Know Before You Go- Departing and Returned OCS Student Conversations

Sunday, May 12, 2013 by Center for Student Engagement

Last week, the 72 students planning to study off-campus next fall gathered for the 2nd of their required orientation sessions. At these orientation sessions, staff and students discuss the important practical aspects of their OCS experiences-- academic credit, health and safety, financial responsibilities, and more. Through activities and discussion, students are also introduced to concepts of cultural adjustment and adaptation (sometimes called "culture shock") that they might experience in London, Beijing, or even New York, and talk about tools and strategies for managing such feelings.

Students often say, however, that the most beneficial part of the second orientation session is the chance to talk with returned DePauw students from their program or destination area. Departing students can get the "real" scoop from returned students- what are classes like, what is housing and transportation like, how did they make friends, what has this experience meant for them? Returned students are often eager to share their recommendations and experiences with a captive and engaged audience, making this event a win for everyone.

Check out the video below for insight from returned students on how their experience studying abroad changed them!

The staff of the Center for Student Engagement facilitates meaningful off-campus study experiences for DePauw students.

Winter Term 2014 - China & Hong Kong: Tradition and Change

Tuesday, April 16, 2013 by Center for Student Engagement

For a number of years, Professor Yung-chen Chiang and Professor Li-feng Chiang have led a Winter Term class of students to China to explore the paradox of the country: 

"It boasts an ancient culture of traditions and yet goes all the way out to jettison the old to embrace the new; it holds on to communism and yet latches on to a capitalistic economic regime; it garners the reputation as a rising economic superpower and yet delivers low living standards to the majority of its people.  Its transformation in thirty years from a third-world economy to a superpower is unprecedented in history.  Its economy surpassed Japan's in 2010 and is projected to overtake the United States by 2030.  The success is phenomenal, but the cost—human as well as environmental—has been staggering.  China is at a crossroads.  Might Hong Kong, which is twenty years ahead of China in development and which will remain a special administrative region for 50 years after its return to China in 1997, hold clues to solve some of these paradoxes?"

Meredith Langenheim '13, an East Asian Studies major and Chinese minor, studied abroad on the Winter Term 2013 class and has this to say of her experience.

The DePauw Winter Term trip to China and Hong Kong was especially meaningful to me because I am an East Asian Studies major.  Having the chance to go with two of my Asian Studies professors on this trip was unforgettable. As an East Asian Studies major, I got the opportunity to apply what I had been learning about at DePauw to the six cities we visited throughout the course of the trip.  Ending the trip in Hong Kong was probably one of the most rewarding parts.  Because Honk Kong was just given back to China in 1997, it was very interesting to be able to compare the cities we visited in Mainland China to Hong Kong.  Hong Kong is very different than many cities in Mainland China. It has a different currency, different architecture and different culture, yet is now considered a part of China.  If I had chosen to go on any other trip to China I would definitely not have gotten this wonderful opportunity to explore Hong Kong along with Beijing, Shanghai, Xi'an, Guilin and Henan. 

 

Current students are applying for Winter Term 2014 courses now (due April 17th), while first year students may begin applying for off-campus courses this summer.  Winter Term is a hallmark part of a DePauw education, giving students an opportunity to explore a new topic of interest. Often, as in the case of Meredith, Winter Term leads into a semester long experience and provides students with greater focus and clarity on their interests and goals.  Learn more by visiting the Center for Student Engagement website.

Challenge Accepted: Cultural Immersion and Lacrosse in Scotland

Wednesday, March 20, 2013 by Center for Student Engagement

 

Mackenzie Cremeans '14 (center, photo below) is an English Literature and Environmental Geoscience major spending the spring 2013 semester studying abroad at the University of Edinburgh in Scotland.
 
Lacrosse, often mistaken for field hockey, is a team sport played with long-handled sticks and a small rubber ball, which is thrown through the air between teammates. I picked up the game after starting college and subsequently, fell in love with it. If this were a normal semester, I’d be playing as one of the goalkeepers for DePauw’s team. However, I chose to study abroad in Scotland this semester to pursue unique academic, cultural, and service opportunities that I could not find elsewhere. I wanted to experience immersion in another culture. Even so, I wasn’t prepared to give up lacrosse for nearly six months. Thus, in lieu of black and old gold, I donned the University of Edinburgh’s navy, bottle green, and white as a member of their lacrosse squad. 
 
Initially, I was a bit daunted by the idea of trying out for and playing on a new squad. Most of my apprehension stemmed from the fact that I’d be trying out for the team as a foreign student, arriving mid-year, while adjusting to an entirely new environment. The situation seemed quite challenging. Yet, before I knew it, fall semester had ended, my bags were packed, and I was boarding my flight with two lacrosse heads in my carry-on, and all of my gear in checked luggage. In the words of Barney Stinson, challenge accepted. 
 
