Global Education is pleased to welcome Daniel McClary as the newest member of the Global Education team. Dan joined our office in May as a program coordinator. Check out the Q&A session below to find out more about Dan!
What university did you attend?
I love to learn, which is perhaps reflected in the variety of schools and programs I have attended to this point. My MA in Intercultural Studies and TESL is from Wheaton College Graduate School near Chicago. I did extensive, graduate studies in linguistics, cross-cultural communication and even anthropology through the Graduate Institute for Applied Linguistics & College of International Studies in affiliation with the University of Texas in Arlington. At Asbury University in Kentucky, I did my undergraduate studies with majors in English and art education. Prior to that, I worked as a technical illustrator in Michigan, having earned an associate degree in that field at Ferris State University. And then there was the semester in art school before that!
Do you have any study abroad or international work experience? Can you elaborate?
Yes, I’ve been working in cross-cultural contexts for the past 20 years. While studying at GIAL, which had many cross-cultural and language study aspects built into the program, I was also the Associate Director for an international educational exchange program. For three years, I helped plan and oversee large English and Culture camps for hundreds of students and teachers from Taiwan. After this, I began a ten-year stint working overseas, living in Kenya, Ethiopia and Germany. My family and I had the unique experience of attending an orientation to Africa course, where we lived in tents for about six weeks out in the rural corners of Kenya, where we learned to set up an outdoor household, securing safe water sources and other necessities of life. It was a bit like being on the Survivor television show before that became popular! The course included studying language and culture alongside colleagues from many different countries. For one three-week stretch, our family lived in the home of a Kenyan family, being part of their daily lives and work. We also had the privilege of living alongside the Masai people near the southern border with Tanzania, actually within sight of Mount Kilimanjaro. I worked in Ethiopia over an eight-year span of time, living in Addis Ababa, but having the opportunity to travel to many of the unique locales around Ethiopia, including the three ancient capitals in the north. My main role was as a teacher at an international school, but I also worked as an administrator, as well as teaching ESL to adult Ethiopian students at two different colleges in Addis. After Ethiopia, I worked at another international school in Germany, where my wife and I were dorm parents for 28 high school girls. We came back to the U.S. ten years ago this summer. The first six years, I worked with international students and directed ESL and other academic and cultural activities at Immerse International.
What attracted you to Millersville?
During my time at Immerse, I got to know the Global Education team and office through many cooperative efforts and similar goals. Knowing what Global Education is all about and its important function in higher education, I was very interested in becoming part of that, if ever it were possible. I had been working in higher education the past few years, being part of a small team advising international students, but I was hoping to step into a role that would draw more fully on my international work experience and cross-cultural training. That this role at MU aligns with my passion for the value of understanding culture and how that knowledge helps each of us to grow is a bonus!
In your professional career, what do you think has been your most successful project?
A question like this is difficult to answer, as I would not tend to draw attention to my part. “It’s amazing what you can accomplish if you don’t care who gets the credit,” the quote attributed to Harry S. Truman, has often been posted in my work spaces and reflects my work philosophy. One project I enjoyed being part of in Ethiopia was as a member of a steering committee seeking to develop a high school for the students there. The school that existed at the time was only K-8. Students would need to leave to board at schools in other countries. Many students would be served if grades 9-12 could be developed in Addis Ababa and operated with an internationally-grounded curriculum that would allow the high school students to attend university back in their home countries. The team achieved this goal. My last year in Ethiopia marked the first year a grade 12 class graduated, and I had the privilege of them asking me to be their commencement speaker.
What are your goals for Global Education at Millersville?
As I have been learning from being interviewed and my short time in the office, Global Education has been given a larger and important charge by Millersville University. The charge is to help facilitate the internationalization of the campus and support the Study Abroad and international students in all areas during their time at MU. Being part of that charge is very important and meaningful to me. I look forward to getting to know the various offices and coworkers at MU, as well as the students and visiting scholars, to work and learn together and, through the enriching, cross-cultural interactions, expand our worldviews in a way that contributes to a fuller learning experience where more understanding of differences is present. You know, basically, world peace! In that initiative at MU, there is the opportunity to help Global Education create new programming and build a foundation for the future. An important outcome that is part of my role, along with others, is the establishment of an intensive English as a second language program, housed in what will be called the English Language Institute. Ideally, we will be able to build up this programming and have it accredited.
How would having an ESL program help the Global Ed. Office?
Having an ESL program as part of the services Global Education offers will provide support for the international students already on campus studying at MU. This is very important to their development and academic success. Additionally, the English Language Institute will act to draw new students to MU because the ELI is integrated into the campus life. The ELI programs will be designed to act as a bridge to enrollment into the many undergraduate or graduate programs MU offers for students who otherwise might not be able to attend due to their English proficiency. The intensive academic English courses will increase their proficiency progressively, preparing them to succeed and to step directly into full-time study at MU, where they can succeed academically and graduate with an MU degree.
Can you speak another language besides English? Is there one that you would love to learn?
I studied Swahili on multiple occasions and was able to put it into practice during my time in Kenya. I did a full year of Amharic language study during our first year in Ethiopia, and used that throughout our time there. There are not many occasions to use either language here in the United States, but we like to practice when ordering food at one of the two Ethiopian restaurants here in Lancaster, with the hope we might get an extra scoop of wat with our injera. During our two years in Germany, I began German study, but was not able to go far with that, since our work was primarily in English. It was fun during my linguistic training to actually learn to recognize and produce the sounds that comprise every language of the world and be tested on them, in the manner of a spelling test. The hardest for me were the velar fricative and French vowel patterns! Living where I do now, if I had the opportunity, I would study Spanish to be able to communicate with a wider range of people.
If you could travel somewhere new, where would you go and why?
I have had the opportunity to travel a fair bit, but would never refuse the chance to do more. I’ve lived in several regions of the U.S., and since there are only 3 states I’ve never been to, I would want to tick those off my list, especially Alaska and Hawaii. I would enjoy seeing more regions of Europe that I have not yet been able to see, especially southern Italy and Austria. A few years back, I was able to visit Tunisia, which rekindled a love for the rhythm of culture in Africa; I would love to visit some of the western and southern countries of Africa.
What is an interesting fact about yourself that most people don’t know?
My wife and I met in high school my senior year and married right after college. We left our wedding reception aboard a hot air balloon, which people found fascinating and still comment on to this day.
What advice do you have for students thinking about studying or working abroad?
Resist the temptation to hold tightly to the known and the comfortable. This is not our natural tendency. We like to stick with what we know and build up around ourselves the things that are familiar and make us comfortable. Yet, it is in stepping away from both of these that we are stretched. From walking into the unknown and away from our comfort zones, we can grow and develop and learn in ways that will not happen any other way. I heard it repeated just the other day, that when we are pressed or face struggles, our true selves are revealed. Living in another culture presses us and helps us to know who we really are, and by that, to make any necessary adjustments. It’s all about learning!