Tag Archives: Study Abroad

Sponsor an event for International Education Week

International Education Week (Nov. 11-15) is just around the corner, and the Study Abroad Office is already busy scheduling events.

But what exactly is International Education Week?

International Education Week is an opportunity to celebrate the benefits of international education and exchange worldwide. This joint initiative between the U.S. Department of State and the U.S. Department of Education is part of Georgia Regents University’s efforts to promote programs that prepare Americans for a global environment and attract future leaders from abroad to study, learn and exchange experiences in the United States.

In short, International Education Week is a chance to spend a week away at your home away from home and to do so in the company of truly world-class educators.

If your department would like to sponsor an event during this week, please contact the Study Abroad Office for inclusion on the poster and other promotional materials by Sept.3.

The Study Abroad Office also asks that faculty and staff consider IE Week an opportunity to promote events with an international focus.

For more information, please contact Maria Darley, director of study abroad, at 706-729-2306 or mdarley@gru.edu.

Events will be solidified by mid-September so that work on promotional materials can begin.

Wish you were here: Business in Cuba

college_Hull-College-Cuba-2
Photo credit: Amy Richardson

For most Americans, Cuba probably seems an unlikely vacation spot.

The largest of the Caribbean islands, the scenic little nation sits less than a hundred miles from the coast of Florida, little more than a 45-minute flight from Miami. Unfortunately, for the last 60 years, an ironclad embargo and rocky relations between the U.S. and Cuba’s former Soviet handlers have kept most beachgoers at bay.

As a result, today few Americans have ever set foot into Cuba. Of those who have, even fewer have done so legally. But Don Howard, professor of management in the Hull College of Business, has been multiple times. And in the company of Georgia Regents University students, no less.

His trips, facilitated by the GRU Study Abroad office, are the first of many possible American visits to Cuba in the coming years.

Having recently restored formal diplomatic relations with the United States, the country is moving into unprecedented territory in terms of tourism interests, a shift in economic upswing that, Howard says, Cuba was far from prepared for.

“The average state wage in Cuba is very low by our standards,” said Howard. “Whether you’re a taxi driver or a heart surgeon, you’ll make about the same per month, somewhere in the range of around twenty dollars. Tourism is changing all of that.”

A typical street salesman hawking wares to tourists might make that much in an hour, Howard said. The reason? Price differentials and tourist ignorance.

“A tourist might unthinkingly pay five dollars for a book or a banner on the street,” said Howard. “What’s five dollars to a tourist, you know? But in Cuba, those items may have been worth pennies. It adds up.”

Hearing that a street salesman makes as much as a heart surgeon may sound disconcerting at first, but the truth of Cuba’s health care system makes the realization all the more shocking. Cuba has some of the best health care in the world.

In its World Health Report, published in 2000, the World Health Organization ranked Cuba 39th among national health care systems. By comparison, the United States was ranked 37th. Cuban doctors are renowned throughout the world thanks to the Cuban Medical Internationalism program, a system designed to send Cuban doctors and medical relief to more than 100 countries around the world. The program seems to work, too. In 2007, according to an article published in Latin American Perspectives, Cuba provided more medical personnel to the developing world than all of the G7 nations combined.

Not to mention, at home, that same health care is free.

But the Cuban system definitely has its downsides.

The Cuban people make such low wages in part because the Cuban government rations certain food items. The Libreta de Abastecimiento, translated to “supplies booklet,” refers to the Cuban system of using vouchers and coupons to obtain certain types of foods. Some of the items rationed include dietary staples, but others are minor necessities that capitalist countries often take for granted.

“What surprised me,” Howard said, “was that Cubans eat more beans and rice per capita than any other country.”

Part of the reason for that, however, is that beans and rice tend to have long shelf lives, thus making them ideal for long-term storage. Other rationed items include things like sugar, matches and oil.

“Or you could get your one cigarette for the day, if you wanted,” said Howard.

While the practice of food rationing is a tried-and-true communist tactic, Cuba’s economic model is truly unique, especially when compared to the previous communist model under Fidel Castro. That was the primary focus of the study abroad trip, Howard said.