Upon my arrival in Edinburgh, I began practicing with the squads (there are three, in total) and immediately noted a difference in the basic play of lacrosse. While this was not very surprising, it was a bit disconcerting. Lacrosse was supposed to be familiar. However, in spite of the differences, I landed the goalkeeping spot on the first team in week one of practice. Then, I played my first lacrosse match for Edinburgh in Loughborough, England on my sixth day in the UK. In my time here, I have played at least one match each week, and as a side effect, have traveled all around England and Scotland with the team. Because of the connections I’ve made through UEdinburgh lacrosse, I’ve also had the opportunity to practice and play with members of the Scottish World Cup squad, which has been an amazing experience. This is exactly the immersion I was looking for. 
As a result, I have learned more about the Scottish and English way of life than I ever would have otherwise.
 
Team drives, dinners, and socials have been a great way to experience realistic cultural differences, usually accompanied by bouts of laughter, and always with multiple follow up questions. For example, on my side, imagine trying to explain the concept behind “Thrift Shop,” with a straight face to a group of peers who have earnestly asked you about “rockin’ a wolf on your noggin.” It’s a nearly impossible task. Conversely, try to formulate an appropriate response to, “Fit Like?” without help (Translation: “How are you?”). As the only American on the team, I field just as many questions as I ask. This mutual exchange of culture has been the most refreshing and rewarding part of studying in Edinburgh. In this way, I have found my place on a new team, in a new country, through an old game. 
 
What sport would you like to play in another country?
 
 
The staff of the Center for Student Engagement work with students to facilitate off-campus experiences that immerse them in the culture, history, and daily life of their host location, creating meaningful and memorable experiences that contribute to their education at DePauw and pursuit of their future goals.

Summer Internship Signature Programs

Tuesday, March 19, 2013 by Center for Student Engagement

Paying for the commute, living expenses, the miscellanous expenses of summer such as sunscreen and vacations, and saving enough to last through the next school year are all crucial factors in the summer job or internship decision. Unpaid internships deter students and cause countless missed opportunities. DePauw now has the means in their budget to prevent those missed opportunities: the new DePauw Signature Internship Program will award $3,000 grants for unpaid summer interships and in addition several DePauw Alumni will offer paid internships (if any are unpaid the program will provide a grant), for a total of 20 internships. The program gives students three options: paid DePauw Choice Internships with companies like Angie's List and Goodwill, Local Community Building Internships such as working for the Greencastle library or hospital with the grant, and secure your own internships, also with grants awarded to ten students. No longer will the student  with a small budget but big ambitions miss out on what could be the experience that connects them to a career.

I was fortunate enough to have the means to do a Winter Term internship unpaid as a sophomore with Wiley Publishing Company (they are now offering paid internships, just my luck). The experience was outstanding: I had a harmonious team to work with including an inspiring boss, learned about the publishing industry, and beefed up my résumé. However, if I had not had a family friend willing to let me live for them for three weeks, I never could have afforded to stay in Indianapolis. At the end of my internship with Wiley, they offered me a summer internship but I never took up the offer for several reasons — the main one being finances. The DePauw Signature Internship Program can provide the funds in order to solve financial conodrums like mine and many others. I have a good friend who applied to a marine biology internship through TigerTracks — and was selected — but was unable to afford an unpaid internship in South Africa. My friend's experience and my own are not singular to us; students throughout DePauw struggle with how to get the internship outside of their hometown on a shoe string budget. During peer advising, I met an international student who wanted to gain medical experience but didn't have the finances or transportation to do so. The DePauw Signature Internship Program could faciliate that student's ambitions and connect her to an internship with the Putnam County Hospital or Johnson Nichols Health Clinic.
 
If every DePauw student graduated with two internships under their belt, then finding a job would be easier on all of them, but in reality not every student is so lucky or driven, and not every student has the means to acquire the internships they desire. With the DePauw Signature Internship Program more students can build their résumés and themselves with summer internships. There's no excuse now, only opportunity.
 

Digging Deeper: Independent Field Research Abroad

Wednesday, March 13, 2013 by Center for Student Engagement

Last week the Center for Student Engagement hosted the 3rd Off-Campus Study Independent Research Forum, an event held each semester where returned OCS students share field research projects they conducted while studying abroad with an audience of students, faculty, staff and community members. Each student presents for about 10 minutes, then answers questions from the audience. This year we had four presenters- here's how they describe their projects: 

Identity in Fiction: Exploring Heart of Darkness and South African Identity (Abby Prine)

This research focuses on the effect that British colonialist literature, particularly Heart of Darkness, has on the way South Africans identify socially and nationally. Specific interest is paid to the way in which constructed identities are expressed through modern South African fiction and citizens’ perceptions of literary identities. 

