Tag Archives: George Mason University

2019 Study Abroad Promo

I’m excited for the Winter 2019 study abroad program! The planning for this program is in full force and the program is completely re-vamped from the first two years. This video was made from pictures I took on the 2017 and 2018 programs.

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A step closer

11403446_10153500936899887_3506925557172214450_nI wanted to revisit my first post. I thought that I had actually started this blog for my first trip to South Africa in March 2013. But my first trip to South Africa was SO fast! I took time to write in a paper journal but not in an online blog.
It makes sense that this was my first posting about the internship and semester long program I was about to embark on. There were many ups and downs getting to the point where tickets were purchased.
Initially, my proposal was denied, but then I was able to meet with the head of NMMU’s international office and make an argument directly to him. But the “No” I received from SCSU’s study abroad office seemed final when they sent me the email. But…when have I EVER taken a no like that?! You’re just gonna tell me no when this is something that I know can be done and that I am the one to do it? lol! I don’t think so!
Now, the student is becoming the teacher (literally). And the pattern repeats itself. I didn’t want to start blogging about my experience starting a new study abroad program until it was actually going ahead. There were plenty of ups and downs creating the program, going through the proposal process, recruiting students to apply, hoping that I had enough students for the program to get the green light.
Finally, it happened! Green light! We are a go!
The first study abroad program that I created, from the syllabus to the itinerary, is going to South Africa in January where the students will study Social Movements in South Africa!
Rarely, does life come full-circle in such a short period of time. My first trip to South Africa was in March of 2013 and was only nine days. Now, just under four years later I am going to lead a study abroad program.

Star Thrower

Tickets have been booked! Today, I got an email notifying me that my reservations had been made for South Africa! I need to pick my seats on the plane and then I’m set. One step closer to leaving for the semester abroad. We are flying out of Minneapolis and connecting to our international flight at Dulles Airport in D.C. From there we fly into Joburg which is a 14 hour flight. I’m really excited because right now we are scheduled to spend a day in Joburg. Hopefully, all of our flights stay on schedule so we can keep the day of sight-seeing. I know previous groups have visited Soweto, Mandela‘s house, and other historical sites.

Before I left St. Cloud for winter break, I got a thick envelope from NMMU. It had my acceptance letter from the university, information about health insurance and other items…

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What will be your South African story? — Social Movements in South Africa

I woke up to a powerful and unsolicited endorsement this morning for why students should study in South Africa. Having lived and studied in South Africa for six years, unsolicited, I’d attest to ‘Social Movement in South Africa’ by Prof. Ferguson, to have the prospect of providing a priceless opportunity to any student or person […]

via What will be your South African story? — Social Movements in South Africa

On the first day of school every semester there are students and instructors who appear slightly lost as we all try to find our classrooms. The first few weeks are a bit disorienting, but soon a pattern develops and routine settles in. However, there are students who bravely challenge themselves to breakout of their campus routines and find learning experiences that defy routine. Study abroad turns the world into your classroom and short-term programs offer students a unique academic experience of a focused instructor-lead program where every aspect of the trip is geared towards achieving learning objectives.

Explore South Africa and discover yourself.


A little inspiration

One of my students shared a tip and I thought it was inspired!

This particular student takes advantage of university resources, like the writing center.  If you have an in-person appointment at our writing center the consultants will ask you to read your paper aloud and the consultant will make suggestions.  I’m familiar with this method because this was the same pedagogy employed by my writing center at SCSU.  Well, the student was working on their rough draft for a paper and wanted someone else to read it but didn’t have someone to just sit with him as he typed.  So, how to solve this problem? The student cut and pasted sections of his paper into Google Translate and let the program read his writing back to him!  I thought this was such a clever trick and is something that ELL and non-ELL students could implement.  Its simple, easy to use, and easy to replicate.

I love it when students share their brilliant ideas!


20 days and counting down

1June2014 and we leave in 20 days.

There is plenty of doing left in these 20 days. In addition to the school work we have to do there will be hugs, drinks, and maybe a few tears before we get back. And probably all of those things once we get home too! I’m also making time to reflect and plan. Reflect on my semester here in South Africa and plan for what’s next.

I’ve never had a year like this before. Its funny because even when we have things planned, we don’t always know how they’ll turn out but we take security in the plan. Sometimes security comes in the planning too. I say that I don’t know what I’m doing not because I don’t have a plan but because I’m full-on honest with myself that this time, I really don’t know how I’m going to “make it happen.”

To-do list:
work
see friends
catch-up with friends
file all the correct paperwork to graduate
finish packing
defend thesis
find a place to live in Fairfax
figure out how to pay for a move
clean old house
Move
Set-up new place
Go through orientation for school
Actually orient myself to the area
Plan syllabus for class
Get books and such for classes I’ll be taking
Unpack
Walk dogs
Empty cat box
Don’t panic

In January I didn’t know how things were going to come together for my time here at NMMU. I wasn’t sure where I was going to live, who I would be working with, or even the people I was traveling with. When I got on the plane I didn’t know what I would be doing next. Then I didn’t know what my plan was when upon returning to the States. Each of these unknowns have unfolded nicely. This is the first time that I have really embraced the fact that what I plan and what happens do not always match up. And I’m ok with it. Each moment has its own requirement and I just need to stay mindful and respectful.

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Now I have a plan

When I boarded the plane for South Africa on 27January, I didn’t really have firm details on anything past the plane ride over. I didn’t know where I was going to be staying. I didn’t have my internship exactly worked out and I for sure didn’t know what I was going to be doing once I got back to the states.

Things have come together piece by piece. When I finally arrived in Port Elizabeth I found out from the student who met me at the airport that I would be living with the rest of the SCSU students at the Summerstrand Hotel. Unlike the rest of the SCSU students, I had no concept of the living conditions here. When I first got here and the staff person was showing me around the hotel, I was still in a jet-lag induced daze. However, after my first night’s sleep I ran around the hotel snapping pictures because I could not believe how nice our accommodations were.

The internship on the other hand took a little while longer to figure. But like Shahzad told us by the time the Spring Break trip came a long the getting started bit would be in the rearview and he was right. Last week I started the second portion of my internship and I’m fast getting acquainted with the academic support services and teaching support services. Yesterday, the teaching support services (and ex-writing center) staff had a welcome tea for the new staff member and me. It was fun because the crew reminded me of other writing center people I’ve met in the Minnesota area. We sat in a circle and each person told about themselves. Afterward the director told me the staff had learned a lot about each other because when you’re at work, you’re focused on the task at hand. There were quite a few people who’d traveled back in the States, Europe, and all over the content of Africa. After hearing my new co-worker describe her time in Ethiopia, I really want to travel there now myself. Not only is it beautiful, the food is delicious but also the people there have a completely different mindset since they were never colonized. Each day I get deeper into the work the former writing center people are doing with teaching development.

Then yesterday morning the final big chunk fell into place when I received my acceptance email from George Mason University! I’m headed to PhD land!!! Of course I don’t know where I’m to live in DC or any of those pesky details yet but I’ve got until August to sort those bits out.

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