International Internship Opens Eyes to the Real World

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Like many students, sophomore Maggie Crawford ’16 planned an internship as part of her college experience. Unlike most others, her internship was also an international adventure—in India.

India_2Maggie, who is studying international marketing, an individually planned major, worked as a structural advisor for the Mysore Resettlement and Development Agency (MYRADA). In her role, she was responsible for counseling on operations and organizational improvements in MYRADA’s programs that benefit disadvantaged populations.

Maggie found this opportunity through Oglethorpe’s Atlanta Laboratory for Learning (A_LAB), which helps students to put their classroom learning into practice by combining “real world” experiences in professional development, global education, civic engagement, and/or undergraduate research.

India_4Internships abroad can be very different from those in the U.S., which Maggie found out firsthand. “You get to find out what it is like to work somewhere else and learn about the culture of their work,” she says. “By combining travel abroad and internships, you just get a better sense of why you’re there.”

Maggie also faced challenges in acclimating to a different culture. “First, there was the language barrier,” she says. “When I went, I learned a couple of words in Hindi, but I learned that they actually speak something called Kannada. So, it wasn’t actually helpful at all. And, they’d never seen an American where I went, so they were always looking at me.”

India_1Maggie now uses her international internship experience to inform her contributions to classroom discussions. “It has shown me different perspectives,” she says. “We were studying the temples in India in ‘Art & Culture.’ I actually got to see those, firsthand.” Overall, she says her global experience “has made me more aware of the people around me.”

Next on the Maggie’s itinerary is China, where she hopes to add to her repertoire of real world professional experiences around the world.

Study Abroad Awesomeness

Autumn Wright 4I’ve heard plenty of excuses why students don’t want to study abroad. They don’t want to miss out on a semester. They’re afraid they’ll get behind. Perhaps there’s an internship they want to do, or a concert they want to go see. Maybe they think that it’s too difficult to put all their friends and family behind them and run away for a year.

Let’s get this straight: study abroad is not always the glamorous life depicted on the glossy brochures in front of Dr. Collins‘ office, where a politically-correct diverse range of students stand in front of An Important, Easily-Recognizable Monument and flash their Photoshopped-white teeth at the camera on a perfect spring day.

But sometimes it is.

Autumn Wright 3The Road to Cultivation 128There are moments that feel perfect, those once-in-a-lifetime sparks that imprint themselves on your mind. Standing on a bridge over the Seine on New Year’s Eve at midnight while the Eiffel Tower lights up and fireworks flash over the Parisian skyline. Climbing to the top of some ridiculously tall, ridiculously old cathedral so you can catch a glimpse of the city from above. Lying on the grass with new found friends from all corners of the globe, the taste of the pastry you bought at the nearest boulangerie still on your tongue. And, feeling like the world’s biggest bad ass for navigating London’s winding roads and underground on two hours of sleep.

Autumn Wright 2Study abroad will lead you to places that you never pictured yourself going. For example, even though I’m studying in France at the moment, I’ll be going to England in a fortnight with my job. I have an internship this summer through my school here in France that spans across three different countries, taking me all the way from Amsterdam to Paris. (Which seriously rocks. If I’d stayed in Atlanta, I would probably have some cookie cutter internship that would have involved making copies and using my honed barista skills to brew pots of coffee.)

Autumn WrightSeriously. Study abroad is one of the best experiences of my life. College is one of the only times where you can take a semester or two “off” and just go somewhere and it’s perfectly acceptable. If you try doing the same with your boss in a couple years’ time, I doubt they’d be too thrilled to let you go adventuring across Europe. Study abroad now, or else regret it later.

Autumn Wright, an Oglethorpe University junior majoring in French, is studying abroad and interning in Lille, France.

