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Dr. Tim Shea – Kenya

I used to live abroad and so I know how much those experiences revolutionized my thinking about the world. I want that to be the same for my students. Currently, I am on a leave of absence from teaching at MU so that I can teach abroad again and introduce my own kids to the thrill of learning in a new culture. As a teacher educator, I hope this experience will shape me in new ways as I am experiencing what my teachers in training will be.

So far, I have directed the Middle School play, The Fantastic Mr. Fox, have chaperoned 6th grade students on a three-day service/cultural learning trip to Lake Nakuru, and started a men’s book club, a middle school Philosopher’s Club, and a men’s Bible study. This is on top of teaching middle school Social Studies and high school English.

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I have learned to see time in a new way. Time goes at a different pace here in Africa and I am learning patience when events do not start on time and getting almost anything done here takes longer than I am used to. I have also been learning the different ways my students from different cultures learn, what they value, and how they relate to each other. It’s amazing how different it can be and how important it is to laugh at myself when I don’t quite get it right.

Global education is important because it helps remove one’s misconceptions of different cultures and teaches one to be more flexible and forgiving when your ideas of what is the right way to do things is upended. It’s a valuable way to have a deeper understanding of the world.  Any faculty or staff should consider getting involved with Global Education as it helps to dust off the cobwebs of their teaching and can even invigorate it! They and their students will never be the same again after these kinds of international experiences.

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I hope more MU faculty and students will take the plunge to learn and to teach abroad, especially in more challenging locations as it could be a vital part of their growth and development as individuals. I especially encourage teachers to go for an extended time with their families. I will find it hard to leave Kenya as my children are thriving in ways I did not imagine would be possible.

 

 

Patriece – Global Interest

I am from Jamaica. I came to Millersville for work opportunity (Director of Global Education). Prior to that, I spent 16 years living and working in Michigan.

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I initially came to the United States to pursue an Engineering degree, but quickly fell in love with higher education and the desire to assist in easing the path for fellow international students that would come after me. After graduation, I was offered the opportunity to lead the planning and building of a newly formed International Center, and felt privilege to be a part of that up until 2016 when I came to MU.

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I have been in the U.S. a long time, but I would say that the concept of “time is money” and personal space was something that I learned about early on… sometimes I still struggle to not fall into an island rhythm of doing things.

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I think that as a country, Jamaica was born out of the struggle and pain of slavery. As a people, we are proud of our heritage and the impact that our small island nation has on the world culturally, especially regarding food, music and dance. My favorite Jamaican saying is “wi likkle, but we tallawah” which means “we are small, but mighty.” We leave an impression anywhere we go. I am an Ambassador to Jamaica for those who will never visit my home country, or have never met my fellow citizen.

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Christina – Global Interest

When I was an undergraduate student I was undecided and I took a general education class on Chinese history. The professor was the advisor for the Asian Studies Majors and he convinced me to declare based on my interest in the class. This turned into me studying Japanese, studying abroad in Japan and China, teaching in South Korea after graduation, and then led me to work in International Education following my graduation from graduate school.

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One of my favorite projects to work on is the CHEPD 1+2+1 program. The Sino-American Cooperation on Higher Education and Professional Development 1+2+1 program is a dual degree program. CHEPD is run by the American Association of State Colleges and Universities (AASCU) and the Center for International Educational Exchange (CCIEE) under the Ministry of Education in China. As part of this program, I work with a consortium of 100+ Chinese universities and 25 US universities to offer programming and opportunities for faculty and staff exchange. I’ve been working with this particular institutional partner for three years and I have made many friendships around the world related to this one program.

I learned that a group of people who are passionate about international exchange can create amazing programs in a few short years when universities and organizations pool their resources. Learning from the AASCU and CCIEE representatives gives the coordinators like myself a look into how global politics play a role in micro level exchanges.

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There are thousands of international companies in Pennsylvania and even more, with our short distance to Philadelphia, Baltimore, Washington D.C. and New York City, our students have opportunities to work with a lot of international companies, businesses, consulates, etc. that students must gain global skills to be competitive with their peers for these careers. Our faculty and staff on campus must also teach these skills because of this demand on increasing international and global positions.