Treating the Spirit: An Ethnographic Portrait of Senegalese Animist Mental Health Practices and Practitioners in Dakar and the Surrounding Area (Caitlin McKinley)  

Animist beliefs and pracrices are deeply ingrained in Senegalese society, even in the metropolitan area of Dakar, and have prevailed in Senegal despite the many influences of Island and colonization. Animist mental health practices are especially interesting because of the influx of Western mental health practices in the wake of modernization. My research addresses the impact of understanding the culture and viewpoints in which traditional practitioners and methods of treating mental health are recognized as veritable and absolute. 

Women at Risk: Gender Violence, Available Services, and Future Objectives in the Fight for Women in Ecuador (Jocelyn Jessop)

The project was based off of a one month ethnographic study in the south province of Azuay in Ecuador. While volunteering at a refuge house for women and children who have been exposed to violence, I collected interviews in the hope of analyzing the problem of violence against women in Ecuador, what support is available through both the government and NGOs, and what future goals activists and the government have for women in the state.

Urban Versus Rural: Language Proficiency and Ethnic Identity (Phua Xiong)

This in an interview-based case study that examines the role geographic location plays in shaping twelve 15-23 year-old Miao-Hmong students’ abilities to speak Hmong by comparing and contrasting six students from urban areas and six students from rural areas, and by analyzing the minority language policies in China. This study also explores the relationship between the students’ ability to speak the language and their ethnic identity. (The photo at left was taken during Phua's semester in China conducting this project).

What topic would you like to research independently?

 

 

 

The staff of the Center for Student Engagement work with students to facilitiate off-campus study opportunities that are deep and meaningful, including opportunities for study, research, service-learning, and internships all over the world.

Alumni and MBA Progams

Tuesday, March 5, 2013 by Center for Student Engagement

Sebastian Scott – Prospective MBA Experience

While working as a manager for Bechtel Inc. has been one of the best experiences of my life, I knew that I wanted to explore my options and work in different sectors of business. As I researched top companies and read about their executives, one thing became very clear: the large majority of men and women who run these organizations had earned their MBA. At that moment, I knew that I needed to return to school and obtain my MBA if I wanted to acquire additional knowledge, help further develop my leadership skills, and open doors for jobs at top firms.

Just like most prospective students, I started my search by looking at the top 100 ranked MBA programs in the US. Although it’s a good initial bench mark, it does not provide enough information and does not guarantee the right fit. When I was considering schools, I did extensive research on the location, the alumni network, the job placement records by region and industry, the cost of tuition, and other contributing factors towards my ROI. I was fortunate to receive acceptance letters into several top 100 programs, but after much debate I chose to attend Brandeis University in Boston because it was the right fit for me and gave me the best opportunity to succeed.

Brandeis offered me a unique educational experience that I felt was hard to match. In addition to meeting all of my requirements for an MBA program, Brandeis offered me that “Dare to Be Great” situation. Because Brandeis’ MBA program is less than twenty years old, I took it as a personal challenge to be one of their first elite alumni and be a building block towards becoming an iconic MBA program.

When selecting an MBA program, it’s vital that prospective students gather as much information as possible and find a school that is the best fit. Reaching out to administrative staff, talking to current students, and visiting the campus will all help with the decision making process. Because at the end of the day, the student is the one who is making the investment and it’s the student who is taking the leap of faith. I truly believe that picking a school that feels right is the difference between those who said that their MBA was worth every cent versus those who are impartial towards their experience. 

Are you interested in business careers?  

The Center for Student Engagement helps students seeking opportunities in graduate and professional school.  

Looking Back, Looking Ahead: Winter Term 2013

Wednesday, February 27, 2013 by Center for Student Engagement

Winter Term Student Leaders gather their teams one month after re-entering the DePauw culture at the Winter Term Global Fair.  They talk about the experiences they shared, how their perspectives may have shifted since being thrown back in to the busy life of the DePauw student.  At this fair they also re-live the memories as they tell stories to peers passing by and are re-energized about the ideas they had as WT participants.  They will continue to grapple over how this 3-week experience will shape them as they move ahead.. Next week they will try to offer greater reflection and, of course, enthusiasm for their WT programs... 

Global Week March 4-7
Come share in the celebration of global perspectives, service, and adventure during this week's variety of events put on by Winter Term Student Leaders.  This a great opportunity to hear and see your peers’ stories and experiences from living and learning sustainably in Hawai’i, to deep encounters with global health initiatives in Ecuador, to marking a 20 year anniversary of WTIS in El Salvador, to adventures of land and sea in Cozumel... Come check it out! Ask about being a WT Student Leader in 2014!
  • Sustainability in Hawai’i Film, Peeler Mar 5, 7-8:00
  • Timmy Talk, Watson Mar 6, 7-8:00
  • 20 Year Celebration WTIS El Salvador, Peeler Mar 7, 4-6:00
  • Cozumel Movie Premier, Watson Mar 7, 7-8:00

 

How have you shared a meaningful experience with your peers?

The staff of the Center for Student Engagement work with students to encourage reflection and sharing on Winter Term and all experiential education opportunities.

