“Why I Love My Students” by Dr. Francine McNairy

President McNairy was the author of the “Sunday’s Guest” column in the May 20th, 2012 edition of the Lancaster Sunday News. In her article “Why I love my students,” Dr. McNairy expressed the following sentiments regarding the effects of studying abroad that she has witnessed while at Millersville University:

“The talented, highly motivated and bright students in our Honors College and Global Studies Programs also cause me to beam with pride. Their faces glow when they describe their life-altering experiences as a result of studying abroad. I marvel at their growth as students and as individuals when they share their expanded worldview and respect for other cultures.”

Along the same lines of Dr. McNairy’s statements, the Office of Global Education is also extremely proud of the dedication that MU students put forth in order to make Millersville University a more globally understanding and enriched campus.

“Travel the World with MU Senior Bri Kozior”

Millersville student Bri Kozior spent her Fall 2010 semester at the University of the Sunshine Coast in Australia and her Spring 2011 semester at the IUSP program at Philipps-Universität Marburg in Germany! Click on the following link to read about her experiences abroad, featured in The Snapper (article written by Julie Raffensperger): http://thesnapper.com/2012/04/12/travel-the-world-with-mu-senior-bri-kozior/

Global Education Featured in the Review

Expanding global opportunities is one of the eight priorities of Millersville University’s Soar to Greatness Capital Campaign. Through studying, interning and student teaching abroad, MU students are able to gain a cross-cultural understanding that will benefit them both personally and professionally.

Global education was featured prominently in the Summer 2011 edition of the Review. Please click on the link below to be directed to an electronic version of the Review, including two articles highlighting the experiences of MU students abroad.

Click here to access the electronic edition of the Summer 2011 Review.

“Studying abroad: is it right for me?”

Article by Snapper news reporter Beth Anne Heesen

Millersville’s campus just would not be the same without the playful squirrels, quacking ducks, and beautiful swans. Study abroad students are enjoying different kinds of animals at their campuses overseas—like monkeys at the University of KwaZula-Natal in South Africa and kangaroos at the University of the Sunshine Coast in Australia.

“They really do have them…I witnessed them,” said Dr. Kirsten Bookmiller, the university’s Director of Global Education and Partnerships, at a Study Abroad Info Session last Thursday evening. She had the pictures to prove it.

Graduate Assistant of Global Education and Partnerships Breanne Zipko said Millersville students are heading overseas in increasing numbers because more options are available to them than in the past. Students are now able to not only take classes abroad, but also intern, student teach, complete their social work field placements, or take a Millersville course abroad.

“We have been bombarded at our office,” Bookmiller said.

Despite the high level of interest Millersville students are showing in going abroad, some are hesitant for a variety of reasons. Financial concerns are common. Bookmiller said that federal financial aid can be applied to Study Abroad programs for students who are eligible to receive financial aid, and that the costs for programs vary depending on where you go.

Another concern has to do with language, but Bookmiller said there is no need to be able to speak a foreign language. “We have a variety of opportunities to take classes in countries where English is not the primary language and have classes in English.”

Some students (or their parents) worry that a semester overseas will be a blow-off semester, or that the quality of education will not be as good.

“People stereotype that in America we know best,” said Zipko. “But there are so many areas of expertise in universities abroad.”

She pointed to Saint Mary’s University College in Belfast, Ireland as an example. “This is a real opportunity for education majors,” she said. “It was originally established as a teaching school.”

There are also opportunities for students to go to business schools in Spain and France. Another unique experience is available for social work majors to complete their 450-hour field placement requirement abroad. For example, there are a number of social work students in South Africa this semester. Zipko said this field placement is invaluable because it gives social work majors a chance to work somewhere where there is a great need for them and that is very different from Lancaster.

“It’s a huge résumé builder,” she said. “You get a wonderful international experience.”

Cayla McCullough, who studied abroad at the Universidad de Burgos in Spain, said foreign language majors should definitely try to study abroad. Matt Palmer, who also studied at the Universidad de Burgos, said his experience was a complete cultural immersion. “You are forced to adjust to the new culture,” he said. “It can be tough, but it is fun and amazing to see how people live.”

The deadline to apply to study abroad during summer or fall 2011 is Feb. 18, and in September to study abroad during spring 2012. Zipko said a lot of students hand their applications in early. “You just want to pack your bags and go,” she said. “They’re so excited because there’s a huge sense of ‘This is it. I’m going!’”

Students interested in studying abroad should stop by the Office of Global Education and Partnerships at Cumberland House on the corner of Frederick and George streets between 8:30 a.m. and 4:30 p.m. Mondays through Fridays. They can also call (717) 872-3884, email GlobalEducation@Millersville.edu, or look up StudyAbroad Millersville on Facebook.

Taken from the Feb. 10, 2011 edition of The Snapper.

MU’s President McNairy Discusses Global Education

On Sunday, November 20, 2010, MU’s President Dr. Francine McNairy was the featured author of the Sunday’s Guest column in Lancaster’s Sunday News. The article, which discusses the importance of global education, is copied below:

Sunday News
Nov 20, 2010
By DR. FRANCINE G. McNAIRY, Sunday’s Guest

Universities have long been champions of faculty and student international study programs. Everyone benefits from an educational experience beyond our own backyard, one that affects how we perceive ourselves and our world. The 21st century has shown us that our lives are increasingly intertwined with the lives and events of people around the globe.

This summer, I found myself in Shanghai and then Beijing. I accompanied fellow Central Pennsylvanians visiting China for the World Business Expo 2010. During the six-month event, Shanghai hosted more than 70 million visitors from around the world. Our 23-member delegation included representatives from Millersville University, as well as business and industry leaders from Lancaster County.

