Tag: International Education

UW-Green Bay International Education and Study Abroad have banner years

top-story-internationalThey are UW-Green Bay’s ambassadors to the far reaches of the world. A record 229 UWGB students traveled to 30 locations outside the United States in 2014-15. The most popular destinations — Cuernavaca, Mexico, Spain, Italy and South Africa. And 2015-16 enrollment numbers are just as promising.

UWGB’s Office of International Education (OIE) also helped International students navigate life in the United States, the unpredictable weather of Green Bay, and the culture shock of a foreign land. Those students came from 30 countries with nearly 25 percent of them from China, followed by Brazil, Germany, France, Japan and Canada.

Without the OIE, students who often are still learning English as a Second Language (ESL) would be incredibly challenged by instances sometimes even challenging for US residents — airport pick-up and academics, orientation, immigration, programming, financial and health insurance, taxes, driver’s licenses and more.

OIE professionals expect an equally busy year, having already enrolled about 45 new students, with applications still being accepted for 2015-16. New international students are picked up from Green Bay’s Austin Straubel airport on August 24 and 25 and orientation begins almost immediately.

“The students are exposed to community culture with a four-day orientation program designed around local events (Art Street, Farmers Market, Lambeau Field tour) and a trip to Door County,” OIE Student Coordinator Kristy Aoki says. “They also receive an overview of campus services, academic orientation and placement testing. Some international students arrived over summer and are already participating in a summer Intensive English Program.” The mentoring continues all year long and even after students leave UWGB.

“In some ways, we are always their connection to this country,” says Aoki. “The Office of International Education staff becomes an important point of contact for most incoming international students and outgoing study abroad students. Imagine moving to a new country and relearning a completely new system for just about everything from basic cultural norms and creating new friendships to navigating a new educational system, health care and immigration laws. Both studying abroad and international students are brave and courageous for taking the risk to try something new and truly step outside of their comfort zone.”

OIE staff members are rejuvenated by the impact these experiences make on the students they serve — both those that Study Abroad, and those that make UWGB their home for just a short time. Former International Student Niklas Haemer, native of Germany, was so moved by his experience, that he left this grateful post recently on the UWGB Facebook page:

“Unfortunately everything comes to an end and now it is time to leave something behind which has shaped my life a lot… I will never forget this time of my life…I want to thank the people who made this year unbelievably awesome.”

OIE Director Brent Blahnik says the outcomes for students in “mobility programs,” (both study abroad and international students) enrolled at UWGB — have impact beyond cultural competence.

“Studies show that students who study abroad improve their GPA’s and retain higher academic performance in the semesters following a sojourn abroad. Students report greater independence, self-confidence, and maturity; and they also develop skills needed for employment including an ability to problem solve and work through ambiguity,” Blahnik says. “Students learn how to thrive in diverse environments, improve foreign language skills, and take calculated risks. Further national studies show that students who study abroad have higher job placement rates in the 12 months following graduation (nearly double) and earn approximately $7,000 per year more than their peers who do not study abroad.”

Those who report back on their study abroad experiences often have similar themes: life-changing, priceless, confidence-building, but student Ben Freeman seemed to capture it best — “It’s only when you get away from everything you thought defined you that you truly discover who you really are.”

Round trip ticket to Cypress opened a new world to Aoki

top-story-after-thoughtsThere was a time when Kristy Aoki wanted to be an athletic trainer. Then she met a group of students who introduced her to international culture, and a friend who convinced her to take a trip to Cypress. It was the first of 30 trips to foreign lands, and she discovered that traveling the world helped her find her place in it.

Aoki is the student service coordinator for UW-Green Bay’s Office of International Education. She was the featured speaker at UW-Green Bay’s final After Thoughts event of the academic year, April 7 at the Weidner Center. She shared her many experiences — from rich to challenging — in helping international students successfully navigate in the U.S., in Green Bay and at UW-Green Bay.

There are about 120 international students from about 30 countries that attend UW-Green Bay this semester, with China (25%), Brazil (10%), Germany (8%), France (7%), Japan and Canada (6%) leading the list. Aoki helps them with airport pick-up and academics, orientation, immigration, programming, financial and health insurance, taxes, driver’s licenses and more.