Winter Term In Service-Timmy Foundation in Ecuador

Wednesday, February 27, 2013 by Katherine Hill

DePauw is known for their off campus experiences.  About 60% of students spend either a semester, a summer, or a Winter Term abroad.  DePauw's unique Winter Term experiences have allowed me to travel for three years during the 3 week period between Winter Break and the beginning of second semester.  This January, I traveled to Ecuador where I spent almost two weeks doing one of the Winter Term In Service projects.  These courses are based around service and have different focuses depending on student interest.  As someone interested in the medical field, spending two weeks with the Timmy Foundation setting up medical clinics along the Amazon Basin and providing medical care with doctors, nurses, pharmacists and other health care professionals sounded like an amazing experience!

Riding to clinic!!

There were about 15 students on our trip with two faculty members, one Chemistry professor and a Sociology professor.  When we got to Quito, Ecuador, we met up with many of the medical professionals who came from all over the country (one was even a DePauw grad)!! One of my favorite memories was talking with these health care providers and hearing their stories.  I got some great perspective on different health care fields and why medical service is so important to many of them. 

myself, a PA and a translator waiting for our first patient

Personally, I have never done a service trip with DePauw before, so this was an entirely new experience.  It was very grounding-the basic medical care most of us take fore granted was blatantly obvious as we treated patients for malnutrition caused by parasites.  Albendazole, an anti parasitic medication was our most popular medication.  Even the pharmacists said they never have to prescribe this in the US, but we all became very familiar with it in Ecuador. 

myself with two doctors from Indy and a PA from Seattle

Each day at clinic, DePauw students would split up and do different jobs.  We all worked at some point in the pharmacy, at check in, patient history, lab, vitals, fluoride, and doctor scribing.  It was such a neat procedure to come into a schoolhouse or community meeting room with nothing and in 20 minutes, we would have an entire pharmacy, vitals station, lab station, check in station and doctor exam rooms set up and ready to go.  Recently, Timmy started using a computer system so we even had generators to help us get internet to make patient records easy to keep track of from visit to visit. 

Painting teeth with fluoride

This Winter Term experience was definitely influential for me because I reaffirmed my interest in the medical field and I cannot wait to get my Masters of Physician Assistant Studies so I can come back to Ecuador or go someplace else and do more medical service work.  DePauw's partnership with Timmy is a great way for students to get involved in something beyond campus and I am so appreciative of the opportunity to be part of an organization that does such amazing work!

Check out this video about the Timmy Foundation made by some of the students who traveled with me!

 

 

If you could travel anywhere to do service work, where would you go and what would you want to do??

Peace Corps in Ethiopia

Tuesday, February 26, 2013 by Center for Student Engagement

Two weeks after I graduated from DePauw last May I hopped aboard a one-way flight to Ethiopia to begin my Peace Corps service. It wasn’t easy but I did it. Growing up I had always dreamed about being in the Peace Corps and living abroad as a volunteer. Do you like the idea of helping others, learning about a new culture, learning a new language, learning about yourself? Do you see yourself living in a remote village somewhere overseas for a few years helping to make the world a better place? If so, maybe you should consider Peace Corps.

The U.S. Peace Corps (www.peacecorps.gov) sends hundreds of U.S. citizen volunteers young and old overseas every year to work in rural communities in the developing world in many parts of the world: Africa, Latin America, Asia and Eastern Europe. The Peace Corps is a great way for undergraduate graduating seniors to gain international work experience without having to pay a penny and an excellent way to get your foot in the door if you are interested in a federal government career in the future. Peace Corps pays for your airfare to your country of service and back home upon your completion of service as well as complete health and dental benefits and a living allowance while you are serving abroad. Better yet, after successful completion of your service, Peace Corps provides you with a nice readjustment allowance to help you get settled back into life in the states and there are also student loan benefits.

So why did I join Peace Corps? I became interested in Peace Corps starting back when I was in high school back home in Slater, Missouri where I grew up. I got to DePauw and I knew Peace Corps was something I still wanted to do after I graduated. I love helping people and learning about new cultures and new ways of life and the possibility to learn a new language was very intriguing to me. I had some experience from my semester abroad in Chile during my junior year at DePauw teaching English that helped me get the basic experience I needed to qualify for Peace Corps service. Also, as a Spanish major I had some foreign language skills that made my application even stronger. All it takes is a want to help, some basic experience, a sense of humor and flexibility. If you have those things, I urge you to consider Peace Corps. I’ve been working in Ethiopia for over 8 months now as an English education volunteer. It isn’t always easy but I’ve learned so much for the short time I’ve been here. I’m learning Amharic, the national language of Ethiopia, I’m doing grassroots development work in my small village in southwest Ethiopia over 550km down unpaved roads from the capital, I’m meeting so many people, making lifelong friends and that’s just a few of the benefits of being in the Peace Corps. As a Peace Corps Volunteer I have the opportunity to challenge myself in ways I never knew possible, travel to places that would otherwise might not ever happen and inspire Ethiopian children to learn and practice their English and help teach Ethiopians life skills that they need to live a better and healthier life. How much better could it get?