Class Project Reflected in German Calendar Design

German Class and Calendar Cover

Christie Pearce ’15 (center) pictured along with Professor Ochmann’s class, holding the calendar’s cover

German Calendar (10)During the fall 2013 semester, Professor Matthaeus Ochmann’s German class was assigned a project to keep a personal vocabulary development journal. As part of the assignment, junior Christie Pearce composed a list of 50 German words that are interchangeable in English and do not have an English equivalent, such as “diesel” and “kindergarten.” Intrigued, the class used her list for a quiz during an on-campus German cultural event.

Ochmann, a visiting instructor from Germany, shared the event’s success with his father. This reminded his father, a graphic designer, of his time working affiliated with Scheufelen, a German printing company that creates an “art calendar” every year. He mentioned the word list to Scheufelen, and coincidentally their 2014 calendar features graphic representations of the German words and explanations of their uses in both English and German.

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The calendar in its permanent location in the library.

The calendar, which recently won a design award, was created using various printing methods and different types of thick, high quality paper to showcase the company’s work. With only 3500 copies printed, the calendar is in limited supply and costs approximately $135 to purchase.

Because of the correlation between the calendar idea and Christie’s list, Scheufelen sent the class two of the calendars as gifts. Christie received one, and the other was given to  Oglethorpe’s Weltner Library to display.

New Perspectives: Global LEAD Ecuador

In 2012, OU launched a new partnership with Global LEAD, an immersive nonprofit study abroad program that combines the principles of leadership, education, adventure and diplomacy into five-week trips to countries scattered around the globe. Created by dynamic entrepreneurs who have a heart for service and a spirit of adventure, Global LEAD is a program for young people, run by young people. Global LEAD aims to “transform the trajectory of individuals’ lives through leadership service and personal development,” – a mission that aligns with Oglethorpe’s goal for its students.
The unique program includes two weeks of classroom learning, two weeks of service learning, and one week of adventure. Oglethorpe serves as the academic coordinator for the program, approving all academic faculty, syllabi, course pedagogy and materials for the two courses: Leadership in Action and Global Citizenship & Service Learning. All participating students take Oglethorpe University courses within the context of Global LEAD’s programs in Ecuador, Greece and South Africa. Students from universities around the country earn six Oglethorpe credit hours that transfer to students’ home universities.Global LEAD -  Emmanuel, Dr. Chandler, Bri on Equator #2
In July 2013, Oglethorpe students Emmanuel Brantley ’15 and Briana Mongerson ’13 were the first Petrels to benefit from this new partnership. They journeyed to Ecuador alongside 22 students from other universities, led by Oglethorpe’s Dr. Mario Chandler, associate professor of Spanish. During the two weeks of academic instruction, Dr. Chandler taught two courses, developed to meet the requirements and goals of Oglethorpe’s curriculum.

Leadership in Action

The first course focused on teaching core principles of leadership by using the historical context and perspectives of South American peoples. The course, “Leadership in Action,” helped students to settle into the customs of their temporary home by helping them to converse and connect with local people, experience first-hand the daily lives and the history of Ecuadorians. From studying about the sobering history of the enslaved indigenous peoples, to learning how to hail a cab and which foods to order (or not) in restaurants, Global LEAD students were immersed in the culture of the Ecuadorian people in ways that exceeded the limits of textbooks.
“Dr. Chandler gave insight on how to be ‘the mindful traveler’ and impact Ecuador’s culture in a positive direction,” shared Global LEAD student Louise Powers, a junior at the University of Tennessee. “We even had a Survival Spanish class and put this to the test walking to the top of Basilica Del Voto Nacional and at the welcome dinner.”
The leadership training went further, teaching the students to push themselves out of their comfort zones in other ways. “The physical activities, like mountain biking and hiking, allow students to experience what we are talking about in class,” discovered Emmanuel. “It’s not just talking about who you are as a leader, but you are really able to bring what you are learning in class to life. You are leading yourself to be more fearless and to tackle these physical challenges.” Understanding historical and cultural perspectives and how to push themselves to be ‘fearless’ also helped to prepare the students for their coming weeks of service.

