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b2ap3_thumbnail_resized.jpgThe first week here in Ireland, I and all of the other international students had lots of things to do. We had meetings to go to, classes to schedule, activities planned for us and shopping to complete. Meanwhile, we were all getting settled into our new home and conquering jet lag. 

However, after all of that, we were rewarded with the real reason we all really came to Ireland- a little bit of traveling.  Everywhere we've been has been incredible. There are artifacts in museums from B.C. that are really well preserved because of the boggy landscape of Ireland! There are artifacts from the 1600s and before, and it boggles my brain that the ones from the 1800s aren't as big of a deal here, when that would be the pinnacle of most American museums. 

Derry/Londonderry has a wall running through it that dates back to the sixteenth century! We visited a castle- a castle! And we were allowed to walk around and through it, to touch it and to take pictures. It was absolutely gorgeous and thrilled me through and through.  The history here is so well preserved and tangible and it's really easily accessible to the public, all of which has my little history-major-heart dancing. 

However, as stupendous as the history is, it manages to pale in comparison to the land itself.  One of our most amazing trips was to the Causeway; it's a place that is so strange, unique and beautiful, unlike anything I have ever seen before. The cliffs of the Irish coastline, too, are absolutely breathtaking; they are something that you could just stare at forever and never tire of their allure. 

The inland is full of rolling hills and mountains, and the colors on a sunny day- or, you know, sunny 20 minute spurts- don't really seem real. They seem like something that someone photo shopped to make more vibrant. This country sometimes seems unreal; it takes my breath away.

 That's the point, I guess.  The manmade things are wonderful, and I really can't get enough of the towns and their histories. But the things that aren't man made, the things that God etched onto the world for our pleasure, are infinitely more magnificent. These things that He made are an incredible reminder of how man can do amazing things, but even then God is so much more powerful and awe-inspiring. It's slightly terrifying, actually, but at the same time an amazing comfort. 

 

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On Tuesday, Oct. 22, Waynesburg University held its International Culture and Diversity Day to celebrate and discover new cultures. The event, coordinated by Dr. Sut Sakchutchawan, associate professor of business administration and director of international studies at Waynesburg University, featured nine student presentations about culture and diversity around the world.

Sakchutchawan, who referenced the book of Matthew verse 28:18-20, said that the special day would provide insight and inspiration for many more Waynesburg University students to take advantage of rapid globalization, which makes travel more accessible. 

“It is important to understand and engage others both locally and internationally,” Sakchutchawan said.

Students presented to a large Goodwin Performing Arts Center audience about their individual experiences studying, sight-seeing or serving abroad. They spoke for five minutes each about various countries including Cambodia, Italy, Taiwan, Tanzania, Northern Ireland, New Zealand, Korea and the United Kingdom.

After all students presented, a panel of five judges, comprised of Waynesburg University faculty from multiple academic departments, awarded three prizes to the best ranked presenters. Dr. Jacquelyn Core, Vice President for Academic Affairs and Provost of Waynesburg University, congratulated first place winner David Nicholl, a freshman from Northern Ireland studying at Waynesburg University for the fall semester, who presented about his native country.

Core awarded second place to Elizabeth Hollis, a senior middle level education major from Pittsburgh, Pa. (Baldwin High School), who spoke about her Council for Christian Colleges & Universities (CCCU) study abroad experience in New Zealand last semester. Stella Park and Byul Han, co-presenters about their native Korea and study exchange students, earned third place at International Culture and Diversity Day.

In her closing remarks, Core urged the audience to take inspiration from the presenters.

“If you get an opportunity to live in these places, talk to these people and immerse yourself in their cultures, take that opportunity,” Core said. “Take an adventure; not just to learn about these diverse cultures but to actually go experience them.”

Waynesburg University Trustee John D. Woodward, Jr., who has spent time traveling and doing business abroad, also spoke about globalization.

“The world is growing smaller and smaller because of the rapid movement of people, things and ideas across space,” Woodward said. “Globalization is a good thing because it allows us to leverage all the talents around the world.”

In closing, he commended the student presenters and told students in the audience that globalization will only increase during their lifetimes and to take advantage of the study abroad and exchange opportunities at Waynesburg University.