If you are interested in learning more about my Peace Corps experience in Ethiopia check out my blog,(www.anthonynavarrete.wordpress.com), follow me on Twitter (www.twitter.com/villanavarrete), or message me on LinkedIn(http://www.linkedin.com/in/anthonynavarrete).

Where would you serve? 


By: Anthony Navarrete '12, Spanish major, Latin American and Caribbean studies minor.

The Impact of a Year Studying Abroad

Saturday, February 23, 2013 by Center for Student Engagement

Why study abroad for longer? 

While back on campus, my conversation with alum Chris Granger '11 (East Asian Studies major, Philosophy minor) turned to the impact of his year year-long study abroad experience at Tsinghua University in Beijing, China on his professional growth and development.  Chris worked for Americorps after graduation and now is the Assistant Director of Admission and International Student Advisor at the Art Institute of Indianapolis.  Here's what he had to say:

There's a certain amount of time you need in a foreign culture before you can even experience immersion, where the culture and place sets in and becomes part of you.  It's great to see a new place and have cool experiences, but what studying abroad really is about is helping you develop confidence, adaptability, and the ability to respong to where other people are coming from.  These are things you encounter in the real world - people will have different ways in reacting to you and the world around them.  Studying abroad is the best"extreme training ground to help prepare you to be comfortable with this.

My current employer tells us they want and need us to be extremely adaptable. As an admission advisor, I have to work with students and families from different socioeconomic, cultural, religious, and educational backgrounds.  Being abroad for a year, I had to adjust to a culture that values different things than I do and a culture that responds differently to input and advice.  A year in China, completely outside of my comfort zone, allowed me to increase my competency in this skill that I now use regularly in my work. As a result of my study abroad experience, I know I can effectively serve the people in the communities I'm working in.  

When you challenge yourself in the most extreme scenarios, you're going to be that much more prepared to do so in other situations throughout your life.  Being in China for a year, I needed more than a semester of time to get to this point.  A semester abroad gives you time to learn the lesson, but longer is needed to really live the lesson.

The Center for Student Engagement supports students in the pursuit of a professional and personal life that is filled with purpose and accomplishment. Through study abroad, internships, and civic engagement, students become better equipped to find meanfingful employment upon graduation.

Learning like a Child

Wednesday, February 20, 2013 by Center for Student Engagement

Amanda Brinkman '13 spent the fall 2012 semester studying off-campus in Copenhagen, Denmark through the DIS program. While there, she took courses toward her pyschology major, participated in a service-learning placement working with immigrant girls, lived with a host family, and engaged eagerly with her host community, despite being a newcomer to the Danish language and culture. About her experience, she wrote: 

When you are experiencing a new culture and language, you have to embrace things as if you were a child. I mean, how did we learn our own cultural norms and our native language? There was a lot of trial and error, observations of other people, and trying new and maybe scary things for the first time. That is exactly what this experience has been so far. I am continuously learning how to properly ride a bike, how to navigate using public transportation, how to make sense of what people are talking about based on their hand gestures and expressions. It is truly as if I am a child watching and learning the culture, the language, and the norms of daily life. I find this fascinating and I want to continue to have this mentality especially when I truly have no idea what is going on. I have come to appreciate a sort of “common ground” non-verbal language, such as the moves for the step class and some of the directions for volleyball practice. I am just happy to say that I am learning so much more here than just what is taught in my classes, and I love it! 

For more about Amanda's experiences abroad, check out her blog!

Have you learned a new language or culture?

The Center for Student Engagement works with students to facilitate meaningful experiential education opportunities through off-campus study and other programming.

Welcome Back, Fall 2012 Off-Campus Study Students!

Wednesday, February 13, 2013 by Center for Student Engagement

Last Wednesday, February 6, the Off-Campus Study staff hosted our semi-annual Welcome Back! event for students returning from off-campus study. Fall 2012 OCS students studied and interned in locations all over the world, including Paris, Beijing, Beirut, Barcelona, Copenhagen, Amsterdam, Edinburgh, Istanbul, Cape Town, Philadelphia, Santiago, and many more. The Welcome Back! event is a chance for students to gather and share their experiences with each other, as well as consider how their OCS experience might connect to their future professional, academic, and personal goals.

   

This semester's event featured opportunities for small and large group discussion, a slideshow of student photographs, an art project, and a keynote address by Prof. Bob Steele, the Phyllis W. Nicholas Director of The Janet Prindle Institute for Ethics and Distinguished Professor of Journalism Ethics at DePauw. Prof. Steele spoke to students about the concept of "place" in their lives and the importance of reflection, both solitary and in coversation, as they return to DePauw from their OCS experience and as they consider and take their future steps, reminding them of these words from T.S. Eliot

"We shall not cease from exploration
And the end of all our exploring 
Will be to arrive where we started 
And know the place for the first time."

