtown Lancaster, rock climbing at Spooky Nook, and even brought students to the Philadelphia Cherry Blossom Festival!  Check out our international students semester video!

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International Student Spotlight: Meet Abdoulahi

Have you ever wondered what Millersville University looks like from an international perspective? We asked Abdoulahi Taffa, a student from Niger who has been studying at Millersville this past semester, about his experiences.  Continue reading to gain some insight into Abdoulahi’s time here as a student at Millersville University!

Abdoulahi

Name: Abdoulahi Taffa

Age: 27

Home country: Niger

Home university: Abdou Moumouni

Field of study: International Studies

Why did you decide to study in the United States, specifically at Millersville University?

I always wanted to visit America because in my country we are influenced by American culture, we watched American movies and listen to their music. When I had the opportunity to come I decided to come. I spent 3 years in Harrisburg and I got my associate degree from HACC. During my last semester at HACC I came for a campus tour at Millersville University and I liked everything about the University so I decided to enroll.

What totally freaked you out prior to arriving at Millersville, but turned out to be no big deal?

What freaked me out before coming to Millersville is that I did not know anybody here and there were no students from my country at the university, but once I got here I felt like I was at home, everybody is nice and friendly.

What did you like best about Millersville and the United States?

What I like most about Millersville is the environment and the campus. People are nice and more than happy to help you. About United States, I like the education system and all of the opportunities available.

What is something you tried for the first time while you were studying in the States? Did you enjoy it? (it could be an activity, a type of food, etc)

What I tried for the first time while studying in the States is cooking, I never cooked in my life before coming to the States. I enjoy it sometimes.

What food or drink do you miss most from Niger?

The food I miss most from my country is Tchep (rice and fish).

What are you most looking forward to when you return home?

Spending as much time as possible with my family, especially with my grandma, I miss her so much.  Of course I’m also looking forward to finding a good job to help my country develop with my experiences from the U.S.

What did you learn about yourself personally over the past year?

I learned over the past year, that I could be anything I want to be even the future President of my home country, why not?

What did you gain academically and/or professionally?

I gained leadership skills, I learned to speak and write in a very important language (English), and I also learned how to give speeches in public.

What is your dream job and why?

My dream job is to become a diplomat or to work for an international organization like the United Nations or UNICEF. I want to represent and serve my country internationally.

Why should other international students come to MU?

They should come to MU because there are many opportunities waiting for them. All the international students are having great experience at MU, we are all happy here.

Abdoulahi with Dr. Anderson, President of Millersville University and Dr. Prabhu, Provost and Vice President for Academic Affairs at the Celebration of International Education hosted by the Office of Global Education and Partnerships
Abdoulahi with Dr. Anderson, President of Millersville University and Dr. Prabhu, Provost and Vice President for Academic Affairs at the Celebration of International Education hosted by the Office of Global Education and Partnerships

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Photo Contest Results!

MU PHOTO CONTEST 

The Spring 2016 Study Abroad Photo Contest results are here! Our winners turned in phenomenal pictures of their travels and wanted to share a little bit of their experience with you!

VersaillesAdam Good, who studied abroad in France, won our Marauders abroad category. In his Versailles photo are him and his friends, Jordan and Kyle, taking a selfie in front of the famous Versaille Palace, one of France’s most impressive presentations of French art!  Adam learned about the palace in his high school French class and has read a lot about it, so he was grateful he had the chance to admire it first-hand! Within the first couple weeks of his stay in France, he recalls having perfect weather for the visit. “Looking at this photo, I wish could go back to France and do it all again!” says Adam.

Eiffel TowerAnother one of Adam’s photos took first place in the Landscapes and Landmarks category . Imagine you are looking out over Paris from the second floor of the Eiffel Tower. Does it look just like Adams photograph, 2nd Floor of the Eiffel Tower? This image displays an aerial view over the Tuileries Gardens and looks out to the Montparnasse Tower and beyond! Adam explains that most days are not clear enough to see out that far over the city, so this was a great shot.

He recalls the many times he walked past the Eiffel Tower and says, “…now that I don’t see it every day, I really miss it”.

Hannah Lohr brought some great competition and won both the Marauders in Action and People and Culture categories with her pictures, Nara Love and Futon Daiku Boy. Take a look at Hannah’s trip to Nara Park, in her Nara Love photo. This park is in the center of Nara Japan, just below Mount Wakakusa. People can come to admire the historical structures, such as the Todai-ji Temple, which Hannah explains, “houses one of Japan’s largest Buddha (Daibutsu) statues”.