“International students are followed closely, requiring us to prove semester registration, change of status, work authorization, internship approvals and address updates,” Aoki says. “Because they can receive a work VISA after graduating, it is the responsibility of the host institution to update immigration post-graduation as well.”

It’s not all pushing paperwork. Aoki and the International Education Office staff also introduce students to American culture — large Thanksgiving dinners, pumpkin carving, bonding trips to Door County, and of course, an annual trip to Lambeau Field. These activities often lead to deep connections between the International Office staff members and the students they serve.

Aoki also reminded the After Thoughts crowd about the benefits to a University of having international students on campus, echoing a recent Duke University (Journal of International Students, June 2013) study that showed that interactions between international students and American peers strengthen the experiences of all, and positively influence the U.S. students’ friends and families toward international students; the experience expands the Americans’ world view and challenges existing views; the experience increases Americans’ appreciation of art, literature, historical perspective and language skills and it positively impacts their careers and public service.

The enrichment that international students provide a campus community is reason enough for a strong program, says Aoki, but she points to a financial benefit to a community as well. She noted that 65% of international students are completely supported by their own families, and contribute over 27 billion dollars to the U.S. economy (2013-14). That translates into three U.S. jobs created for every seven international students who study in the U.S.

Now in its fourth full season, After Thoughts seeks to connect women in the community with UW-Green Bay. The gatherings showcase University faculty, staff and guests, and convene women — and often, “a few good men” — after their workdays for learning, enrichment and fun. The sessions are so named because they provide “After Thoughts” for participants to take with them when they leave.

Each After Thoughts event takes place from 5-7 p.m. in the Grand Foyer of the Weidner Center for the Performing Arts on campus, 2420 Nicolet Drive. The events begin with time to network, mingle and enjoy hors d’oeuvres before the featured guest speaker begins. The tentative fall 2015 line-up includes Nursing Professor Heather Herdman on complementary and alternative medicine and Professors Alison Gates and Heidi Sherman, who bring artisan skill and history together to explore experimental archeology and the “UWGB Flax project.”

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Photos by Eric Miller, Marketing and University Communication

‘After Thoughts’ to feature UW-Green Bay’s Aoki on international education

Kristy Aoki

Kristy Aoki

UW-Green Bay’s Kristy Aoki will speak on the value, challenges and joys of international education during an After Thoughts event Tuesday, April 7.

Her topics include what it takes to prepare students to make UW-Green Bay their home-away-from-home, how hosting international students helps to enrich our campus and community, and how travel experiences transform students into sought-after employees in the new global economy.

“Study Abroad experiences actively transform our students into the adaptable, confident, creative problem solvers who are being sought after by employers around the globe,” Aoki says.

Aoki joined UW-Green Bay in July 2005 as the Student Services Coordinator in the Office of International Education. She is currently the chair-elect for NAFSA: Association of International Educators Region V, which provides professional training for individuals working with international students and scholars, study abroad, and international student recruitment. She previously chaired the Wisconsin Association of International Educators in 2011.

Aoki earned a B.S. in International Relations and an M.S. in Counseling Student Personnel from Minnesota State University. While completing her undergraduate degree, Aoki studied at the University of Glasgow and participated in a home stay in Cyprus. She later taught junior high school English in Japan for three years, and has traveled to 26 countries.

The April 7 After Thoughts event will begin with a 5 p.m. reception, followed by Aoki’s talk at 5:45 p.m. in the Grand Foyer of the Weidner Center for the Performing Arts at UW-Green Bay, 2420 Nicolet Drive. All attendees will be eligible to receive the evening’s door prize, two tickets to the May 27 India Dinner Lecture featuring Prof. Chris Style.

Now in its fourth full season, After Thoughts seeks to connect women in the community with UW-Green Bay. The gatherings showcase University faculty, staff and guests, and convene women — and often, “a few good men” — after their workdays for learning, enrichment and fun. The sessions are so named because they provide “After Thoughts” for participants to take with them when they leave.