Several smaller Welcome Back! events will be held throughout the semester, including a conversation with a DePauw alum whose OCS experience has greatly influenced his life's path, a service opportunity sharing OCS stories and snacks with the residents of a local elderly care facility, and a forum where students have a chance to present independent research projects they conducted on OCS to the campus community.

How have you reflected on a transformative experience?

The staff of the Center for Student Engagement supports students before, during, and after their off-campus study experiences to help them achieve meaningful goals that circle back to enhance their DePauw education.

DePauw Alumni Teaching in Taiwan

Tuesday, February 12, 2013 by Center for Student Engagement

DePauw alumni are teaching English at the Tam Kang School in Taiwan.  The relationship founded by Professor Sherry Mou has blossomed into a vibrant post-graduate opportunity for DePauw graduates.  This year students will be working as interns at the school.

Every morning, Danielle R. Strohmeyer ’10 heads to a job where she can’t speak the native language. It isn’t a lack of knowledge or practice – she studied Chinese for four years as an undergrad, including a semester abroad in Beijing. She’s paid to speak English.

Strohmeyer is one of nine DePauw alumni teaching at Tam Kang, a private school just outside of the Taiwanese capital, Taipei. More than 23 million people occupy Taiwan, an island one-third the size of Indiana, but you’d be hard-pressed to find many other blonde, blue-eyed people there. That’s not such a bad thing in her line of work – as far as English teachers from America go, she certainly looks authentic. To her students, she brings something new and exciting to the classroom. From Strohmeyer’s point of view, so do they.

“The students can be so entertaining,” Strohmeyer says. “One little boy told me he wants to go to America because he wants to have a cheeseburger. Another one wants to go because he heard we have ‘advanced science and mathematical programs.’ He’s 10.”

Those comments sum up life at Tam Kang. Kids are still kids, but at a private school in the capital of a powerful Asian economy, cheeseburgers aren’t the only difference between here and there.

Strohmeyer’s elementary classroom at Tam Kang has two full-time teachers – one English speaker and one Taiwanese. They support each other during the day, splitting their time between teaching and grading, and sometimes stirring a student from an unscheduled nap. At the high school level, English teachers act more like tutors, helping students brush up their language skills before leaving for college.

“It’s a good job,” Strohmeyer says. “We’re paid well and our housing is provided along with insurance. And it’s a job where you feel like you’re doing meaningful work. I’m in love with the kids.”

Where would you love to live and work?  

The Center for Student Engagement works with students seeking post-graduate opportunities like teaching at Tam Kang.  

 

 

Normandy Weekend

Wednesday, February 6, 2013 by Center for Student Engagement

Erin Sheek, class of 2013, spent the spring 2012 semester studying off-campus in Paris. On a weekend trip to Normandy, she visited the American Military Cemetery where she was moved by the following story.

Mr. Anderson took us all around the cemetery to different plots and told us stories about the different soldiers.  Almost 10,000 men and women are buried here.  There were several Medal of Honor recipients, including the real-life hero from Saving Private Ryan and Teddy Roosevelt's son.  

The best and most touching story he told us was about a man named Billie Harris.  His is the grave that receives the most flowers of any in the cemetery year-round.  Billie was shot down on D-Day at Normandy, but managed to save the townspeople by crashing his plane into a far-off field.  He was considered a hero by the people who lived there, and was buried in their own cemetery.  When investigations began into the identities of unknown soldiers, he was identified as a Canadian soldier and moved to a Canadian cemetery in Normandy.  It wasn't until 2005 that he was correctly identified as American and moved to this cemetery.  

A week before Billie left for war, he married the love of his life, Peggy.  She never knew what happened to her husband, but was located and told his story when the government realized who he was. Ever since 2005, she comes to the cemetery every year on Memorial Day to visit her husband.  She is flown for free by AirFrance and given free lodging and meals by the people of the town, who still honor her husband's memory.  Mr. Anderson told us that she is known by everyone who lives there, and is treated like a beloved grandmother by all.  He also said that a few years ago, when he was telling this story to a group of visiting Marines, she just showed up! He asked her if she would mind telling them Billie's story, so of course she did.  One of the Marines asked her, if she didn't mind saying, why was her last name still Harris? Had she never remarried? She said, "My husband was married to me until the day he died, and I'm going to be married to him until the day I die."

Our whole group was in tears - Mr. Anderson said it's the best love story he knows.

Is there a significant historical site you want to visit?

The Center for Student Engagement staff work with students to facilitate meaningful off-campus experiences. The semester off-campus study application deadline for fall 2013 or spring 2014 is February 18, 2013.