Nara Love A popular aspectof this park is feeding the tamed deer that roam freely. “Being an animal lover, Nara was one of my favorite cities in Japan, and I often spent most of my time in Nara, with a deer by my side”, says Hannah. She also shared that the deer are believed to serve as protection to the sacred city and temple.

Hannah took her picture, Futon Daiku Boy, at the Futon Daiku Festival in Osaka, Japan. Every autumn this traditional festival is held in hopes for a good harvest. “The Futon Daiku is a massive, traditional, Japanese drum used in harvest ceremonies”, explains photographer, Hannah Lohr. At this festival, seventy men carry a float while young boys chant and play the drums. “I found myself transfixed by the serene nature of the boys as they played such an integral part to an old ceremony”, said Hannah. When she attended this festival, she caught a snapshot of a boy sitting in the large, decorative Futon Daiku float.  Futon Daiko Boy

An evening to celebrate International education

Celebration Event Spring 2016 

International education encompasses many different areas. It can include knowledge of other countries and cultures, skills in working effectively in global or cross-cultural environments, sharing information from different sources from around the world, understanding and respecting diversity, or all of the above.  In an effort to celebrate this mission, The Office of Global Education and International Studies hosted their 7th Annual Celebration for International Education event on April 20, 2016. Faculty, staff, international exchange students, past study abroad participants, Global Ed Ambassadors, and inductees of the Sigma Iota Rho, the International Studies Honor Society all came together to celebrate international education.

To start off the night, university president, Dr. John Anderson gave a few words on the importance of studying abroad.  Dr. Vilas Prabhu, the Provost and Vice President for Academic Affairs, gave an invigorating speech that revolved around his personal connection to international education. Since he was an international student himself, he noted how impactful his experience was to him and how he would not be here, if it were not for his international experience.

The guest speaker of the night was Rachel Witmer (Millersville University ’10) who gave a motivational and encouraging speech on why study abroad and international travel is so important. She used a metaphor, “The Russian Cookie Conundrum” that illustrated a lesson about why understanding cultures that are different from ours helps us understand different perspectives and have respect and concern for other people and cultures. Witmer is currently the Assistant Director of The International Certification and Reciprocity Consortium (IC&RC), the world leader in addiction-related credentialing. Recently, Witmer filled IC&RC’s seat on the Latino and Hispanic ATTC advisory council in San Juan, Puerto Rico. While at MU, Rachel studied abroad in Valparaiso, Chile in 2009 and participated in two Millersville courses abroad; one in Yucatan, Mexico and one in Northern Ireland. Rachel also became an inaugural inductee to the MU Sigma Iota Rho, the honor society for MU’s International Studies program.

Dr. Robert Bookmiller also inducted several students into the Gamma Phi chapter of Sigma Iota Rho, the International Honors Society of Millersville University for their hard work and dedication to international study. Congratulations to the following students:

  • Aaron Heath
  • Jessica Schlott
  • Emily Yuda

Sigma Iota Rho Inductees

In addition, The Office of Global Education was able to recognize a total of 8 students for their contributions to the Ambassadors Program. This program allows past study abroad participants to gain professional experience creating and organizing events all while sharing their stories of their study abroad experiences. After completing the program, Ambassadors earn an official Global Education Ambassador Recognition Letter and Certificate.  Additionally, out of the 8 total students, we had 3 Ambassadors who were recognized as achieving Ambassador Gold Status. Recognition of Global Education Ambassador GOLD is bestowed on those students who exceed the program requirements by completing one or more additional activities. Congratulations to the following students on their achievements:

  • Jillian Mullen (Gold Status)
  • Rolando Rodriguez-Jimenez (Gold Status)
  • Ariel Silkett (Gold Status)
  • Evghenia Coble
  • Hannah Lohr
  • Kevin Lubin
  • Hannah Meier
  • Brittany Tomes

Recognized Ambassadors

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The Celebration Event also held our first International Student speaker. Xia Shen is a graduate student completing her Masters in English. She is from China and also attends MU’s partner school, Central China Normal University. Xia gave a speech on the topic, “What does Millersville mean to me?”

Finally, official Global Education green and blue graduation cords were distributed to the students who will be   graduating this upcoming May. Congratulations to all our graduates! Overall, the evening was a successful celebration of all things international at Millersville University. The Office of Global Education would like to thank all of those who attended and helped prepare for this great event.  We greatly look forward to next year’s celebration!

Graduating Seniors

Meet Kristin: The new program coordinator for Global Ed!

The Office of Global Education and Partnerships is pleased to announce the addition of Kristin Zoschg as a part-time Program Coordinator.  She is eager to mentor students through the study abroad process so they can have incredible life-changing experiences. Check out the Q&A session below to find out more about Kristin!

