Wednesday, October 31, 2012

Dealine for Paris application due Thursday, Nov. 1; other trips coming up

Tiffany Brown traveled to China this summer, and hopes to expand her horizons further next year.
In China, we climbed the Great Wall, visited the house of a master of kung-fu, took a dragon boat ride and visited four different cities, said Brown.The people were so friendly and treated us like celebrities.Brown recommends the study-abroad program to fellow students.It gives you a different opportunity to experience something that you can’t get from a book, she said. “It shows you the world in a whole new light. I did not have a low point while there.

Brown hopes to travel again.In 2013, UDM students will have the opportunity to travel to Brazil, France, China and Italy as part of the study-abroad program.We are partnering with Marygrove for the France trip, said Lara Wasner, director of Language and Cultural Training. “This is a great opportunity to work together and we hope that there are more opportunities to travel together in the future.The Brazil program, begun in 2005, has rotated through the College of Liberal Arts and Education, giving different faculty members an opportunity to teach, she said.The Italy program runs every summer through the College of Architecture, she said.I first visited China in 2010 and took ten students there last summer.

Two obstacles  time and money keep many students from participating, Wasner said.We want students to have an international experience at their time at the university,” she said. “Many students are not able to participate in the whole semester abroad, so the faculty-led trip is a great option, as students can learn and engage in cultural activities in the places that they are visiting.I do everything in my power to make this happen for students, she added.We have sponsorship forms, which helped one student pay for their entire trip. Financial aid can also be used. We want to make this happen for you.”

Last summer, Wasner and a group of students, faculty and alumni traveled to Cuba.Shelly Payne was among them. She said the experience changed her life.In the beginning, I didn’t want to go, but my mom forced me,” said Payne.I later learned that I have some Cuban lineage. I knew that Cuba existed, but I didn’t understand the whole essence of it. It is engrained in us not to like Cuba, but traveling there opened my eyes.The people are just like us so it made me wonder what the whole disagreement between our two countries was about,” she said.The people were so friendly and I loved dancing at the Buena Vista Social Club.With restrictions once again tightening regarding travel to Cuba, the program will not be running in 2013.But Wasner said that she looks forward to running it again in the future.Payne said that she plans on traveling to Brazil in 2013 and would also recommend studying abroad to anyone.I had no low points while in Cuba,” said Payne. “It was the experience of a lifetime. You don’t really gain a lot of knowledge if you are stuck in one place. It makes you a better person and a better teacher. If you do the trip right and go there for educational reasons and are open to opening yourself up, you will enjoy it.”

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