“There are government-owned stores, privately owned stores and co-ops in Cuba,” said Howard. “Co-ops, of course, being jointly owned by both the government and private entrepreneurs. We wanted to talk to students about the differences between the free market and communist systems, and there was no better place to do that.”

According to Howard, the atmosphere, availability of goods and public perception vary wildly between state-run stores and privately owned businesses. As a result, there tends to be a great deal of disparity in Cuban shops.

“Private shops and restaurants are usually run out of people’s homes,” said Howard. “They tend to be very affluent compared to state-run facilities, especially the privately owned markets. They’re usually very proud to have guests in their homes. The students can see the difference.”

Outside of its politics and economic system, Howard said, Cuba is a gorgeous country with an odd, but familiar, identity. Misconceptions abound around the little island, though.

One common misconception is that religion has been stamped out entirely in Cuba. Not true, said Howard, though the nation’s religious ambivalence is much greater than our own.

“The top two religions in Cuba are actually African religions,” he said. “Most people think they’d either be Roman Catholic or atheist, but no. Catholicism is a distant third, but there are several practitioners in Havana.”

14212879577_73e7b61385_zHavana, Cuba’s once-gleaming capitol, was a favorite among his students. They enjoyed the sights and the culture, especially the music, which has long been one of Cuba’s greatest selling points. Howard himself said the city was breathtaking, though admittedly, it too has its flaws.

“Most of the best hotels in Cuba wouldn’t get a three-star rating in the United States,” he said. “The hotel we stayed in, the Ambos Mundos, was clean, though, and you could see most of the city from the roof.”

If the Ambos Mundos hotel sounds familiar, you might be a fan of fine literature. In the 1930s, the famous writer Ernest Hemingway spent seven years living in the Ambos Mundos hotel. There, amid the roaring culture and moral wilderness of Cuba’s golden age, he began one of his most famous works, “For Whom the Bell Tolls.” Today, the hotel still keeps his room on the fifth floor set aside as a museum and memorial, a living testament to a man many Cubans consider a tragic hero.

Howard said the rest of Havana, especially Old Havana (Hemingway’s favorite), was beautiful but “clearly in decay.”

growing DSC04488
Photo credit: Amy Richardson

“You won’t find a toilet seat anywhere in Cuba, most likely,” he said. “Those were the first things to go, and the people decided they didn’t need them. Their cars, the beautiful 50s Chevy replicas? They’re all Toyotas on the inside. It’s a very quaint style.”

In addition to their tour of Havana, students were taken out into the country to see an often unseen aspect of Cuban life: farm culture.

“I think that was a great experience for students,” said Howard. “Seeing how people live in the country in Cuba and how different it is from the city. I’m glad we got to see a tobacco farm.”

Mid-week, students left Havana to travel to Viñales, a mountain farm community in the Pinar del Río province of Cuba. On their trip, the students ate the way Cubans did.

“We stopped once to get ice cream,” said Howard. “There was a horse cart pulling ice cream, so we stopped with the locals and got some on the way.”

In the country, students got to meet and interact with guides, young men and women who worked in the fields. Howard said students took quickly to the Cuban youths, but that he cautioned them about what they said and asked.

“These guides, these young people, they’re state employees,” he said. “They were friendly, but you have to remember they have their own agendas, too.”14419485993_cf1c8b058b_z

In addition, students met with faculty and staff of the University of Havana. All four of the individuals were Communists, Howard said, but readily admitted that their system had its flaws. All said, though, they remained committed to their country and the future of Cuba under Raul Castro.

Howard said there was some apprehension about traveling to Cuba at first, but that it wouldn’t stop him from returning. He plans to go again in the spring of 2016 with a new group of students. He encourages others to give Cuba a try as well.

“I think students were a little apprehensive at first, and rightly so,” he said. “Cuba is a beautiful nation, and something everyone should experience, but it is also a very different atmosphere. It’ll change you. For the better, but it’ll change you to see how differently people live. That much I guarantee.”