I went to university with a lot of students that were not able to do an international experience while they were a student and spent years talking about how they regretted it. DO NOT let opportunities pass you by. Even after graduation, I had opportunities to work abroad which led me to where I am now. Go for it!

Natalie – England

I traveled to London during the Fall 2017 semester. I chose this location because London is full of amazing history and being in the city made it easy to travel throughout the city and surrounding countries.

While abroad I wanted to meet as many new people as I could. Meeting new people from different countries and different backgrounds gave me a whole new perspective of the world and people from different cultures. Academically, I wanted to improve my writing skills and learn more about the public relations industry within the United Kingdom. I was enrolled in a Public Relations Campaign class that explained the structure of campaigns for different companies in the UK. Our professor was in the PR field and had his own firm in London.

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I traveled to Nuremburg and Munich in Germany. I went to Oktoberfest with a couple of friends from University. While we were there, we stayed at a campsite. After Oktoberfest was over, we visited the Dachau Concentration camp that was located outside of Germany. Seeing the concentration camp was a life changing experience. During my semester, I also traveled to different parts of Italy, Ireland, and Northern Ireland.

I think Millersville students should study abroad because traveling outside of the United States and outside of Lancaster County gives individuals a well-rounded view of the world. It is amazing to get to meet new people from different countries and hear about their background and their own personal experiences. Studying abroad also gives students the opportunity to share their own background with the rest of the world.

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The best advice that I could give someone is, don’t have any expectations of what your time abroad is going to be like. This was the best advice my mom gave me. When I got to London, I had the most amazing experience because I didn’t know what to expect. It turned out to be one of the best experiences of my life and I think everyone should get the chance to experience studying abroad.

Karlee – Global Interest

I became interested in international initiatives when I first visited South Africa in 2012. It was my first time out of the country and after experiencing their culture and the diversity there, I wanted to learn more about other countries and their cultures. I became fascinated in learning about the diversity in the world and that helped shape my career path and college career as well.

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I have  volunteered with Ubuntu Leaders of Lancaster and I am a part of a social work organization where I organized a Zumba fundraiser event for disaster relief for Puerto Rico. I have done volunteer work with Love. Give. Live. to learn about fair trade and NPO’s. I have also participated in many service learning trips to South Africa where I assisted with planting agricultural plots in Cape Town. Along with this, I have been to Northern Ireland where I learned about the troubles and the walls, to Nicaragua where I worked with rural communities to respond to issues related to poverty, to Mexico where I used expressive arts to work with youth to raise awareness about social injustices, and to Honduras where I worked at medical clinics. I also presented a poster on the research I did on the medical clinics at the Rural Social Work Conference.

Some things I have learned while participating in these programs are responsibility, organization, how to be a leader, how to be a global citizen, field work, accomplishment of goals, and career interests. I have also learned about social change, diversity in the world, and differences between cultures.

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Other students should get involved with Global Education to become a better global citizen. Studying abroad not only makes you more aware of various cultures but also, while you are interacting with others from around the world and hearing their stories, it enhances your compassion and humanity toward others. Therefore, you are more inclined to respond to social injustices and able to see what you can do to help.

 

 

Francisco – Japan

I studied abroad in Japan. Japan is a location where nothing but beauty and history is displayed in the modern day. An opportunity to experience what the absolutely unique image that is Japan was a must within my educational career. My goal as a student was to learn as much as possible about the Japanese media and entertainment industry. I’ve learned quite a hefty amount of the mannerisms in comedy within Japanese humor and it is completely different to western comedy. Inside the four months of studying Japanese, I’ve gone from being a beginner to  somewhat competent.  I’ve grown quite experienced with speaking and pronunciation, but writing and reading is still quite difficult within the two other alphabets. With the time I was able to allocate in my free time, I’ve traveled to Tokyo and various parts of Kyoto and Osaka which allowed me to take in the modern with traditional.

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Millersville students should take the opportunity to travel to Japan or anywhere in the world where its offered as it does not only give you a taste of what the educational world spectrum has to offer, but it allows you to grow as an individual. If any student is wishing to study abroad, do take in to consideration that anything you’ve come to know now through self-research within the media, DO NOT take it as absolute facts. Always make sure to get in contact with those who have studied in those areas or speak to someone who is from the country. Never allow yourself to go with pre-made expectations as those expectations will only hinder your experience and dissatisfaction will be 100% guaranteed because the pre-made expectations weren’t met.

