Tag Archive for 'Travel'

How to make study abroad dreams a reality

By Emily Colon

I think it’s safe to assume that many college students dream of studying abroad. Well, what if I told you that dream could become a reality? Every single time you talk to people who have studied abroad, they all tell you that it was the best time and experience of their lives. I don’t know about you, but I know that every time I hear someone talk about their experience, it makes me want to travel right then and there!

Unfortunately, I have not studied abroad because I am just a freshman, but I dream of studying abroad at least once if not more during my undergraduate education. What I want to tell you about is how to make studying abroad possible.

First off, the place to start is the Office of International Affairs located in Dempsey Hall. They can get you on your way. If your problem is not knowing where to go, that should not be a problem because you can pretty much go anywhere in the world. Many people’s first thought is that they can’t afford it, so they miss out on a chance of a lifetime experience. What most people don’t know is that there are tons of scholarships available. You can even use your financial aid to pay for study abroad expenses.

Okay then, once you have a location in mind and have found a way to pay for it, you have the basics down, but still have so much more to cover. Other things you might want to cover are what you plan to do in this foreign country and how long you will stay. Many more things need to be planned before you embark on your trip, but these tips will get you started.

A great place and resource that can help and answer a lot of your questions is available to you right now on your computer! All UW Oshkosh students have access toThe Big Guide to Living and Working Overseas, an online database that has a ton of resources that deal with studying, volunteering and working abroad. It has tips on what you need to do to prepare for a trip and so much more. I have been exploring the page and have found it really useful. The next time you are thinking of studying abroad or are just curious, make sure you visit The Big Guide online.

Career Adviser Intern Stephanie Levine Unpacks Her Study Abroad Experience

By Stephanie Levine (pictured below wearing black)

Hi, I am Steph Levine, the College of Business Career Advisor Intern in Career Services. In addition to working in Career Services, I am currently pursuing my master’s degree in professional counseling at UW Oshkosh. During January interim I had the opportunity to participate in a two week study abroad to Malaysia. The course, entitled Counseling, Spirituality, and Service in Malaysia, counted for a three credit elective toward my degree. Since completing my undergraduate degree, my one regret was never studying abroad. When I learned about this opportunity from my professor, Dr. Kelli Saginak, I knew it would be the perfect chance for me to gain the study abroad experience that I always felt I had missed.

Our group consisted of twelve students, our professor Dr. Kelli Saginak, and her friend and colleague, Dr. Thana Singarajah from Idaho State University’s Department of Counseling. As well as being a professor and clinical provider of mental health services, Dr. Thana is originally from Malaysia and was a great resource for us on our journey.

Our trip was split between two destinations, one week in the capital city of Malaysia, Kuala Lumpur, and the second week in George Town on the island of Penang. During our time, we participated in a number of service learning experiences including volunteering with toddlers and school aged children as well as children and adults with disabilities. In addition to service learning, we assisted our professor in leading three days of workshops on play therapy. The attendees, who were mental health professionals and graduate students, shared their excitement and passion for learning.

It was wonderful to see so many professionals dedicated to providing excellent care to children and adolescents, especially in a society and culture where counseling is not viewed in a very positive light. Our trip also consisted of cultural experiences, including visiting temples and mosques, attending cultural dance performances, hiking and seeing the waterfalls at Templer Park, visiting an elephant sanctuary (and riding elephants!), and making Chinese “love letters,” a wafer like fortune cookie in celebration of the Chinese New Year. To say that our days were busy is an understatement.

Overall, it was a great learning experience for me both personally and professionally. I feel I am leaving my journey with an increased sense of multicultural awareness and the desire to break down cultural and language barriers to connect with others. Based on my experience and hearing the positive experiences of friends throughout the years, I would highly encourage any student to consider studying abroad. It is a once in the life time opportunity and a great learning experience to add to your resume.

Have you completed a study abroad and are not sure how to include it on your resume? Call or stop by Career Services to schedule an appointment with a Career Advisor. We would be happy to help you showcase your learning and experience!

To learn more about what life is like abroad, check out The BIG Guide to Living and Working Overseas!

Movers and Shakers: UWO alumna, Wanda Kern ’95 and ’00 MSE, takes fairy tale study trip to Europe

By Sheng Lee (@shengdanger)

University of Wisconsin Oshkosh alumna Wanda Kern ’95 and ’00 MSE, loves sharing a great story with her Jefferson Elementary School students in Oshkosh.

Through a grant, she and her husband, Mike, traveled to Europe this past summer to research two of the greatest storytellers of all time, the Brothers Grimm.

As Jefferson Elementary was celebrating its 125th anniversary, Kern’s curiosity about the fairy tale pioneers grew when she began researching the school’s rich history. Jefferson’s first students were recent immigrants from Germany. Their parents worked at sawmills in the area during the day, and attended the school at night to learn English and basic skills to pass citizenship tests.