For more information about Study Abroad or upcoming trips, contact the Study Abroad Office at 706-729-2306 or email Maria Darley at mdarley@gru.edu.

Study abroad deadline extended

The deadline for submitting proposals for study abroad and study away programs for fall 2015, spring 2016, and summer 2016 has been extended until April 13, 2015.

If you are interested in submitting a proposal, you can find the forms at gru.edu/studyabroad/forfaculty.php.

Proposals include the completed proposal form, contact hours form, budget form, a course syllabus for each course associated with the program, and an itinerary. Please remember that new and recurring programs need to be submitted in this format.

Study abroad proposals are for credit-bearing and clinical experiences outside the United States, while study away proposals are for credit-bearing experiences within the United States.

Conversations about these proposals should start in your department as they will require signatures from your chair, appropriate committees, and the Dean’s Office before coming to the study abroad committee. The Study Abroad Office is here to help should you have additional questions.

If you are interested in teaching on the European Council programs (Paris, London, Waterford, St. Petersburg, Madrid, Scotland, or Berlin), you can find applications at

valdosta.edu/academics/academic-affairs/international-programs/european-council/faculty-resources/.

These completed applications must be submitted to the European Council by March 24, 2015, for consideration to teach on a 2016 program. The applications also require signatures from your chair, dean, and the Vice President of Faculty and Academic Affairs.

Update on Individual Student Travel for Credit or Clinical Hours:

There is a process for students to follow if they are traveling outside the U.S. Any student seeking an opportunity to participate in an international experience related to academic coursework or clinical hours must complete the “Student Preliminary Application for Individual Travel” at least three months prior to travel and submit it to the Study Abroad Office. In order for the student’s travel and work abroad to be approved, this paperwork must be complete before the student travels. For more information, go to:

gru.edu/studyabroad/individualtravel.php.

Contact Maria Darley, Director of Study Abroad, at mdarley@gru.edu if you need more information on this process or these programs.

Photo contest kicks off International Education Week

If you traveled to Venice and took photos of the canals or to Costa Rica and took photos of the wildlife in the rainforests, now is your opportunity to submit your best images for the Study Abroad Photo Contest.

The photos for the contest, which is held during International Education Week, will be displayed on the GRU Study Abroad Facebook page. Voting will begin Nov. 1 and end at 6 p.m. on Nov. 18. The grand prize winner will be announced on Nov. 19 at the International Festival.

The events for International Education Week include:

Wednesday, Nov. 12

International Festival, 11:30 a.m.-1 p.m.

Student Center, Health Sciences Campus

Sponsored by the Jaguar Production Crew

Join the CREW for International Festival, GRU’s version of Arts in the Heart.

There will be free food, fun, music, dance performances, and, of course, culture. Come out and join us for an exciting festival you don’t want to miss!

Saturday, Nov. 15

A Day of French Cinema and Culture

Screening of four films in the Maxwell Theatre:

“The Red Balloon” (1957) at noon

“The Umbrellas of Cherbourg” (1964) at 1 p.m.

“Winter Nomads” (2012) at 4 p.m.

“Mood Indigo” (2013) at 7 p.m.

The day will also feature music, food, and pétanque. This free event is sponsored by the Lyceum and Cinema series.

Monday, Nov. 17

Musical Play, “Popeye, the Fairy King, and the Stolen Bride,” noon, Teardrop, Summerville Campus. Drs. Debbie and Hubert van Tuyll,  Carl Purdy, and students from the Ireland Study Abroad Program.
This story is taken from a strain in Irish mythology of fairy kings kidnapping brides. The play is about a fairy king who picks on the wrong bride when he snatches Olive Oil from her wedding to Popeye. What happens next is way outside the Irish traditional fate of kidnapped brides.

Tuesday, Nov. 18

University Libraries Lunch and Learn, noon-1 p.m.
Bring your lunch and travel to the GRU Libraries to learn about the resources for study abroad and international travel available through the University Libraries. Two sessions will be held concurrently: one on the Summerville Campus, Reese Library, room 304, and one on the Health Sciences Campus, Greenblatt Library, room AB-108.
Sponsored by University Libraries.

