They’ve been preparing for months, and now the time has finally arrived. Shenandoah University’s 2014 Global Citizenship Project (GCP) participants are set to embark on their spring break adventures, slated for Thursday, March 6, through Sunday, March 16.
In its 10th anniversary year, more than 50 members of the Shenandoah University community will travel around the world as part of this unique program.
The first group, traveling to Costa Rica, will depart on their journey late in the evening on Thursday, March 6, and the remainder of the traveling groups will follow suit on Friday, March 7. This year’s theme, “InterAction,” explores the role of communication and connection experienced in the host countries of Albania, Bolivia, Costa Rica, South Korea and Morocco.
“This will be my second GCP trip in as many years, and I am leading this year’s trip to Albania,” said Assistant Professor of Sport Management Joey Gawrysiak, Ph.D. “It has been a different experience serving as faculty leader in charge of planning the trip and managing the finances.” Dr. Gawrysiak is co-leading the Albania trip with student and Albania native Estela Lajthia.
“I have also been in charge of the small group meetings we’ve held to build relationships as a group before we go,” added Gawrysiak. “We will get to know each other well on the trip, and we’ve worked on team-building exercises through games, activities and even lessons during these meetings. We have a great group and have built a strong bond already. I love everything about GCP and appreciate the opportunity it gives to the Shenandoah University community.”
“I applied for GCP because I wanted to be pushed outside of my comfort level,” said senior criminal justice major Krystie Ocasio, who will travel to Morocco. “I like to think of myself as a global citizen, but you never really know until you’re put to the test! I’m so excited to experience a different culture with my amazing group!”
“Along with my biology major, I am also working towards a minor in Spanish and have been studying the language since middle school,” said sophomore biology/pre-pharmacy student Zach Woodley. “As luck would have it, my GCP group is traveling to Bolivia, and I couldn’t be more excited! Traveling to an actual Spanish-speaking country is a fantastic opportunity, not only to learn more about the culture, but to practice my speaking skills in a ‘real’ Spanish environment. This trip will also be my first time out of the United States. While I am a little nervous, I can’t wait to be able to experience a completely new culture for the very first time.”
Michael Mendillo, a first-year grad student in the performing arts leadership and management program, is thrilled to travel to South Korea. “I’m looking forward to pushing myself out of my comfort zone and traveling so far from home,” said Mendillo.
“To travel to Asia is literally a dream come true for me,” he continued. “I applied for GCP because I know how travel can help you grow as a person, and I’m excited to see what new things my group members and the South Korean culture can teach me. The group dynamic during our meetings has made me feel ready to immerse myself fully in another culture. I already feel we are bonded, and I know our trip will only bring us closer to each other and our alma mater.”
Want to follow along with this year’s groups? Visit the GCP 2014 blog at http://learning-abroad.blogspot.com/, and keep tabs on Shenandoah University’s Global Citizenship Project social media channels on Facebook and Twitter.
Here’s the full list of the 58 members of the Shenandoah University’s campus community – undergraduate and graduate students, faculty and staff members, and one university trustee – who will travel as part of the 10th anniversary year of GCP:
• Albania, led by Assistant Professor of Sport Management Joey Gawrysiak, Ph.D., and student Estela Lajthia – Kathleen Eid-Heberle, Doug Zipp, Nicole Persun, Michael Bentley, Ruth Kupata, Jordan Healey, Heather Shannon, Joseph Scott, Alexander Slohm, Elizabeth Levey
• Bolivia, led by Dean of the Eleanor Wade Custer School of Nursing Kathryn Ganske, Ph.D., R.N. – Seth Chatfield, Holly Standard, Samuel Fasanmi, Jennie Ferraro, Denise Mitchell, Katherine LiPuma, Kaitlynne Dennis, Nate Huntley, Zach Woodley, Grace Eisenhauer
• Costa Rica, led by Assistant Professor of Physician Assistant Studies Natalie Nyren, M.S. – Rodney Bragdon, Kerri Nassano, Rachel Maki, Hannah Rinker, Brett Holmes, Ashlyn Wells, Jonathan Mills, Theodore Maher, Sarah Giunta, Ashley Landes
• South Korea, led by Associate Professor of Marketing Sally Kim, Ph.D. – Camilla Hollen, Valerie Jackson, Jessica Cianci, Michael Mendillo, Lauren Bogar, Jessie Forbes, Brook Bukowski, Kyle Dill, Adam Scott, Kelani Bailey, Academic Affairs Adrienne Bloss, Ph.D., Board of Trustees member Mary Shockey
• Morocco, led by Graduate Admissions Counselor Abdelhafid el Idrissi – Cheryl Yancey, Kyle Farrell, Jessica Reardon, Stephen Cummings, Joshua Harris, Anabelle Merrera, Joey Santangelo, Mark Koons, Krystie Ocasio, Maggie Todd