The expedition provided time to reacquaint ourselves with alumni from our Shanghai Executive Training Program, which is designed to provide a high-quality educational opportunity for Chinese executives to learn about U.S. business principles and practices. Former State Sen. Gibson Armstrong, who was part of the delegation, has also been involved with our executive training program. “The most meaningful part of the trip for me was seeing the impact that the Shanghai Executive team has made,” he said. “They came to Lancaster as middle management, and they are now in upper management and extremely influential in both government and business in China.”

Marianne Nolt, a retired public school principal, and Joseph Nolt, chairman of Murray Risk Management & Insurance, were impressed by the respect and appreciation the alumni showed for the training program. They considered this to be especially significant in light of China’s commitment to economic growth as showcased at the expo.

China: what a life-altering experience! I benefited from the insights shared by my fellow travelers. Upon reflection, I wondered what observations Millersville University students have when they are afforded the opportunity to study and travel abroad. I didn’t have to look far. MU students report that they are more tolerant, flexible and curious about new ideas. They feel better able to accept others’ values and lifestyles as valid. Students improve their interpersonal communication skills and report they are more balanced in their judgments. Most heartening is that the experiences have broadened their worldview. They better understand other countries’ roles in world affairs and see the world as more interconnected than ever before. They have a deeper understanding of the common problems and issues that confront all human beings … an important development for those who will be tackling the real-world challenges facing us.

Sen. Armstrong noted that there is a need for the world powers to work together, to communicate for the future betterment of all countries. I, too, believe that the Shanghai Executive program, and others like it, are key in developing an understanding among the people of various countries. I also believe that cooperation between world powers begins at the individual level, which is why global education programs are so important.

It is also why a liberal arts education is invaluable. It is the means through which students are prompted to consider how our ideas about diversity and social responsibility translate into a global framework. It is in this education incubator that students are urged to contemplate universal values for an interdependent and diverse world. And it is here that students are encouraged to develop their global sensitivities.

One member of our delegation, Diane Koken, a legal/regulatory consultant and a former Pennsylvania insurance commissioner, was struck by the contrast between the poverty in the countryside and the urban prosperity of the people. “Although they promote a harmonious society, the potential for social unrest is a challenge. The culture of China is more diverse than I appreciated before; we learned that there are over 55 recognized minorities.”

Ms. Koken’s observation reminded me that the challenges facing our nation are not unique. “We also learned that there are 6 million new college graduates each year,” she continued, “and so the need to create jobs is strong.” It’s a sentiment mirrored in our own concerns for U.S. graduates. Travel experiences like this one afford us the opportunity to meet the people and experience the culture, history and societal issues of other countries. It helps us to see that our country’s challenges are sometimes comparable to those in others parts of the world.

I returned from this experience with a renewed commitment to global education and a determination to help Pennsylvania citizens understand issues that link people, cultures, governments, businesses and nongovernmental groups together; to find the means to improve relations and enhance the mutual understanding necessary for successful economic and intercultural relations in the future. Together with the faculty and administration at Millersville University, I am committed to creating and sustaining a world-class liberal arts education that enables our students and our citizens to thrive in the world marketplace.

Cited from http://articles.lancasteronline.com/local/4/314857.

Lessons from Durban, South Africa

The following is an article written by Millersville University student Franchezca Taveras on her study abroad experience in South Africa.

Lessons from Durban, South Africa

Summer 2008 was a life changing experience. I had the opportunity to study abroad in the University of  KwaZulu-Natal as well as work as a volunteer in Streetwise, a non-profit, non- governmental organization  (NGO) in Durban, South Africa.

Streetwise has been serving the community since December 1988, and for nearly 20 years has helped  street boys to rehabilitate from their life style in the streets. The organization offers the children humanitarian aid, helps trace their families, life/social skills, and bridging education. The organization has also helped impact national policy regarding street children, and informed communities of the problem by providing families with prevention methods.

There are many factors that force children to make the streets their homes among these include, poverty, sexual and/or physical abuse, parent’s drug and or alcohol addiction, lack of resources, neglect, community violence and HIV/Aids (one of the main factors and still increasing.) In 2004 is was estimated that more than 10,000 children were living in the streets of urban areas in South Africa, however that number has more than doubled in the past four years.

I participated in the first three steps of the program which are 1) to outreach by building trust in the streets by learning the “street culture”, 2) to facilitate short term rehabilitation which includes basic needs, social skills and medical attention, and 3) after care if the child is reconciled with his family and community. I built close relationships with many of the children. However, it was not until I wondered the streets at night that I realized how unique and strong these children really are.

I was impressed with their smiles and optimism. The older ones would assure the younger ones were taken care of and would receive some food. There were many subcultures I encountered but one thing they all had in common was the level of maturity and the reasons that brought them to the streets. That first night I could not sleep, I even vomited various times thinking of the living conditions these children were forced to live in. Next morning, when the children ran towards me back at the school, I could not stop smiling, because I felt so proud of them….I looked up to them.

From that day forward I began seeing things in a new light. At first I could not understand how these children were so brave to make that transition from the streets, how they smiled and laughed everyday regardless of their hardships.They appreciated the small things we take for granted. Like school, food, and love.

I thought I went there to offer my help and make a difference, but they did more for me than I did for them, they gave me a new perspective to life, and motivation I never had. One of the things some of the older children said to me when giving me my goodbye letters and hugs was to please finish school.

For more information or interest in getting involved visit www.street-wise.co.za and next semester on February 13th come out and support the organization. It’s for a good cause…the kids.

by Franchezka Taveras