Wednesday, September 21, 2016

Goals, feelings, and maximizing my experience

Sarah Husi, TU Dortmund, Germany

One of my goals as a future educator is to experience as many different classrooms as I possibly can. I feel that I learn best by observing other teachers and settings. By different classrooms I mean a rural Title I school, an inner city school in a populated area, classrooms in many different countries, etc. I hope to take what I learn from experiencing other types of elementary school classes and implement them in my classroom. While I am in Germany I would love to see some classes in other European countries as well. I want to learn as much as I can about other countries' school systems, especially the successful ones, and eventually return to the States and share what I have found with other American teachers.
So my main goal in going abroad to complete my student teaching is to become the best teacher I can be. In addition, I hope to push myself to do things that would not normally be in my comfort zone. I know this is a once in a lifetime opportunity and I do not want to waste it.

I am so excited about this experience, but I am also very nervous. I know that the German classroom will be very different from what I am used to. I am also concerned about who my cooperating teacher will be and what he/she will be like. I will be spending a lot of time with the teacher who's classroom I will be in, so I really hope we get along. I am also nervous about how the parents of the children will respond to an American teaching their kids.

3 things to do to maximize my experience:
1. I really want to learn as much German as I can. I believe that will make a huge difference in my experience.
2. Travel as much as possible!
3. Write about my experiences everyday. Take really good notes in the classroom.

Switzerland Bound

I'm Switzerland bound and just slightly terrified. I am so excited that I have been given an opportunity to study theatre in Switzerland and I know that it will be one of the most memorable times of my life. I am excited to live in the capital city, to explore the Swiss Alps, and eat all the European food and try my hand at German. But I'm terrified of the possible language barrier. I'm afraid of being away from everyone and everything I have ever known. I'm afraid I will run out of time and money to do all of the amazing things I want to do and see. But I also know that I am no dumb girl. I can carry on a conversation (maybe not in German, but French is spoke in Switzerland, too) with anyone, I can navigate the bus and train routes with ease, and I am comfortable and confident enough in my own skin that I will make this an experience worth every ounce of fear I have. People are magnificent. I love the way different cultures interact and communicate with each other and how different one lifestyle is from the next. You will never run out of things to learn about a person. I am excited to make new friends and possibly reunite with old ones. The conversations I enjoy the most are the simple and innocent ones that turn in to something deep and meaningful. They are the ones that last all night and move in to the morning. Those conversations will be had. 

Study Abroad: Universitie de Caen

My goals for studying abroad at the Universitie de Caen are, first and foremost, to gain knowledge and understanding of the French language. From there, I hope to carry out or make easier the goals that follow. A second goal of mine is to be more culturally aware of a country's history that is not my own. To do this, I plan on visiting France's historical monuments and well-known landmarks. So not to miss out on the lesser known or "labeled" bits of France's culture, I hope to travel and visit bookshops, cafes, and other enjoyable areas that may be off the beaten path. Using the train system, I hope to see as much of France as possible by taking weekend trips to visit other areas. I do not want to limit myself to France only, though France is my main focus. I would also like to see other countries that surround France if given the opportunity.
 This upcoming travel experience could not be more highly anticipated for me-nor more nerve-racking. I have never lived outside of Tennessee and, furthermore, I have visited very few states and no other countries aside from my own. Caen is situated in Northern France, and I will be going in the spring semester. Because Winter is the most difficult season for me to cope with, I know that I with struggle to handle the colder temperatures at that time of the year. Despite my fears of getting lost in a foreign country and being unable to understand the people that surround me, I feel that to immerse myself in the country's rich culture gives me no other choice than to learn and grow with experience.
I am unsettled about being away from my family for a long period of time. I am very close with my nephews and niece, and at their young ages, I know that I will be missing out on their landmark achievements such as learning to walk and talk. This personal attachment I have with them both discourages and encourages me to go. This trip will allow me to grow in ways I have not been given the chance to, and I will be exposed to the world in a way I have never been. In going away, learning, and coming back, I hope to bring with me knowledge that will also help my niece and nephews in their lives.
This study abroad experience will be something I have never encountered, and I look forward to the challenges that I will be faced with.

Tuesday, September 20, 2016

Blog 1:Goals

First and foremost I would have to say that I am extremely excited to have this opportunity to study abroad. I have always wanted to travel around the world and this to me is the first step in achieving my dream. This experience will be exceptional and different from my future plans because I will exposed to the educational system of another country, something I may not have the opportunity to do again. Some of the things I will do to maximize my experience are, more research on my host country, form relationships, and keep a positive attitude. It's hard to put into words exactly, but some days I wish I could start this journey immediately, and other days it's "well what if things don't go the way I imagined"? However, it is on those days where I remember that the highs and lows are all apart of this study abroad experience and that I should embrace it wholeheartedly.

Feelings and Goals on my Trip to Japan

The time has come.

I'm only one semester away from studying abroad at Kansai Gaidai University in Japan.

To be honest, I'm kinda scared. Japan is a long ways away, 6,928 miles to be exact. I'll be halfway across the world from my family and friends. There's no Mom there to visit you if your sick or need free food. The language is no joke either. It's a complicated language that's no way Latin based. I can't guess like I can with French or Spanish. I've studied Japanese for two years at this point, but I'm nervous about speaking, especially to natives. Will they understand me? Can I really ask where the bathroom is located? In reality, they probably will be able to understand me, and I really can ask where the bathroom is located. It certainly helps that classes at Kansai Gaidai will be in English, but these fears are still present. After all, you never know what will happen until you get there.