Global Citizenship & Service

Students segued into the service learning part of their experience during the second course, “Global Citizenship and Service,” which challenged students to create framework for service projects in Ecuador as well as for their home communities in the U.S.
“Our professor, Dr. Chandler, kicked off the morning with one of his most powerful lessons yet,” wrote Matt Edwards from University of Tennessee in a blog documenting the trip. “After discussing poverty and service in our local [Ecuadorian] communities, we shared problems we see in our own neighborhoods and brainstormed ways we can take action. …The lessons and tools we have been given to spark change and better our world are really becoming evident. It’s truly invigorating to be part of this group of brilliant young minds that is realizing its potential to impact the world.”
Students used what they learned in the classroom to transition into teaching ESL (English as a second language) to young Ecuadorian children. Students volunteered at an institute called Honrar la Vida (honor life), created to help educate, integrate and validate the cultural contributions of black Ecuadorian youth, called afroecuatorianos, who historically have been the victims of discrimination and marginalized in Ecuadorian society.
Students connected with the children of Honor La Vida, teaching them the English alphabet, days of the week, and songs to help them remember animal names. But, it was the children who made the biggest impression.
“Teaching ESL was one of the best learning experiences I have had in a long time,” said Oglethorpe’s Briana Mongerson, who hopes to continue teaching ESL. “I had kids ranging [in age] from 11-15 in the class and we covered the alphabet, colors, days of the week and their names…. Although these kids didn’t have much, they are filled with joy, smiles and hugs. I love the impact that they have made on me and never will forget those beautiful faces from Honar La Vida.”
“Most Global LEAD students come into the week thinking that they are going to give knowledge and time to the local students, but what we end up taking away is the love and gratitude of being able to share in their experience,” explained Carolyn Prebil, Global LEAD’s director of marketing and program director for the Ecuador trip. “It is incredible to see the bonds that form throughout the week despite any cultural or language barriers.”
Emmanuel, who is now serving as a Global LEAD ambassador to encourage other students to participate, agrees. “You hear that other study abroad trips make a big impact, but on this trip we were directly involved and in touch with the people, history and nature of the country—and it really had a life-changing impact.”
Find out more about Global LEAD’s programs at globalleadprogram.org.

The NO Project Seminar on Human Trafficking Awareness at Oglethorpe

NO PROJECT 2

Oglethorpe University will host a seminar by The NO Project, a global anti-slavery public awareness initiative that focuses on the demand for human trafficking and educates through music, the arts, film, dance  and social media.

The free event will be held Tuesday, October 29, 2013 at 7:00 p.m. in the Conant Performing Arts Center and is co-sponsored by Oglethorpe University’s A_LAB (Atlanta Laboratory for Learning), Oglethorpe Women’s Network, Global LEAD and The Junior  League of Atlanta, Inc.

The NO ProjectAttendees will enjoy a captivating 90-minute multi-media interactive seminar that presents the truths behind human trafficking. The seminar encourages students—and others—to use their passion, interests, talent and connections to respond and join the fight against modern day slavery. The presentation includes award-winning documentary film clips, world-class animation, music, art and dance, all of which reflect the intelligent, creative, proactive stance that youth, artists and educators are taking to address the crime of modern slavery. The NO Project seminar enables listeners to better understand forced/bonded labor, domestic servitude, and commercial sexual exploitation.

Diamonds by Myra

The NO Project has come a long way from its beginnings at a kitchen table in Athens, Greece. It now operates globally, from Bulgaria to New Zealand, Turkey to the U.S., Romania to the Philippines. Its presentation shows that slavery is often much closer than the average person and consumer realizes, connecting slavery to items that we use and enjoy in our everyday lives. These items include electronics and food like chocolate and shrimp cocktails. While human trafficking is barbaric, violent and overwhelming, The NO Project take an approach to the global crime that is neither depressing nor gloomy.

For more information regarding this event, please go to noproject.oglethorpe.edu.