 

 

That's a wrap! Winter Term 2013 comes to a close

Saturday, February 2, 2013 by Center for Student Engagement

Winter Term 2013 has come to a close.  Students and faculty from across campus and across the world shared what they learned.  Check it out!

A fascinating tour of China brought students to explore the Terra Cotta Warriors and the Qin Dynasty.  You can read more about this group's travels and learning by visiting one of the leaders' blog here.

Students in The Rock n Roll Experience gave a performance in The Duck at the Inn at DePauw.  A standing-room-only crowd turned out to see the the eight bands in the class perform. During the class, students had to form their own band, write an original song, learn how to play together and, for many, perform in front of a crowd, all while learning what it is that makes rock n roll what it is.  Read more in this article in local paper, The Banner Graphic.
The Boulder is the student newspaper during Winter Term. Stemming from an on-campus class led by Dave Bohmer and students who have experience working on The DePauw, the campus newspaper, students learn to write articles, take photographs, experiment with newspaper design and even sales.  News was published online throughout Winter Term, culminating in a print version.  Check it out - The Boulder. Students in New Zealand explored the geology of the country.  It was a hands on exploration of the volcanoes, glaciers and outcrops that make up the country's diverse geological and environmental history.  Read more on the DePauwRocks blog for more of their experience.
Students in YouTube Physics explored the many physics videos on YouTube, learning what makes an accurate, effective and interesting physics demonstration video.  In groups, they designed, constructed and presented their own online video. Students Craig Hadley and Pauline Ota's class, Introduction to Museums and Galleries, worked on the Asian Gallery in Emison, the Admissions building.  They enhanced the gallery with new labels and an audio tour.  They also created a website to visit.  Feel free to come to Emison any time to see this gallery and others.

Believe it or not, staff members in the Center for Student Engagement are already working with faculty and students to plan what they will do next January.  Possibilities include another course traveling to Cuba, exploring geology of the western US, service in El Salvador, and more!  

What would you like to learn during Winter Term 2014?

Terra Cotta Warriors and the Qin Dynasty; Xi'an, China

Thursday, January 24, 2013 by Mandy Brookins Blinn

It's been a whirlwind 16 days in China. Our travel schedule was so packed that this is the first time I've had an opportunity to post since we left! Once back in the US, I'll submit posts with details from the course, but in the meantime, I'll share a few highlights with our student travelers. 

One of the most impactful moments on the course was our visit to the Terra Cotta Warriors in Xi'an. The Terra Cotta Warriors gaurd the tomb of the First Emperor of China, Emperor Qin.  They were discovered by accident when a local farmer was digging a well, and discovered broken pieces of terra cotta pottery.  The initial excavation of the grounds revield an army worthy of protecting the Emperor in the afterlife. 

This is only 1 of 4 pits! Archeologist anticipate there are over 6000 soldiers, all of differing rank and purpose, buried under ground protecting the Emperor from invadors. 

What's even more amazing, the Qin Dynasty only ruled from 221 - 206 BCE. The First Emperor Qin only held power for 10 years, and yet his subjects were able to create over 6000 individual soldiers to gaurd his tomb.  At the Terra Cotta Warrior factory, they explained that each warrior takes more than 1 month to complete.  What an incredible amount of work went into preparing Emperor Qin's tomb in just a short amount of time. 

Chris becoming one with the warriors.

Here is Chris becoming one with the Terra Cotta Warriors. 

These soldiers are infantry men. You can tell by their hair style (right-side knot) and the type of armor.  Inside the pits, archeologists have discovered soldiers, officers, generals, and calvary. Each one with an individual face. The historians speculate the faces are modeled after Emperor Qin's actual army.

A shifting world view

Wednesday, January 23, 2013 by Center for Student Engagement

Andrew Miller, class of 2013 studied abroad at Koҫ University in Istanbul, Turkey during the spring 2012 semester.  This is what he had to say of his experience:

"During my time in Turkey, almost every day brought a new and exciting experience which contributed to my personal development; each one of these experiences was life-changing in its own way. However, there is a single moment which captures the essence of my time abroad. Over the centuries Turks have made drinking tea into an art form, so it is no surprise that much of my time was spent in Istanbul’s cafés. One day I had gone down to a café which sat right on the Bosporus, and chose a table only a few feet from the water. Because I was alone, it wasn’t long before I was lost in thought as I sipped my tea and watched the fishermen sorting their catch on the nearby docks. After a few minutes I was shaken from my daydream by the mid-day call to prayer echoing from the mosque a few blocks away.

