MU Guided: Capstone in Sweden

Dr. Jason Petula, Assistant Professor and Faculty Coordinator of Internationalization, led a group of students for an educational practicum experience in Stockholm, Sweden.

This program was geared towards students working on their Integrative STEM Education Methods (ISEM) minor and allows for students to implement their skills in different cultural context. Participants had the opportunity to work with both teachers and students at the Internationella Engelska Skolan (International English School), the largest free school organization at the compulsory level in Sweden.  The International English School organization is now officially partners with Millersville University, after building closer ties over international education for several years.

The ISEM minors traveled to Sweden during Winter 2019 for their capstone course.  But, they took the long way to Sweden.  After breakfast in Copenhagen, they arrived in Vilnius, Lithuania – taking in snowshoeing, a trek to Trakai Castle, and the Winter Market to celebrate Russian Christmas.  A bus ride brought them to Riga, Latvia to explore the old city and learn about the House of Blackheads.  Finally, they crossed the Baltic Sea, aboard a ferry, to Stockholm to begin their course at Internationella Engelska Skolan Nacka to rendezvous with their host families to begin their course.

 

Dr. David Teaches at Huaqiao University in China

The below article was written for the Fall/Winter 2018 Newsletter for Applied Engineering, Safety & Technology Department.

Ni Hao! Sad to say – my Chinese extends not far beyond “hello”, but thank goodness for Google Translate!  I needed it, having spent seven weeks last summer in the Peoples Republic of China – five as a visiting instructor and two more weeks touring.

The opportunity to teach in China came about through a cooperative exchange program between Millersville University, the China Center for International Educational Exchange, and host institutions in China. As the first MU faculty member to be offered a position through CCIEE, I traveled to China with little knowledge of what to expect and much anticipation. After a fourteen-hour flight to Beijing, and soon after, another three- hour flight south, I was within an hours drive to my final destination, Huaqiao University (HQU) in Quanzhou, the Fujian province. Up to this point, I had no direct contact or communication with anyone at the university. To my delight, upon arriving at the Xiamen airport, students greeted me with a welcome sign, big smiles, and fortunately, good command of English. These were my students. It was 1:00 pm, I was still jet lagged, and they informed me that we had class that evening at 6. But “you could cancel”, they said – I declined, and met the rest of my 32 students that evening.

The HQU campus and the cultural change were daunting at first. With a student assigned as my assistant to help me get settled, and another as my academic liaison, I quickly learned to navigate the HQU campus and academic policies and procedures. With an enrollment of about 23,000 students in undergraduate through doctoral level offerings, HQU is considered of medium size in China, and is rather self-contained. The campus offered multiple dining facilities each specializing in different, mostly Asian, cuisines. Shops of all types, a small supermarket, personal care establishments, coffee bistros, shoe and leather repair are all within the campus walls. Besides students, nearly all faculty, staff and administrators live on campus, most in rented apartments, with some privately owned. My campus apartment was spacious and a short walk to my classroom building. While I always believed MU to have a beautiful campus, and still do, the HQU campus was especially picturesque and manicured with lakes, pedestrian bridges, flowers, banyan, mango and jackfruit trees, many tranquil pathways and a hiking trail up and around the nearby mountain.

I was assigned to International Business department, teaching a required Production and Operations Management course to sophomores.  All IB students are required to speak English and many of their classes are taught in English. While there are similarities to my teaching experiences at MU, there were some differences as well – including a 10-minute break for every 50 minutes of instruction, sounded by loud bells. Other differences included the cameras in the front and back of classrooms rooms (I waved upon entering the room not knowing who, if anyone was watching), final exams that were vetted by “someone” in administration (two versions required for their analysis and they determine which to administer), a lectern remotely unlocked and locked for each class, and student seating that appeared to be straight out of Little House on the Prairie. Although I was not provided a course syllabus or even a course description, I was required to provide a detailed “teaching plan” to include daily objectives, lecture content, goals, review questions, homework, etc., and the class time I allotted for each. Students move through their program in cohorts so there is a close bond between them and they were not too different from my students here. They are glued to their smartphones and dress in clothing printed with English words, phrases and sports teams. One day I arrived to class and noticed a student was wearing a t-short with Pittsburgh emblazoned across the front.  I commented about it, and the student looked down at writing and said “Yeah, what is that?” I explained.

Technologically, China is a contradiction of old and new. Ancient structures shadowed by architecturally interesting new construction. Chinese currency, the Yuan, is used little as payment and often discouraged. Rather, the Chinese prefer payment by smartphone using the ubiquitous app WeChat. Even smallest of street vendors accepted WeChat payments that is essentially a Facebook PayPal type product. WeChat was also the means by which I communicated and shared teaching materials with students. Concerned at first about using WeChat for that purpose, I soon discovered that the administration sanctioned it and used it as well for University communication; there was no course management software. I also found WeChat convenient for keeping in touch with family in the US via its free video chat feature.

Traveling in China was surprisingly easy and felt safe, and the parks, museums and public spaces beautiful. My wife met me in Beijing after my stint at HQU. Wherever we went, the Chinese people were friendly and helpful.  I have many stories of strangers inviting me to join them for ceremonial tea, offering rides to my destinations, re-filling my water bottle, and more.  In Quanzhou, I found the bus system a convenient, inexpensive and reliable way to tour. While traversing the countryside, high-speed rail systems smoothly and comfortably carried passengers at speeds of over 300 km/h passing large cities unknown to me, with tall modern buildings and wide roads. In all, I toured five well-known cities Beijing, Xi’an, Chengdu, Xiamen, Guilin, as well as the environs in and around Quanzhou, a non-touristy, small by Chinese standards, city of 8 million at the end of the ancient Silk Road.