Staying Safe While Exploring the World, 1 p.m., Butler Room, JSAC.
Speaker, Shannon Nix, Counseling Center.

Prepare for an exciting adventure by educating yourself on how to stay safe and access help while traveling and learning overseas.

Keynote Speaker, Greg Van Bladel, 6 p.m., University Hall, room 170.

Mr. Greg Van Bladel is the Utility Tractor Product Line Coordinator.Sponsored by the Hull College of Business.

Wednesday, Nov. 19

International Festival, 11 a.m.-2 p.m.

  1. Douglas Barnard Jr. Amphitheatre and JSAC Patio (Rain Location: JSAC Ballroom).

Sponsored by the Jaguar Production Crew.

Thursday, Nov. 20

Workshop: How to Find a Job Overseas

2:30 p.m., University Hall, room 219.
Meet returned Peace Volunteer Melissa Hall and learn tips to identify and land overseas opportunities in the federal government, nonprofit and private sectors.

Zumba Wii Tournament, 6-7:30 p.m., JSAC Coffeehouse.

Sponsored by the Los Amigos Hispanos Club.

Friday, Nov. 21

CerviCusco presentation with Dr. Daron Ferris and Lynn Allmond, FNP, RN.

Noon-1 p.m., Health Sciences Building, EC 1210, Health Sciences Campus.
Hear the history and purpose of the CerviCusco clinic development. Current operations for the CerviCusco clinic will be discussed as well as current, and future, educational opportunities for GRU students. Future plans for CerviCusco will also be presented by Kathy Dexter.

Throughout the week, Sodexo will be offering a different themed meal each day in the JSAC:

Nov. 17 – Ireland Meal

Nov. 18 – Japanese

Nov. 19 – Mexican

Nov. 20 – Indian

Nov. 21 – Italian

There will also be an International Education Week display in the lobby of the library that will focus on e-books, e-resources, and a corresponding libguide.

Visit the Reese Library lobby for resources related to study abroad and international education or visit their online LIBGUIDE at guides.gru.edu/StudyAbroad.

 

Study Abroad planning International Education Week

The Study Abroad office is in the process of scheduling events that will be part of International Education Week, Nov. 12-21.

What is International Education Week?

“International Education Week is an opportunity to celebrate the benefits of international education and exchange worldwide. This joint initiative of the U.S. Department of State and the U.S. Department of Education is part of our efforts to promote programs that prepare Americans for a global environment and attract future leaders from abroad to study, learn, and exchange experiences in the United States.”

If your department would like to sponsor an event during this week, please contact the Study Abroad Office for inclusion on the poster and other promotional materials. Please consider this as an opportunity to promote an event you may typically organize that has an international focus.

For more information, contact Maria Darley, Director of Study Abroad, at 706-729-2306 or mdarley@gru.edu. The events will be solidified by mid-September so that work on the promotional materials can begin.

Class takes a trip to Cuba

Cuba, one of the few places the U.S. government has strictly banned Americans from visiting, may seem like a strange place for a Study Abroad trip, but students said they learned a lot from the experience.

“We were able to talk to people and see what life is like there,” marketing student Aaliyah Wylie said. “We thought it would be a dark place, but it wasn’t.”

Eleven students travelled with the Hull College of Business to learn more about the business and economic factors of the island nation’s communist government.

“I thought that they would be oppressed, but it didn’t feel like that,” marketing student Lanson Twyner said. “We were talking to a barber; he took us to his shop; it was in this small cinderblock shed; but it was very clean. I would get my hair cut there.”

The students continued to describe the nation’s problems, which included an aging infrastructure, limited product selection, and two currencies. But in contrast to these issues, the people had most of their basic needs met and often seemed quite happy.

“They would ask you where you are from, and we would hesitantly tell them ‘America,’ but then they would say ‘We love you, take the government out of it,’” Wylie said. “You realize that people aren’t the same as the government that you hear so much about.”