Hi Kristin, What college/university did you attend and what was your major?

I attended Geneva College and majored in teaching English as a second language

Have you had any study abroad or travel experience? If so, where did you go and for how long?

I love to travel and jump at any opportunity to go globetrotting! In college, I studied abroad for a semester in Lithuania and spent a summer volunteering in England. I also lived in Vienna, Austria for a year, while working as an au pair.

What attracted you to apply to be a study abroad Program Coordinator at Millersville?

I wanted to be a part of a community that was supporting global citizenship and this position provided the perfect opportunity to do so. This area is also very beautiful!

What are your top 3 travel destinations that you are dying to jet set of to?

On the top of my list right now are: Iceland, Thailand, and Greece.

What is something you are really looking forward to in your new role as program coordinator?

I’m most looking forward to working with the international and study abroad students, assisting and supporting them, and hearing about their experiences. 

What do you like to do in your spare time?

I really enjoy baking, though I have a tendency to go rogue and not follow recipes.

What is an interesting fact about yourself that most people do not know?

I once wrestled a deer and won.

 

Feel free to stop by our office and meet Kristin, She would be happy to chat with you!

Meet the New Christina!

The Office of Global Education and Partnerships is pleased to announce the addition of Christina Camp as Program Coordinator (yes another Christina!).  She is excited to work with Millersville’s growing international student population and to guide Millersville students through the study abroad process. Check out the Q&A session below to find out more about Christina!

Hi Christina, how are you enjoying working at Global Education so far?

I think very few people can say that they love what they do and working in international education has been my dream job for many years. Working in the Office of Global Education allows me to mentor both the international student population and students interested in studying abroad. This semester I’ve really enjoyed talking with students and helping them find the right program that fits their needs. I also enjoyed seeing our international students grow in confidence over the semester. It is amazing how much personal growth a person have have in a few months, and that’s why I work in higher education, to help students get that opportunity.

What college did you attend and what did you major in?

I attended Towson University for my undergraduate degree. I majored in Asian Studies after taking an amazing Chinese history class with the director of the program (I was undeclared for one semester). I took four years of Japanese which ended up being my excuse to study abroad. Years later, I attended the University of North Florida for my graduate degree. I majored in Higher Education Administration because at that time I knew I wanted to work for a college or university, in the Study Abroad/International Education field. I knew that working in higher education would present different challenges and experiences compared to a company office setting.   

Have you had any study abroad or travel experience? If so, where did you go and for how long?

I have had two study abroad experiences. In my junior year of undergrad, I spent one semester at Kansai Gaidai University in Hirakata City, Japan. (Millersville University has the same partnership!). I lived with a host family, a very nice elderly couple who helped me adjust to another culture.

After I graduated from Towson University I moved to South Korea. I taught English at a private language academy, called a hagwon. I worked there for a little over a year. When I arrived, I didn’t know any Korean. I taught myself how to read the Korean alphabet in my first week and by the end of the year I could use Korean for most simple daily life things. My time in Korea cemented the fact that I wanted to work in international education, so I returned to the U.S. to pursue my graduate degree.

The summer after my first year in graduate school I also studied abroad. I took a faculty-led course through another university (Stony Brook University). The class was “Comparative University Systems: Higher Education in China.” We learned about the higher education system in China, it’s history and massive growth, current trends, the organization and structure and major education laws. We interviewed and met with administrators and faculty at: Peking University, Tsinghua University, Nanjing University, East China Normal University, and Hohai University.

Other places I’ve traveled to throughout my young adult life have been: Taiwan, Italy, Croatia, Spain, and France.

What attracted you to apply to be a study abroad Program Coordinator at Millersville?

The main thing that attracted me to this position was that it did not focus on just study abroad, or just international students. The position allowed me to work with both of my passions. I also liked the fact that Millersville University and the Office of Global Education were growing. I felt that I would be able to grow here as a professional, but also assist during this very exciting time!

If you could travel anywhere in the world, where would you go and why?

Being in this field I can’t escape thinking about this question. There are two places that I am truly itching to see. I really want to visit India. I previously planned to travel there before graduate school but my plans fell through. I would also love to see the Scottish Highlands.

What do you like to do in your spare time?

I just moved to Lancaster this past summer. My grandmother grew up here so my family has come to Lancaster County for years. However, I do not know this area like a local so most of my spare time is finding all the little amazing shops and restaurants, concerts, plays, and random places that only a local can really find out about.

What is an interesting fact about yourself that most people do not know?

For me, snow was a perk of moving here from Florida!

Feel free to stop by our office and meet Christina! She would be happy to chat with you.

 

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