The school’s goal for this year was to improve written and oral communication skills among its students, so Kern blended the two ideas together into one “grand educational journey.”

“I wanted to learn more about the inspiration behind the numerous Grimm fairy tales, and I wanted to see and connect with the land and people who had first entered Jefferson Elementary School in the 1880s,” Kern said.

She was delighted when she found out that she and her co-teaching partner, Jodie Kadonsky, were named the 2011 Fund for Teachers fellows.

“The Fund for Teachers Fellowship enriches the personal and professional growth of teachers by recognizing and supporting them as they identify and pursue opportunities around the globe,” Kern said. “Their travels are meant to impact their practice, the academic lives of their students and their school communities.”

With funds secured for her learning quest, Kern and her husband jetted away in late July. Their adventure began in Luxembourg, Germany. They paid their respects to fallen soldiers at the Luxembourg American Cemetery and Memorial, and then traveled to Hanau, the birthplace of the Grimm brothers.

They continued along the German Fairy Tale Road and visited Gelnhausen.

“Gelnhausen was a charming city filled with half-timber-styled houses,” Kern said.

Kern and Mike spent a night in the castle that inspired the Rapunzel story. The castle, located atop a huge hill, is known as Castle Trendelburg.

Traveling through many small villages and hamlets, the couple arrived in Bremen, where the famous Town Musicians of Bremen story was set. Kern described it as a gorgeous and bustling city. From Bremen, they traveled to Hamelin, where they found the Pied Piper directing tours through the city.

As the couple left Germany, they visited the site of the Battle of the Bulge and again paid their respects to the thousands of soldiers who gave their lives for freedom. The couple also visited a war cemetery in the Netherlands.

Making their way to Amsterdam, they visited an open air museum dedicated to Dutch history and explored the canals and lively streets of the city.

“We adored the city of Brussels, Belgium, and even spent six hours in Mets, France — just to be able to say we had been to France,” Kern said. “Our trip concluded back in Luxembourg for our return flight. It was an extremely busy 12-day journey filled with beauty, learning and discovery of ancient and historic buildings and land.”

From her journey, Kern learned about the historic cities. As she visited sites that had inspired stories told for more than 150 years, she gained a deeper sense of appreciation for recording family stories. Upon returning to the U.S., Kern decided to have her students and their parents record some of their family history in written form to be preserved and shared with future generations.

During her time in Europe, she studied culture, politics, geography and cuisine. Although not the original intention of the grant, Kern learned much about the great sacrifices of WWII soldiers.

She also learned how to rely on the kindness of strangers and to admit to not knowing or understanding everything.

“In reality, I was shown how connected the world is, and I was touched by how kind people are all around the world.”

With all of her new knowledge, Kern hopes to apply her research in her classroom.

“I will be connecting my travel and learning experiences to our writing and oral language lessons,” she said. “We will be reading and learning about some of the lesser-known Grimm fairy tales and connecting with written responses to them.”

Kern enjoys helping her students make individual gains both academically and socially.

This year marks Kern’s 16th year teaching at Jefferson Elementary. She loves hearing that her students enjoy school and thinks of them as her “second-grade family.”

In a fairy tale of her own, Kern and her husband live in Oshkosh with their children and pets. In November, the couple will celebrate their 16th wedding anniversary.

Kern was a freshman at UW Oshkosh when she met Mike. He had just graduated from UW Oshkosh with a double major and was working as a financial analyst at a local bank. Kern was working at the same bank as a teller. The two were hired within a week of each other, and the rest is history.

“We have been blessed with three children,” Kern said. “We also have a silly and wonderful cat that we rescued from the Oshkosh animal shelter and a naughty golden retriever.”

UWO students to discuss journey to China

Telling the stories that happen outside of the classroom is important to Grace Lim and her journalism students.

“I teach students who want to be journalists. For them to be journalists, they have to do journalism,” said Lim, University of Wisconsin Oshkosh journalism instructor and editor of Beyond Classroom Walls, an online publication that highlights the excellence in teaching and learning that occurs at the University.

On Wednesday, Oct. 12 two of Lim’s former students and multimedia interns – Tom Hanaway and Kristen Manders – will have the opportunity to share their story of a three-week journey to China through a presentation, The Midwest in The Far East. Hanaway and Manders were among more than 30 math education and business/economics students who made the educational trip to China last summer.

“This is, without a doubt, one of the greatest experiences I’ve ever had in my life,” said Hanaway in a Behind Classroom Walls video, which was created from atop the Great Wall of China.

The Midwest in the Far East will be held at Reeve Union Theatre at 6 p.m. Oct. 12 and is open to the public. Manders and Hanaway will answer questions following their presentation. (Read more by Amanda Wimmer)

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