While in Cuba, the students toured many businesses in Havana and worked to learn how the economic changes were having an impact on the nation. The students conducted research on Cuba’s transferring from two currencies to one as well as its moving from total government ownership of business to some free and private enterprise. Stores there are both government and privately owned, while others are a combination of both. The students researched what the stores had to offer, both in quantity and quality of products, the cleanliness, the store size and employee compensation. At times they were surprised, and at other times they found what they were expecting.

“At some government-run beauty salons, you could get a full-body massage for free. And they had things like hair dyes, hair cuts, and more,” Wylie said. “But then you could go into a grocery store and they may only have two kinds of beer available, not a lot of choice.”

While on the trip, the students also traveled outside of Havana to Viñales, an agricultural region.

“We saw some rice and fish farms, corn, and more,” said Don Howard, International Business Professor and Trip Director. “And while the tobacco had already been harvested, we did get to see the cigars being made; every single one is rolled by hand, and they are perfect.”

They also visited a bed and breakfast, one of the growing sectors of the Cuban economy.

“It was very nice,” Twyner said. “It was very contemporary and even had marble or granite floors.”

Overall, the students said they learned a lot and found it interesting to see an economy like that in transition. Even the faculty members who accompanied the students on the trip found it to be interesting.

“Imagine how much more meaningful it was to be there and ask questions in person,” Trip Assistant Director and Spanish Professor Jana Sandarg said. “The experiences that the students had were worth more than they can get out of a textbook.”

Howard has wanted to take students to Cuba for years, but every time he tried, he could never quite make it work. After years of travel bans and strained international relations between the U.S. and Cuba, it seemed like it just was not going to happen.

“We called it the ‘forbidden fruit,’” Howard said. “But when some of the regulations were relaxed under President (Barack) Obama, we thought we might just have a chance.”

The President relaxed restrictions to visit the island nation in 2011 so that people could travel for educational reasons; however, travel is still not open for direct tourism.

Howard said he was excited the trip went so well and he is working to take another trip to Cuba next spring break. He also said the college was planning a trip to Chile and London/Paris next May as well.

For more information about Study Abroad or the upcoming trips, contact the Study Abroad Office at 706-729-2306 or email mdarley@gru.edu.

Call for Study Abroad/ Study Away proposals for 2014-15

Proposals for Study Abroad and Study Away programs to run in Fall 2014, Spring 2015, and Summer 2015 must be submitted to the Study Abroad Committeeby April 1, 2014. 

If you are interested in submitting a proposal for a Study Abroad or a Study Away program, you can find all of the forms at the following link:

gru.edu/studyabroad/forfaculty.php.

Completed proposals include the completed proposal form, contact hours form, budget form, a course syllabus for each course associated with the program, and an itinerary. Please remember that new and recurring programs need to be submitted in this format.

Study Abroad proposals are for credit bearing and clinical experiences outside of the United States, while Study Away proposals are for credit bearing experiences within the United States.

Conversations about these proposals should start in your department as they will require signatures from your chair, appropriate committees, and the Dean’s office before coming to the Study Abroad Committee, but the Study Abroad Office is here to help should you have additional questions.

If you are interested in teaching on the European Council Programs (Paris, London, Waterford, St. Petersburg, Madrid, Scotland, or Berlin) you can find the applications at

valdosta.edu/academics/academic-affairs/international-programs/european-council/faculty-resources/.

These completed applications should be submitted to the European Council by March 24, 2014, for consideration to teach on a 2015 program. These applications also require signatures from your chair, dean, and the VP of Faculty and Academic Affairs.

Update on Individual Student Travel for Credit or Clinical Hours:

There is a new process for students to follow if they are traveling outside the United States. Any student seeking an opportunity to participate in an international experience related to academic coursework or clinical hours must complete the “Student Preliminary Application for Individual Travel” at least three months prior to travel and submit it to the Study Abroad Office. In order for the student’s travel and work abroad to be approved, this paperwork must be complete before the student travels. For more information, go to

gru.edu/studyabroad/individualtravel.php.