Each After Thoughts event takes place from 5-7 p.m. in the Grand Foyer of the Weidner Center for the Performing Arts on campus, 2420 Nicolet Drive. The events begin with time to network, mingle and enjoy hors d’oeuvres before the featured guest speaker begins.

Seating for After Thoughts is limited, so advance registration is recommended. The cost of each program is $14. To reserve your spot, send a check (payable to “UW-Green Bay Foundation”) to: UW-Green Bay Foundation, CL 805, 2420 Nicolet Drive, Green Bay, WI 54311; or register online at https://secure.qgiv.com/for/afterthoughts. Walk-up registration also is an option. Call (920) 465-2074 for more information. You can find After Thoughts on Facebook at www.facebook.com/afterthoughts.uwgb. Visit www.uwgb.edu/afterthoughts for more information about the series.

#15-14

BSN experience has Marinette nurse thinking of education, Egypt

Egypt-RN-top-post

Amel Elshaier (above, left) says her immediate plans are to continue working as a registered nurse at Bay Area Medical Center in Marinette.

Some day, though, the naturalized American citizen, healthcare professional and educator would like to return to Egypt to help advance the practice of nursing education in her native country to the level she’s experienced in the United States.

Last Saturday (Dec. 13) Elshaier earned her bachelor’s of nursing degree at UW-Green Bay. She posed for a family snapshot with her daughter after the ceremony at the Weidner Center for the Performing Arts.

Elshaier emigrated from Egypt after receiving a doctor of medicine degree and master’s in internal medicine from Alexandria University in the late 1990s. She completed a doctorate in biochemistry at Chicago’s Rush University in 2006, and became a U.S. citizen in 2009.

She taught biochemistry at the UW College in Marinette for several semesters before settling on nursing as a focus for further schooling. In 2012 she started consulting with advisers in UW-Green Bay’s Professional Program in Nursing to supplement her studies at NWTC toward an associate degree in nursing. She began taking the general-education courses and, later, specialized upper-level courses necessary to turn her two-year R.N. diploma into a baccalaureate credential.

At UW-Green Bay, Elshaier won praise from faculty members for her professionalism, motivation and willingness to share with teachers and classmates stories from her own diverse experiences along with cultural perspectives on the nursing profession.

“She is articulate, bright and very supportive of nursing,” Associate Prof. Christine Vandenhouten said of Elshaier.

For the Nursing 455 course this past fall — the Community Health Practicum — Elshaier responded to a request made by community health staff members with whom she worked, and published an article in the Oneida tribal newspaper informing readers about infant wellness. In addition to a full academic course load, working as an RN and holding family responsibilities as a wife and mother of four children, she has been an active parent volunteer in the Peshtigo School District.

Elshaier tells her UW-Green Bay instructors she would some day like to apply her experience here to promoting stronger nursing-education programs in Egypt.

Nuova casa: UW-Green Bay celebrates da Vinci statue dedication

top-story-vinciThe quintessential Renaissance man now has a permanent home at an institution known for embodying his interdisciplinary ideals.

UW-Green Bay officially unveiled its new statue of Leonardo da Vinci May 14 with a ceremony, concert and reception on campus. A gift of the Romualdo Del Bianco Foundation, the 550-pound bust now resides in the Lenfestey Courtyard of Mary Ann Cofrin Hall.

Campus and community members joined Paolo Del Bianco, who started the foundation that is named for his father, in dedicating the statue as a tribute to international education and partnership. The businessman and philanthropist from Florence, Italy, received an honorary doctorate from UW-Green Bay in 2007, and has partnered with UW-Green Bay Profs. Sarah Meredith Livingston and Ray Hutchison, among others, to foster international exchange. UW-Green Bay was the first U.S. university to connect with the Del Bianco foundation, and is the only stateside institution receiving a da Vinci bust — one of just five to be donated worldwide — from the foundation.