But even with these fears, the feeling of excitement overwhelms it significantly. In a weird way, I'm actually excited to speak to Japanese people in Japanese, despite my fears. Living in a language surrounded by natives is the best way to learn that language. By being constantly surrounded by it, I'm hoping to improve my language skills. That's not all I'm excited about! I can't wait to immerse my self in culture. Japan's culture is so different, but yet so similar to the US. They have such a rich and deep history that the US, and even some parts of Europe, don't have. I want to explore it all.

So, what do I actually want to do while I'm in Japan? Or in other words, what are my goals?

Well, I mention a couple already. First, I want to expand my language skills. The best way to do that is to talk, talk, talk. Talk to as many people as I can. Write as often as I can in Japanese. Watch and listen to Japanese TV, movies, and music. Even though my classes will be in English, I can not use it as a crutch. If I do, I'll severely hinder my learning skills. It does help that I will be taking a Japanese langue course. Second, I want to explore and observe the Japanese culture. How do college students differ? How are they similar? Why are the differences there? I may not be able to fully get the answers, but at least I'll be a step closer since I'm physically there. I also have to realize that I'm only there for a semester. Not only that, my classes will begin before Japanese students and end before them. I won't be able to get a fully immersive experience, but it's one step closer than where I was before. And thirdly, I want to try some authentic ramen. I'm done with the 75 cent stuff. It doesn't even have to be ramen. I want to try real, authentic Japanese food.

Since I'll only be in Japan for a few months, I want to make sure I get the maximum experience possible. To do that, I'll make friends while I'm there. Both international and local friends can help me with my language skills and explore the area. I mean, it's going to be fun, so why not share with friends? Another way is to try as many things as I can and able to do. It might be new and different, but I should do these things while I can. For an example, go to a festival, or even to Tokyo. Even if I'm by myself, I should do those type of things. A finally way, though definitely not the last, is to do as well in my studies as I can. I'm there to learn. My classes focus on culture and sociological theories. As an International Studies with an Asian track major, studying Asian culture classes while in Japan is an opportunity that I don't want to miss. While I will have fun and plenty of adventures, I mustn't forget that I'm there to learn.

All in all, I'm fearfully excited about this trip. It'll be a range of emotions all at once, but I wouldn't want it any other way.

Monday, September 12, 2016

Shane Byerley: Study Abroad Plans and Goals.

A semester of studying abroad is a requirement by both of my majors; I am double-majoring in Spanish Language and Internacional Business. I have applied to the Universities of Málaga, Almería, Murcia and Vigo Spain with the ISEP exchange program. I have also traveled to Spain twice before, including the cities of Málaga and Almería. The cities were interesting and had an amazing Mediterranean climate. Both Málaga and Almería are historic cities, having been colonized by both the Romans and Arab-the two empires that left their influence in South Spain. I long to return to Andalucía.
Some of my goals for study abroad are developing my fluency in Spanish and further gaining knowledge of Spanish culture, in particular southern Spanish culture. I am already fluent in reading, writing, and speaking Spanish; however, given that Spanish was not my mother language, I could always use some practice.
Also, I have attempted to apply to a second semester abroad, to the university FAAP in São Paulo Brazil. I would like to eventually learn Portuguese.
Una semestre de estudiar en el extranjero es un requisito para los dos de mis títulos universitarios; estudio un doble-titulación en español y negocios internacionales. Les he enviado mi ficha de inscripción a las universidades españoles de Málaga, Almería, Murcia, y Vigo con el programa de intercambio estudiantil de ISEP. La verdad es ya he recorrido dos veces a España, incluyendo las ciudades de Málaga y Murcia Andalucía. A mí me interesaron las ciudades antiguas de Málaga y Almería, particularmente a causa de su clima mediterráneo e historia de colonización árabe y romana. Deseo que me pueda volver a Andalucía, o a cualquier ciudad española que me aceptaría.
Una de las metas mías serían el desarrollo de mi fluidez de español y mi concientización de cultura española, enfocando en la región sureña de españa llamada Andalucía. Ya puedo hablar, escribir, leer español pero es que español no fue mi lengua materna. Por tanto, siempre pudiera tratar de practicarlo.
También, yo acabé de hacer una aplicación para ingresarme en la universidad de FAAP en San Pablo Barsil para el semestre de otoño 2017.

Friday, May 13, 2016


Study abroad is going to be an amazing opportunity to gain experiences which will help me in my future vocation(s).  Right now, I am studying writing and communications as well as literature. While at the University of Essex, I will take several writing and literature classes.  A marketable writer is able to write in a variety of contexts, and by taking creative writing non-fiction, I will be applying my writing skills to a genre I have never had the opportunity to try.  Although we have a creative writing non-fiction course at Maryville, I was unable to take the class because of a course requirement conflict. Having the opportunity to take this class abroad will definitely help me in my career.
The University of Essex also has a Creative Writing Centre, which I will definitely take advantage of while I am studying there.  It offers a place to research for my writing.  The school also boasts an amazing array of professors who have experience being published playwrights, poets, song-writers, novelists and even travel writers! I hope to meet and attend classes with as many of these professors as I can, so I can gain the knowledge I need to start a successful career in writing. Another one of my goals for this trip is to really figure out what it is I want to do with my writing skills. I've interned with marketing departments; I've written blogs; I've published poetry and worked on newspapers, but I've never really decided on one thing I would like to do. As someone who has never traveled internationally before, I'm also hoping this experience will help me decide how much travel I want to do in my career and how best I can accomplish the travel I want to do without sacrificing my career choice.