Contact Maria Darley, Director of Study Abroad, at mdarley@gru.edu if you need more information on this process or these programs.

GRU Study Abroad – Cape Town, South Africa

sa2The failing health of Nelson Mandela has recently stirred international concern. He is, after all, an iconic figure representing South Africa’s spectacular rise as a democratic state as well as the worldwide struggle against racism. Mandela’s activism, the history of South Africa, and the country’s cultural diversity understandably fascinate GRU students from a variety of academic disciplines.

In 2008, the Study Abroad Program developed the first trip to Cape Town, South Africa. Dr. Karen Aubrey d’Ambrogi, Assistant Dean in the Pamplin College of Arts, Humanities, and Social Sciences, was one of the leaders on that first trip consisting of about 20 students. Since then, the yearly trip has been sponsored by the Department of Sociology, Criminal Justice, and Social Work. Four trips since 2009, involving a total of 60 students, have been made during Spring Break. The most recent trip, jointly sponsored with the Department of Counselor Education, Leadership, and Research, attracted four graduate students and helped facilitate an exciting visit to the University of Cape Town, one of the oldest educational institutions in Africa.

Cape Town’s natural beauty and dramatic history qualify it as a destination of choice. (Filmmakers seem to agree; remember “Invictus” with Morgan Freeman and “Safe House” with Matt Damon?) The physical setting is best appreciated atop Table Mountain, 3,500 feet above the harbor that embraced Dutch ships in 1652. This mountain is part of the Cape Floral Kingdom, a botanical wonder that is home to over 2,000 species of plants, more than exist in the United Kingdom. In addition to this mountain visit was a bus tour along the Atlantic coast, a boat trip to visit a rocky island inhabited by seals, and a two-hour trip into the interior for a daylong safari.

There is, however, another “face” to South Africa, deeply rooted in its past, when cities like Cape Town were gripped by Apartheid, a state-sponsored program of racial oppression. The tragic consequences of this policy are clearly manifest in the adjacent “townships” where people live in tin shacks, burdened with water and sewage systems that are neither reliable nor safe. GRU students took walking tours through several of these townships, visited several homes, talked with kids and adults, ate lunch at a local hangout, and spent two days visiting local schools. Collectively, these experiences taught more about poverty, oppression, and the human spirit than any classroom lecture could ever accomplish.

GRU students’ visits to local schools are facilitated by the Amy Biehl Foundation, a nonprofit organization dedicated to building educational and community programs within impoverished townships. This foundation is named after a young American Fulbright Scholar working in Cape Town. Devoted to the dismantlement of Apartheid, Amy Biehl was tragically murdered in 1993 during a period of intense civil unrest.  GRU students learn the details of this young woman’s life, visit the place where she was killed, and, most extraordinary of all, meet several of the young men convicted of Amy’s death. Those men now play a key leadership role in the foundation and guide GRU students through the school visits. These personal encounters stir discussions of criminal justice, forgiveness, and reconciliation unlike any discussions encountered in a classroom.

A highlight of this trip is a daylong visit to Robben Island, two miles off the coast of Cape Town.  Designated a World Heritage Site in 1999, this is the place where key leaders of the anti-apartheid struggle were quieted. GRU students are somber and thoughtful when they stand in Nelson Mandela’s cell, contemplating his 20 years of imprisonment there. Students also visit the rock quarry where prisoners worked daily and listen to a guide who was a long-term political prisoner there. These experiences foster an understanding of state power, oppression, and prisoner resilience that cannot be achieved in a traditional classroom.

Alongside this busy daily schedule, free time is available so that the GRU students can develop their own activities. The hotel is within easy walking distance of key restaurants, parks, and museums. And most evenings are open except when everyone visits the African Café and Mama Africa, two must-visit places for fantastic South African food and music.

The Department of Sociology, Criminal Justice, and Social Work is very proud to sponsor this trip which directly supports a major Organizational Goal within GRU Strategic Priorities. Specifically, this yearly Cape Town trip provides a high-quality international educational experience that cannot be duplicated on our home campus. In addition, GRU students can earn up to 3 hours of academic credit.