I was suddenly struck by the normalcy of my surroundings. When I first arrived, the call to prayer was a reminder of how far from home I was, but in only a few short months, it had become as much a part of my life as the sound of the clock tower which sits a few blocks from my life-long home in Indiana. Only a few months before, this very café and the docks surrounding it had seemed a totally foreign world to me. For quite a while I had been too nervous to venture outside my university walls alone. Now, the city not only seemed a more hospitable place, but it’s ‘foreignness’ had vanished. While I still understood very little of the language, and much of Turkish culture remained a mystery to me, I no longer felt like an outsider. I looked down the Bosporus to the ancient heart of the city – to the massive minarets of the imperial mosques and the medieval towers and fortifications which lined the shore – and was amazed to realize how familiar it had all become. The city hadn’t changed, but my perception of it did. Indeed, in a matter of months my entire world view had changed. Suddenly the world had become a smaller and more familiar place and I realized how much a person can grow if they have the courage to venture beyond their comfort zone and embrace the unfamiliar."

How has your time traveling or studying in other parts of the world changed your perspective on the world?

450 students are returning from a faculty-led course off-campus in the US and abroad during Winter Term while another 80 are returning from a semester in the US or abroad.  The Center for Student Engagement is your place to learn more and get guidance about about off-campus study, in addition to internships, career exploration and planning, and community service and civic engagement.

It's Winter Term!

Sunday, January 13, 2013 by Center for Student Engagement

 

It's Winter Term 2013 and you know what that means!  Students and faculty are around the world doing some amazing things.

Nearly 450 students and 40 faculty members are exploring other parts of the US and studying abroad.  

Students and faculty are exploring China's Triple Bottom Line

Students and faculty are exploring the geology of New Zealand (DePauw Rocks!)

Students and faculty are exploring the evolition and implementation of ideas about sustainability on the island of Hawaii.

Over 250 students are doing internships across the US and in a number of other countries.

A student is doing an internship with the Afghanistan Embassy in Tokyo.

A student is doing an internship with Barley and Birch, an organic children's clothing line started by DePauw alum Kyle Smitley.

A student is doing an internship at the Indiana Orthopaedic Hospital.

Nearly 100 students are exploring topics independently with the guidance of a faculty member.

A student is writing her own children's book, which will contribute to her desire to have a career writing children's books.

A student is working on an ongoing documentary project focusing on those affected by breast cancer.

A student is exploring nutrition and global health in Uganda.

And around 900 students are on-campus engaged in an academic, intensive course.

First-Year Bonner Scholars are taking a class to explore their commitment to service, while also spending a week in Chicago engaged in a direct service project.

Students are learning to "become their own career expert" in a class led by career counselor and DePauw alum Erin Mahoney. 

Students are learning the techniques of cooking, but also the science behind it.

If you had three weeks to focus on an interest or passion, what would it be and where would you go?

You can learn more about Winter Term, as well as other ways students can engage in their own learning throughout the year by visiting the Center for Student Engagement.

 

 

Celebrating Te Pō

Sunday, January 13, 2013 by Margaret Distler

Upon arriving in New Zealand, I've definitely noticed the presence of the Māori, the indigenous Polynesian people who arrived in New Zealand by 1300 A.D. As reflected in the current day names of most cities and streets, the Māori language is also the national language of New Zealand.

 

While our Winter Term trip focuses more on the country's geological history than its political history, we embraced our Liberal Arts roots and spent Tuesday night learning about the Māori culture at Te Pō, an indigenous evening experience at the Te Puia Māori Cultural Center, in Rotorua, New Zealand. The experience included a traditional pōwhiri (Māori welcoming ceremony), a kapa haka (Māori concert), a Māori feast as well as a trip to the Te Whakarewarewa Geothermal Valley. During the kapa haka, several students volunteered to learn some of the traditional dance moves, as shown in the video below.

 

 

 

Have you ever participated in a ceremony of a different culture before? If so, what did you take away from the international experience?

Good things happen to geology students who wait

Friday, January 11, 2013 by Margaret Distler

While we initially planned on visiting White Island on Tuesday morning, dicey weather conditions forced us to reschedule our tour for Wednesday at 8:30 a.m. After driving about 70 miles from Rotorua (where our hostel was located) to Whakatane (where the White Island boat tours launch from), we were ecstatic to find pristine conditions -- blue skies, no wind, and unlimited visibility. 

After a two hour boat ride in the Pacific Ocean, we arrived at White Island, New Zealand's only live marine volcano. With the help of our tour guide, we hiked around the island, stopping every now and then for explanations of what we were seeing.

Students examine sulphur crystals on White Island, New Zealand's only live marine volcano.During our walk, we were able to see the crater and its spike dome, which is the cooled magma. Jim likened the spike dome to a cork on a champagne bottle, holding the magma back until the pressure is too much and it explodes. As geology students, our tour was particularly important because it provided us with a chance to stand inside an active volcano, which are generally not accessible to the public.

On our boat ride back, we ran across a pod of over 50 dolphins. Immediately, everyone moved to the sides of the boats, cameras in hand. Instead of swimming away from us, the dolphins dove, jumped, and did tricks around our boat for a solid 15 minutes. I don't know who was enjoying it more -- the dolphins or us. Shortly after the dolphin encounter, our tour guide spotted a blue penguin, the smallest penguin in the world, floating nearby.