Tag: study abroad

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.”

Phoenix in Glasgow

Phlash Phoenix, Glascow, Scotland
Our friends in the International Education Office have started a tradition of providing stuffed Phlash Phoenix toys to UW-Green Bay students traveling for study-abroad programs, and then inviting them to document their travels in photos. These snapshots of the wee bird come from Heather Lindahl, a student currently studying in Glascow, Scotland.

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Phlash Phoenix in Glascow, Scotland, November 2013Phlash Phoenix in Glascow, Scotland, November 2013Phlash Phoenix in Glascow, Scotland, November 2013Phlash Phoenix in Glascow, Scotland, November 2013

Know a student who’d benefit from an out-of-country experience?

The Fall 2013 Study Abroad Fair is set for 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. Tuesday (Sept. 17) in Phoenix Room C in the Union. Study-abroad advisers and program representatives will be on site to answer questions and assist students in learning about more than 200 domestic and international study programs available, from short-term travel to a full semester or academic year. UW-Green Bay programs of interest this fall include:

Winter Travel Courses (over winter break):
   •  Costa Rica
   •  Cuernavaca, Mexico
   •  Argentina
   •  Ecuador
   •  Kassel, Germany – International Winter University

   •  Denmark
   •  France
   •  Germany
   •  Netherlands
   •  New Zealand
   •  Mexico
   •  Scotland
   •  National Student Exchange (locations in the U.S., Canada, Puerto Rico, Guam, and the Virgin Islands)

World of ice cream helps International Education recruit potential travelers

One of the tastiest welcome-back events to open fall semester 2013 involved the Office of International Education and free ice cream sundaes.

Last week’s “Get the Scoop on Study Abroad” event served sundaes to 185 students interested in education abroad, while staff members addressed questions regarding overseas study experiences. Students chose from among eight flavors named after UW-Green Bay study abroad destinations. For example, “The New Zealand” featured vanilla ice cream with heath toffee topping (a flavor called the “hokey pokey” by Kiwis) while “The France” consisted of coffee ice cream and chocolate sauce.

The Office of International Education conducts other outreach and informational activities, of course, led by twice-weekly informational sessions in the OIE suite, Cofrin Library 207. The sessions are offered at 2 p.m. every Tuesday and noon each Wednesday.

Another periodic event is the Study Abroad Fair, which this semester is scheduled for Tuesday, Sept. 17, from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. in Phoenix C of the University Union.

Great Scot(land)! OIE, Scottish universities to offer study abroad info Oct. 9

UW-Green Bay has partnered with the Universities of Stirling, Aberdeen and Glasgow to provide students with semester-long opportunities to study in Scotland. Representatives from the Scottish universities and the Office of International Education will be stationed outside of the Phoenix Bookstore from 11 a.m.-1 p.m. Tuesday (Oct. 9) to provide additional information and answer questions.

An update from Italy, with a picture or two

Prof. Christine Style of Arts and Visual Design reports back that, midway through their study-abroad experience in Italy, the UW-Green Bay delegation of students, faculty and staff members is having a wonderful (and enlightening) time. Their headquarters are in the heart of the old city of Florence but trips to Rome, Venice and the seaside mountain village of Riomaggiore are also part of the month-long adventure. For more, and a couple of photos, click here.

An update from Italy, with snapshots

Prof. Christine Style of Arts and Visual Design reports back that, midway through their study-abroad experience in Italy, the UW-Green Bay delegation of students, faculty and staff members is having a wonderful (and enlightening) time.

Their headquarters are kitchen-equipped apartments in the heart of the city of Florence near their art studios and the historic San Marco church complex. They’ve visited the city’s Uffizi art museum (among the oldest in the world), the fabled Duomo church dating to 1296, and other great art and historic sites. They recently wrapped up a quick two days in Rome — seeing the Spanish Steps, Trevi Fountain and St. Peter’s and more — before heading by train to Venice. Also in store is a trip to the scenic (and often-painted and photographed) seaside mountain village of Riomaggiore on Italy’s northwest coast. Day-to-day activities include lectures on food, fashion or Italian culture arranged by the partner institution, the Santa Reparata International School of Art.  The Italy travel course runs June 3 through July 3.

Photos here included a posed shot outside the Santa Reparata school, at a student apartment building, and at the famous Ponte Vechhio arch bridge over the Arno River — the 14th century structure still houses shops and art galleries on the span.

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Italy travel course, June 2012Italy travel course, June 2012Italy travel course, June 2012

Snapshots: Students find adventure, learning, warmth on January trips

Even though it’s been unseasonably warm here in Northeastern Wisconsin, we can’t help but feel envious of the 60 or so UW-Green Bay students and faculty members who have flown south this winter break, visiting such exotic locales as Mexico, Ecuador and Costa Rica during the January Interim. These study abroad trips allow students to brush up on language skills, learn about a new culture and receive instruction in their major — all while earning academic credits in a beautiful setting. For more on these trips, plus an envy-inducing photo gallery, click here.

January Interim means travel, learning for UW-Green Bay study abroad students

About 60 UW-Green Bay students are basking in the sunshine of some pretty exotic locales this winter break — and earning academic credit while doing it.