“I would like to express my gratitude in this important moment,” Del Bianco said, moments after the statue was unveiled. “(I want) to thank your university because we have had an opportunity to learn a lot from you and from the opportunity you have given your students to arrive in Florence and to share with us a common experience. … With your efforts, you have given power and ideas to the foundation.”

UW-Green Bay is grateful for the cooperation and relationship with Del Bianco, his family and the foundation, added Chancellor Tom Harden. He also praised the role of Len and Dotty Seidl, who donated the marble pedestal for the statue, as well as the city of Green Bay and Mayor Jim Schmitt, who was on hand for the festivities.

“We also understand that we represent two great cities, Florence and Green Bay, and we’re both very aware that it’s from our families, from our communities that a lot of greatness comes,” Harden said. “And my new friend, my new brother Paolo and I will pledge to keep this cooperation and collaboration going.”

A program in the MAC Hall Winter Garden preceded da Vinci’s debut, featuring UW-Green Bay Provost Julia Wallace as emcee. Harden and Director of International Education Brent Blahnik offered brief remarks, as did Nancy Loberger, representing Rotary District 6220. UW-Green Bay Prof. Derek Jeffreys, who speaks Italian and has organized student travel courses to Florence, read Giacomo Leopardi’s poem “The Infinite” in Italian and English, delighting attendees before the group migrated outside for the big reveal.

After the statue’s unveiling — and plenty of photo ops — the group took una passeggiata (a walk) to the Weidner Center for the Performing Arts. Attendees enjoyed an Italian-themed concert featuring UW-Green Bay faculty, students and alumni, as well as members of the Club ItaloAmericano of Green Bay, before a reception closed out the evening — but by no means the partnership.

“Thanks a lot to all of you, from our deep part of our hearts,” Del Bianco said. “Thank you very much to the mayor and thanks a lot to the chancellor. I think we have a serious plan for future activity together. It is a pleasure to work with all of you.”

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Photos by Kimberly Vlies, Marketing and University Communication

More on Islam Awareness Week

Additional details on several of the events from the Office of International Education:

Wednesday, April 9 – 
Hijab Day: Experience wearing a hijab (headscarf) for a day
, 7:30-9:00 a.m., at the Union’s 1965 Room
, **Drop-in light breakfast and to pick up scarves
; **Discussion to follow after this day with participants

Islamic Reawakening (with Prof. Robert Kramer- St. Norbert College), 6:00 p.m., Mauthe Center; 
Dinner provided – first come, first served

Thursday, April 10 – Women in Islam (virtual discussion with Ibtesam Al-Atiyat, formerly a visiting professor here, now with St. Olaf College, Minn.)
, 3:30-5:30 p.m., MAC 208

“Amreeka” – movie night, 6:00 p.m., Mauthe Center; Popcorn and lemonade provided – first come, first served

Friday, April 11 – Mosque Open Day, all day, at Green Bay Mosque, 1512 Velp Ave.
 

Islam Awareness Week set for April 7-11

The Office of International Education shares news that Islam Awareness Week is planned for next Monday-Friday (April 7-11), with daily events to help participants learn more about Islam as a religion and culture as well as about the people and culture of Muslim-majority regions of the world.

• Monday — Frontline News:Syria discussion, 6 p.m., Mauthe Center

• Tuesday — Open Questions on Islam Forum, 3:30 p.m., Common Grounds Coffeehouse; Interfaith Panel: Jerusalem Through Different Eyes, 6 p.m., Mauthe
• Wednesday — Hijab Day (wear a hijab-headscarf all day) with breakfast at 7:30 a.m. (drop in between 7:30-9 for a scarf); Movie Night film, “Amreeka,” 6 p.m. at the Mauthe

• Thursday — Women in Islam discussion, 3:30 p.m., MAC 208; Islam in the World discussion, 6 p.m., Mauthe

See a complete list of events.
 

Adult Degree grad gains confidence to explore the world

Balancing home life and two jobs while working toward her bachelor’s degree, Fay Lau went from trepidation about her academic ability to having a world of confidence.

Lau completed high school years ago but delayed her dream of a bachelor’s degree. Instead, she pursued two associate degrees, at Lakeshore Technical College and Northeast Wisconsin Technical College.