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I’ve become interested in international initiatives due to the fact that it allows me to make connections with other students from all over the world. It’s such a wonderful experience to create those friendships which in turn allows you to learn from other cultures. I feel students should get involved with Millersville Global Education due to having the opportunity to study abroad and allowing more and more students from abroad also get the chance to experience what a wonderful place Millersville and Pennsylvania is as a whole. It would bring so many experiences and ideas from all over the world to one location and vice versa.

Kiara – Chile

I originally wanted to attend a university in Spain. However, I was working two jobs while taking five courses. I did not have the time to focus on applying to a non-MU program.   I made the solid decision to attend Chile’s Spanish program at PUCV after digging deeper into the country’s rich history.

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My goal was to improve my written and spoken Spanish language abilities.  I am glad to have taken a class in academic writing, grammar for foreigners and communication. By the end of the semester abroad, I could comprehend Spanish structurally and produce an acceptable research paper.

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I visited Pablo Neruda’s home in Valparaiso, volunteered as a dog walker, ran along the beach, attended karaoke night with my host family, danced at social clubs, participated in class trips to visit human right museums in Santiago, attended the annual Mil Tambores festival in Valparaiso, enjoyed the view of the ocean, studied at FIKA cafe, watched street performances, visited El Reloj de Flores, hiked at La Campana, went sand boarding at Las Dunas, and so much more!

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Also, I didn’t do much research on excursions beforehand because I thought traveling would be overly expensive. However, it turns out bus fare was cheap and airplane tickets were often on sale. Students would often form groups to organize trips. In Chile, I visited Santiago, Valparaiso, Vina Del Mar, Quilpue, San Pedro de Atacama Desert, Arica, Puerto Montt, Puerto Vara, Frutillar, and Chiloe Island. Also visited three sections within Buenos Aries of Argentina and entered Tacna in Peru.

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I encourage any student to study abroad! Life abroad is an incredible chance to grow. In my experience, I conquered my fear of heights and found an appreciation for nature. You know… after studying abroad, I also found myself to have gained a surge of confidence. I would advise anyone interested in studying abroad to do their research early. Then, open a savings account as soon as possible to save for out of pocket costs. Also, be patient and ask questions.

Giacomo – Italy

I remember my first six months living in the USA—I spoke not a single word of English outside the globally known, “How are you?” and other such phrases. It didn’t hit me up until last year on just how far I have come from the 4th grader who spoke no English. I have a 3.7 GPA in my first two years in college; I’m a dean’s list student; I’m enrolled in COURAGE, a club which sole purpose is to bring community members to become more civically engaged, and I also speak fluent English with not a single trace of an accent (Except for words which contain “th,”)—I know for a fact I wouldn’t be at this point without the help of those who helped me adapt. In the transition period, when I spoke no English, I remember the many helping hands who were willing to sacrifice their time in order to make me feel a part of the holistic group. Other students, teachers, community members, and others all made the transition from Italy to the USA as seamless as the transition could possibly be. Due to this, I have a feeling of being indebted; it is only just that I help those just as I was helped, especially since I’m in a position of being able to connect with individuals going through this adaptation phase, as I went through the identical experience.

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In a position where I’m now able to help, I’ve done so many times. I was a mentor to an Italian foreign exchange student throughout her year of living in the United States—I also taught Italian in all of my four years of being in high school after school through a world language program that my school district offered to all of its intermediate students.

I became interested in international initiatives due to fact on just how influential they were to me whenever I first arrived to the United States. Without international initiatives, I don’t feel as I would be where I am today. Many of these initiatives helped me integrate myself into a foreign land—these initiatives would not be possible if awesome people weren’t behind them. I felt like becoming one of these awesome people, and have done so in many times by taking apart of these initiatives.