Other student presenters included:

  • Jacklyn Collius, a senior history major from Penndel, Pa. (Neshaminy High School)
  • Amelia Graves, a freshman international business major from West Falls, N.Y. (Orchard Park High School)
  • Victoria Keslar, a junior human services (biblical studies) major from Lower Burrell, Pa. (Kiski Area High School)
  • Colin Nelson, a junior international culture major from State College, Pa. (State College Area High School)
  • Ryan Smith, a junior international culture major from Bridgeport, Ohio (Bridgeport High School)
  • Stacy Weaver, a senior English (creative writing) major from Stevens, Pa. (Cocalico Senior High School)

# # #

Contact: Ashley Wise, Communication Specialist
724.852.7675 or awise@waynesburg.edu

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Study Abroad Emily   Oxford (2)

Danielle Tustin, a senior criminal justice administration major from Burgettstown, Pa., spent the fall 2011 semester in Seville, Spain, where she studied Spanish at Accento de Trinity, immersed herself in Spanish culture and discovered she loved Flamenco dancing.

Meanwhile, more than 11,000 miles away, Jacob Waltemeyer, a 2012 psychology alumnus from Riverside, Calif., discovered beauty in the Australian countryside and participated in a cultural studies program while living alongside Australian students.

Both Waynesburg University students embraced the opportunity to venture away from the University's main campus to learn and grow in faith and returned to Waynesburg with newfound revelations and worldly perspectives.

Likewise, Emily Schubert, a senior psychology major from Medina, Ohio, gained a new appreciation for both England and the United States while studying abroad during the fall 2011 semester through the Council for Christian Colleges and Universities' (CCCU) Scholars' Semester in Oxford Program.

The Scholars' Semester in Oxford Program is one of several CCCU Best Semester Programs available to Waynesburg University students. With 11 semester programs and one summer program, Best Semester provides students with ample opportunities to refine their worldview through classes and cultural interaction.

“I gained a new level of confidence from studying abroad,” Schubert said as she reflected on the challenges of adjusting to life on a new continent. “It's amazing how traveling to a foreign country, living there for a few months and successfully completing Oxford courses will do that.”

Schubert and the friends she made in England had regular Bible Study sessions and discussions about faith, which she considered a phenomenal growing and learning experience.

“My semester abroad was definitely a time of learning a lot,” she said.

She eventually came to know the lay of the land quite well, daily traversing the streets of Oxford on the bike she rented.

“By the end of my trip, tourists were coming to me for directions!” Schubert said.

The University's remarkable selection of endorsed programs and partnerships span the globe. The programs offer a wide selection from which students can choose an opportunity that best fits their own academic, professional and personal goals.

Anthony Cooper, a senior, sociology (pre-law) major from Lewisburg, Pa., who spent the spring 2012 semester in England with the Scholars' Semester in Oxford Program, explored Dublin and Rome when he wasn't attending classes, seminars and writing research papers.

“My experience abroad helped me grow in so many different aspects of my life,” said Cooper.

“It taught me much as well as exposed cultures I was unfamiliar with, and eventually instilled in me a deeper desire to learn and travel, and to experience as much of the world as possible.”

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For Hannah Szymanik, a recipient of the Vira I. Heinz Scholarship for the 2011-12 academic year, studying abroad meant the realization of a life-long dream.

“I've always wanted to teach in Africa,” said the junior early childhood/special education major from Mount Holly Springs, Pa. “And over the summer, I did just that. I taught math and English in a classroom of 41 students in Cape Coast, Ghana.”

Each year, up to five Waynesburg University ladies are offered an experience to study abroad through a $5,000 scholarship.

Angele Hagy, another recipient of the Vira I. Heinz Scholarship for the 2011-12 academic year, said the scholarship impacted her life in ways unimaginable, ways she is still discovering even after the experience, she said. The junior early childhood/special education major from Pittsburgh also traveled to Cape Coast, Ghana, in summer 2012.

“Not only did my scholarship and study abroad experience give me the opportunity to learn more about other cultures, but it has broadened my global perspective, making me much more aware of global issues. It has given me the opportunity to reflect on how blessed my life here is in the United States,” said Hagy, who worked with Hoops Care International (HCI) to empower youth in the community through sports.

Students return to Waynesburg with refined worldviews, expanded cultural experiences and, according to Karen Moyer, a senior sociology (pre-law) major from Conneaut Lake, Pa., who studied abroad with Best Semester's Scholars' Semester in Oxford Program in the spring, “the key to understanding.”

“Before I left to study abroad, I fantasized about returning as a more intelligent individual with all the answers,” Moyer said. “Now that my experience is complete, I have realized I gained something more valuable than that – questions. The right questions are the key to understanding.”


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