“I simply didn’t have the confidence to pursue a four-year degree,” says Lau, who is now a special education aide with the Denmark School District. “It was my students at Denmark whose questions about where I went to college made me feel that it was time that I took my own advice. So when my son was a junior in high school, I applied to UW-Green Bay’s Adult Degree Program.”

Why UW-Green Bay?

“I just think that UWGB had everything I needed to complete my degree,” she said. “I knew that I wanted a University of Wisconsin degree. And as a busy wife and mom working full time, I needed to access classes online, but I lived close enough to the University that I could take classes on campus, as well, and also take advantage of everything that UW-Green Bay has to offer. Finally, UWGB transferred in my technical college credits and I started at the University as a junior, saving me time and money.”

Lau has also worked for many years with the Educational Resource Development Trust (ERDT) SHARE program, a non-profit organization which coordinates international exchange programs for high school students. Fay’s position with SHARE focuses on recruiting families to host international students. And true to her desire to “put her money where her mouth is,” Lau and her family began hosting international students when her son was in the fifth grade.

Lau’s passion for helping students and her love of learning about cultures, people and places around the world did not stop with her exchange students. Lau’s interest in education and international studies culminated into several experiences at UW-Green Bay that have shaped her life.

In a pivotal moment in her college career, she requested to do an Independent Study that took her to Budenheim, Germany to study the differences between German and American approaches to secondary education.

“I used this course to satisfy my World Culture requirement at UW-Green Bay and had the experience of a lifetime!”

She continued to broaden her understanding of international issues by completing a summer internship in UWGB’s Office of International Education.

As Lau prepares to proudly cross the stage for the Saturday, December 14, 2013 commencement, she can’t help but think about all the places she has gone and how far she has come. She will graduate summa cum laude this weekend with her Bachelor of Applied Studies degree, majoring in Interdisciplinary Studies, with a Human Development emphasis.

“My time with UW-Green Bay and the Adult Degree Program has helped me to move outside of my comfort zone,” she says. “My UWGB education made me try things that I may not have tried otherwise.”

The question of “what next” remains for this woman of new-found confidence.

“I plan to continue to travel, adding a summer 2014 trip to Brazil to a passport that already reflects trips to Germany, France, Italy and Belgium.

“The possibilities are endless now,” she says brightly. “I am even considering graduate school!”

“Ultimately, my long-term goal is to work with at-risk students. No matter how troubled a student is, I always try to see the good in each one of them. If I can make a difference in just a few kids’ lives, then my own life has had purpose.”

Story by Eric Craver, director of Marketing and Recruitment, UW-Green Bay’s Office of Outreach and Adult Education

Slideshow: Workshop on ‘cardboard books’ draws crowd for Argentine artists

Workshop - How to Make Cartonero BooksThere was an impressive turnout of campus artists, Spanish speakers and others for the workshop “How to Make Cartonero Books,” which took place Nov. 11 in the 1965 Room of the University Union. The session was led by María Gómez and Washington Cucurto. The principals of the Buenos Aires-based publishing house Eloísa Cartonera — which pioneered a new economic model with the unique art form known as cartonera books — were visiting UW-Green Bay last week as part of the yearlong Common Theme focus on global citizenship.

The workshop began with a slideshow followed by a demonstration and then do-it-yourself creativity by participants. Students bound pages of “Evita Lives” by Nestor Perlongher, “El Joyero” by Ricardo Piglia, and other titles were “Some Dollars,” and “That Woman.”

The Eloísa Cartonera cooperative originated in the early 2000s with the Argentine economy in crisis and people taking to the streets to scratch out a living. Among them were the so-called cartoneros, who scrounged containers and cardboard to recycle and re-sell. A group of artists, designers and writers — also hard hit by the economy but willing to lend support — developed a plan for a cooperative that would pay reasonable wages to the cartoneros and transform the waste cardboard into handmade art books to be sold at inexpensive prices. Background on the workshop, cooperative and more can be found here.

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– Photos by Kimberly Vlies, Office of Marketing and University Communication