The Study Abroad Office is now taking reservations for the April 2014 trip. Visit their website at gru.edu/studyabroad/ or contact the trip leaders, Drs. Allison Foley and Robert Ness, at 706-737-1735.

The Charms of Ireland come to GRU

The Charms of IrelandThe alluring melody of “Molly Malone” carries faintly through the halls of the Fine Arts Center. The 19th century song about a ghostly fishmonger is one of many songs to be featured at The Charms of Ireland on Friday, Oct. 25, from 6:30-8 p.m. in the Quadrangle on the Summerville Campus.

The Charms of Ireland will focus on the paranormal aspects of Irish tradition. Banshees, fairies, and leprechauns will dominate the night’s performances in the form of song and dance.

The event, a scholarship fundraiser for GRU students travelling to Ireland this summer, is child friendly and will feature a costume contest for children ages 10 and under.

Dr. Debra van Tuyll, Professor of Communications, and Carl Purdy, Professor of Music, came up with the idea to put on a supernatural-themed concert after discussing ideas for a book about Irish musical traditions. Van Tuyll, a historian and lover of all things Irish, said the rich paranormal and musical traditions of Ireland were an easy fit for a concert so close to Halloween.

“Ireland’s history is full of references to supernatural beings,” she said. “Some of the songs we’ll be performing date back to the 17th century, and many of them have dark undertones. “Molly Malone,” for example, is the tale of a fishmonger who died at a very young age from fever.”

To hear it played, it’s almost hard to believe the song could be about something so tragic. The beautiful rhythm and warm, folksong melody of “Molly Malone” gives one the feeling of attending a session at an Irish Pub, said van Tuyll.

Purdy said he’s excited to see the show come together.

“Everyone’s in the spirit for it,” he said. “Students, faculty members, community volunteers – there are so many talented folks coming together for this.”

Admission is $5 per person, free to GRU students with a valid ID. Admission for families with children is $15. Proceeds from The Charms of Ireland will go toward scholarships for GRU students participating in the study abroad Ireland program.

Study Abroad program offers opportunities for faculty and staff

Study abroad group photoBy Maria Darley, Director of Study Abroad

Many people tend to think because I am the Director of the Study Abroad program that I get to travel all of the time, but in reality, I get to plan all of these experiences for others. It is completely different than experiencing our programs firsthand. However, this past summer, I had the opportunity to join Dr. Jana Sandarg, Professor of Spanish, on our program to Salamanca, Spain.

Dr. Sandarg has been running this program for over 20 years, and it is well-recognized across the state.  This is one of our most popular programs, and it always recruits students from other universities. Dr. Sandarg does most of the program set-up with very little help from the Study Abroad Office, so I wanted to go, learn from her, and see, firsthand, why students rave about this program.

Spain is beautiful, the food is fabulous, and is a nice escape culturally from what we see every day in the U.S., ranging from the natural beauty to the tasty cuisine. The pace of life is different as well.

This program is one of our few programs where students experience mandatory home stays. One of my favorite experiences was watching the students meet their señora for the first time. I also felt the nervous excitement the students experienced on this day.

The trip to Spain included excursions to Madrid, Toledo, Segovia, Pamplona, and Barcelona. Seeing the students’ excitement while visiting the various locations took my personal travel experience to a different level. It was like experiencing the holidays through a child’s eyes. Going on a study abroad program with our students and faculty will be one of the highlights of my career.

Every year, I have faculty and staff ask if they can be part of one of our programs. There are various ways they can be involved. The most obvious is to lead a trip, but many people don’t have the strength to lead a program. Believe me, it takes special personalities to take students on a program. However, many faculty and staff would love to have the experience that I did this summer.

Every year, we offer programs that are open to faculty and staff participation. If interested, contact me at mdarley@gru.edu. Typically, it depends on the trip and how many spots can be accommodated, but faculty and staff can travel with our students as long as there is space. It may be time for you to consider joining one of our programs and learning from your colleagues.