I took part in an after-school program which specialized in teaching 4th, 5th, 6th graders about a designated foreign language, along with the culture which is tagged along with it. Coming from Italy, I took it upon myself to introduce Italian to the program, and that I did for my entire time in high school. I also helped a foreign exchange student throughout her entire year spent in America, an experience which made me grow a ton in maturity and responsibility, having to care for someone in that fashion certainly has that affect. For the future, I hope to become involved with the multitude of projects that Global Ambassadors offers, especially the more personal ones they offer with foreign students—I feel those are the most critical for a successful campaign abroad for a foreign exchange student.

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One thing I learned from participating in these programs is just how passionate I, and many others, are about the international community. I never thought that 4th, 5th, and 6th graders would continuously bug me after class was over in order to learn more about the culture and the language. If children can grow a passion and an appreciation for the vast culture and language which world is home to, anyone can. It’s really intriguing how something foreign can form a level of interest in people, something which I have learned from these programs.

Millersville students should get involved with Global Education as it a gateway to anyone who is interested in anything international, be connected to international activities and programs. Knowing about other cultures from around the world only causes one to be more receptive to the diversity which the world houses, along with helping one grow a deeper understanding of others and why they express themselves in a certain manner.

GASSER – EGYPT

My hometown is located in Alexandria, Egypt.

In 2010, I came to the US as an 8th grader and have been here ever since. I have resided in Harrisburg, PA all these years and when it came time for college, I chose to attend Millersville University because it is accredited in my majors (Marketing and International Business) and it also offered the minor that I was looking for (Computer Science). Millersville is also only 45 minutes away from my home in Harrisburg, which made it convenient to move back and forth without having to spend so many hours on the road. Millersville is also very affordable when compared to other universities, yet it offers the same challenging courses as those universities for a much cheaper price tag. Finally, Millersville has a great culture that promotes positive interactions with the local community and raises awareness about international events, diseases, social causes, and so much more, which made me even more excited to attend Millersville.

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In Millersville, I have attended the Barnstormers baseball game at the beginning of the Fall 2017 semester with other international students and it was a great opportunity to meet new people. The highlight of my time here in Millersville so far is definitely the Multicultural Showcase. In the showcase, I was manning the stand for Egypt, where I educated other people on my country, its famous foods, culture, language, and other information that makes Egypt such a unique country. It was a wonderful experience showing people the rich history of my country and having them engaged in the conversation and clearing any misconception that they had about it. I also learned about different cultures there such as Jamaica, Australia, and France among others. The highlight of the showcase, however, were the dancers and musicians that were on the stage during that time. It was delightful seeing different cultures through their music and dancing and I really had a great time in the showcase.

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I came to the US to achieve personal, academic, and professional goals. My personal goals were that I wanted to experience a different country that I have admired ever since I was a child and become more open minded as I, someone from a different country, interact with people here in the US and understand their customs and traditions. My academic goals are that I want to excel in school, obtain my degree with honors, and learn valuable information that I will be able to use for the rest of my life. My professional goals are to work for a global Fortune 500 company in a corporate culture to contribute my international skills and provide a new perspective into the organization. I am working towards these goals everyday by enhancing and diversifying my skill set to make myself a more appealing job candidate and set myself apart from the competition.

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One cultural thing that I learned in the US is how many national holidays are celebrated here! It’s great to see so many occasions where people get together, celebrate, and enjoy their time together with friends and family.

My one thing that I would to share with the campus community is, although I was tempted to, I did not ride camels to school every day. I also did not live in pyramids, but I plan on building my future house in the shape of a pyramid.

In all seriousness, there is a misconception in the US that Egypt is not a safe country, when in fact it is. It is very safe to travel there, enjoy the sights, and experience the rich history and culture through tourism, which operates year round!

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Carmen – Spain

  • Carmen is an international exchange student from Spain
  • She attends Universidad de Burgos

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I came to study at Millersville because my home university organised an exchange with Millersville University.

While at Millersville I learned about: the Amish and went on the Amish trip with Global Education. I visited Washington and Philadelphia. I went to the Fist Friday in downtown Lancaster. I will go to New York also with Global Education.

One new cultural thing I learned is: There is more tolerance in this country.

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What would you like to share with the campus community about your culture or country? I would encourage everybody to travel and visit another countries and cultures.

I am glad to have this opportunity of studying abroad, I am so pleased and I will like to promote the idea of studying abroad.