I am grateful to Millersville University and my Chinese hosts for providing such an incredible opportunity. My understanding of China and its people is far different from what I expected, and I look forward to one day returning.

– Dr. Barry G. David

 

End of Semester Celebration – Fall 2018

The English Language Institute (ELI) celebrated students who graduated from the program this past week. It was also an end of semester send-off for other international students.The event also allowed the students to learn about major holidays in the U.S. and holiday customs, sing songs, and have a brunch together.

The ELI held a series of presentations by Level 3 students. The prompt for the presentations was “How would you make the ELI more welcoming for international students?” 4 students gave speeches on inspiration quotes, bonding through a campfire evening, sharing local customs and holidays, and brightening up physical spaces with real plants that the students would take care of. It was inspiring to see the students display their progress in language ability and confidence.

Two students who graduated the program this term are Yina Wang and Reem Abdulaziz Balfas. Congratulations!

MOSAIC Summer 2019

Dr. Jim Harf from Maryville University visited campus this past month to prepare for the Summer 2019 MOSAIC Study Abroad program. Millersville University has been partnering with Maryville University for several years to send students on summer study abroad programs to various locations throughout Europe. This semester, we signed an agreement with Maryville University to formalize our relationship.

One of the unique things about this program is that faculty from Maryville, Millersville and others teach on the program, as well as local faculty in each host location. Students can earn 6 credits and spend 3-4 weeks abroad with a cohort of students from Millersville and Maryville.

Locations for summer 2019 include: Dublin, Florence, Lugano and Oxford. A wide variety of courses are offered and can be viewed on the websites linked below.

If you are interested in checking out the program below are some resources:

Maryville University’s MOSAIC Website

Millersville University’s MOSAIC Website (MU students apply through here)

If Millersville students are interested in hearing more information or applying, please stop by the Office of International Programs and Services, in Cumberland House or contact our office for next steps: International@Millersville.edu 717-871-7506

Madison Kacmar – Global Interest

I got interested in international initiatives when I changed my major to International Studies. Through one of my classes, I got to visit the United Nations and it sparked my interest in working globally after college. I then became a member of the Global Ambassador program, which let me take part in many diverse activities.

These pictures are from the international student New York trip that I got to help lead. I learned that no matter what language someone speaks or culture they’re a part of, people tend to go through the same things and can always share a common interest. It has been so fun to get to know so many international students and see different perspectives.

I think everyone should get involved with the Office of International Programs & Services because it gives you a broad outlook on today’s society, and let’s you have a better understanding of the world. I’d also encourage students to become a Global Ambassador because it opens the door to a variety of opportunities you might otherwise miss.

Study Abroad Portal Changes

On October 29th, integration was completed for all faculty and staff on the Study Abroad Portal. This changed the login process for all faculty and staff who need to access the Portal via: https://millersville-ogep.terradotta.com/

For students, the Portal is where to go to review program information, request study abroad advising, or apply to a study abroad program. For faculty and staff, this is where to complete study abroad recommendations. For others, it is where to turn in paperwork and review student applications for MU Guided Programs.

Previously,  faculty and staff needed to create an account and login with an email and password of your choosing. Now, all users may use the general “LOGIN” button to log in with your MU username and password.

If you can’t remember your Millersville password, or need to reset it, you can go to the MU login page: https://www.millersville.edu/logins/ and click on this icon below:

If you notice any issues logging in over the next several weeks, please notify our office. As always in technical transitions, there will be a few issues that arise. We hope that this transition will allow easier access to the system and less confusion.

  • International@Millersville.edu
  • 717-871-7506

New York City Trip

New York Trip

On Saturday, October 20th the Office of International Programs and Services took its annual trip to New York City. Over 30 international students and members of the campus community ventured out to explore the city on this beautiful autumn day.

International Programs Student Staff

The Office of International Programs and Services would like to recognize the hard work and dedication shown by our student staff. The office regularly works with interns, student workers, and graduate assistants to help provided services to Millersville’s international student population, the study abroad student population, and faculty and staff who work with our office.

Our student staff represent a variety of majors including International Studies, Psychology, Spanish, Business Administration, Speech Communication and more and many have studied abroad all over the world!

If you are interested in working or interning for our office for a future semester, check out our Get Involved webpage!

Homecoming Porch Party & Millersville Community Parade

Homecoming 2018

Uploaded by MU – International Programs & Services on 2018-10-13.

This year Millersville University international students marched in the Millersville Community Parade. The students held flags representing the current international and diverse student body.

The Office of International Programs & Services also held its third annual Homecoming Porch Party at Cumberland House. Study abroad alumni are invited every year to meet the current international students as they get to experience a piece of Americana and community history. 

International Tea Time – October

International Tea Time

This month the International Tea Time was dedicated to painting pumpkins! This even is a time to gather with professors, staff, friends and students to share great, international food and learn more about culture.

The event happens once a month during the semester. If you missed this one, the next will be held in

November 15 from 4:00-5:00PM.

 

 

International Tea Time: Pumpkin Painting

Uploaded by MU – International Programs & Services on 2018-10-23.