The students are part of six January Interim study abroad programs, and they’re receiving instruction in a variety of disciplines while learning about the culture of their chosen destination. Three overlapping programs are based in Cuernavaca, Mexico, while other students and faculty members are learning and researching in Costa Rica, Ecuador (and the Galapagos Islands) and Panama during the break.

The travel courses are ideal for students who desire the benefits of a longer international education excursion, but who may be unable or unwilling to study abroad for an entire semester, said Brent Blahnik, director of International Education.

“In today’s ever-competitive job market, employers are looking for those who can think critically, be adaptable and who possess an international perspective,” Blahnik said.

“There is no better time during one’s life to acquire those skills than the college years, and no better way to learn global competency than by experiencing it through travel.”

Profs. Lucy Arendt, Steve Kimball and Christine Vandenhouten are teaching courses in Cuernavaca, Mexico, combining Spanish instruction and an overview of Mexican culture with business, education and nursing emphases, respectfully. Portions of the students’ days are spent together, studying Spanish, while the rest of the time is tailored to their specific discipline — for example, meeting with business professionals, visiting schools or spending time in area hospitals.

The Natural and Applied Sciences academic area also is among those offering travel courses this January, with Profs. Matt Dornbush and Kevin Fermanich leading a trip to Costa Rica, and Profs. Vicki Medland, Mike Draney and Alma Rodriguez working with students in Panama. The Costa Rica course focuses on a wide range of biological, geological and socioeconomic issues related to ecology and conservation. In Panama, students are conducting hands-on research in marine biology and tropical rainforest ecology at the Smithsonian Tropical Research Institute. It’s a great opportunity for students to conduct graduate-level research as undergrads, Blahnik said — and pick up three academic credits while doing it.

Urban and Regional Studies students also are enjoying a trip abroad this January, with about 16 of them studying with Prof. Marcelo Cruz in Ecuador — and getting the chance to visit the renowned Galapagos Islands.

The six interim programs are among the wide array UW-Green Bay offers on six continents. Study abroad experiences can last anywhere from a week to an entire year and include every discipline taught at UW-Green Bay, Blahnik said.

And while students may have missed their chance to study abroad during January Interim, their next opportunity isn’t far off. The following programs will be offered this summer, and online applications are due March 1. Visit www.uwgb.edu/international/ for more information.

Summer 2012 study abroad offerings:

Florence, Italy — Profs. Christine Style and Kristy Deetz
Students will have the opportunity to create art in studios at the Santa Raparata International School of Art, explore Tuscany, and live for four weeks in central Florence. A number of excursions are planned, including trips to Venice and Rome.

Germany and Poland — Profs. Donna Ritch and Amanda Nelson
This course will address issues underlying the use of humans in teaching and research. The majority of the course will take place at the Plastinarium in Guben, Germany — the same anatomical learning center where specimens are created for the acclaimed “Body Worlds” exhibits. Following the workshop, students will travel to Poland and visit Auschwitz for lectures on historical events involving unethical human experimentation.

Japan — Prof. Cliff Ganyard
This course will introduce students to the history, culture and language of Japan. The program will be based at the Yamasa Institute in Okazaki, while providing students several opportunities to explore ancient temples and futuristic cities like Tokyo.

Jordan and Israel — Prof. Heidi Sherman
This course will help students to understand the long and colorful history of the Middle East. Jordan will be the “classroom” as students visit Neolithic, biblical, Roman, Islamic and Ottoman sites.

Jordan — Prof. Jill White
This course provides students a hands-on opportunity to learn about how culture shapes human development. Students will meet with various groups of Jordan’s diverse population, and will visit Roman ruins, a Palestinian refugee camp, the Dead Sea and a night in a Bedouin camp. Fans of Indiana Jones will be delighted to snap pictures in the ancient Nabataean city of Petra.

South Africa — Prof. Illene Cupit
A combination of lectures and visits to sites such as orphanages, group homes for adolescents and nursing homes will allow students the opportunity learn about contemporary issues regarding human development in South Africa. The program is offered in partnership with Nelson Mandela Metropolitan University in Port Elizabeth.

Ecuador — Profs. Marcelo Cruz and Adam Parrillo
This program will select five students for advanced research and practical experience working in Ecuador. Alongside Urban and Regional Studies faculty, Ecuadorian professionals and an international consulting team, students will work to address complex issues ranging from sustainable housing to natural area preservation in drafting urban plans.

Spain — Prof. Gabriel Saxton-Ruiz
Based in Alicante, Spain, students will learn about Spain from the beginning of the 20th century while being immersed in the Spanish language.

In addition to these faculty-led program offerings, students may study at one of five institutions in Germany, as well as spend a semester or year abroad in:
• Bilbao, Spain • Aalborg, Denmark • Bordeaux, France • Kassel, Germany • Leon, Spain • Merida, Mexico • Auckland, New Zealand • The Hague, Netherlands

UW-Green Bay students also can student teach in more than 60 countries.

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Photos provided by the UW-Green Bay Office of International Education