Global Experiential Learning Trips have traveled to learn in many locations around the world.
Diane Painter | email@example.com
GEL-Poland is a special topics course that addresses the social and cultural factors that influence or determine the ways people with disabilities are regarded within society. Students will explore political, economic reforms and sociocultural contexts that promote the global inclusion of persons with disabilities, but in particular, aspects of Polish society.
“GEL Poland was the best experience of my life,” said Amanda Kicker ’18, who is majoring in biology and studying secondary education.
“The trip’s focus was on learning about about how special education services are delivered in Poland now that the country has signed on to the U.N.’s Convention on the Rights for Persons with Disabilities (CRPD),” said Associate Professor of Curriculum and Instruction, Diane Painter, Ph.D. “We were invited to tour three schools around Wroclaw and share our ideas for inclusive educational practices with the schools’ staffs and our host, a special education professor at the University of Lower Silesia who arranged the tours.”
“Dr. Painter made sure that each of the attendees learned something about their specific field whether it be nursing or history related,” Kicker said. “I recently changed my major and this trip made me sure of my decision to study education. Not only did we travel to three different schools working towards inclusion, but we traveled to Krakow to Auschwitz and Birkenau concentration camps. The history in a book or in a movie is nothing compared to walking where those prisoners walked.”
Students (both graduate and undergraduate students participated) prepared for the trip in several ways, Painter said. They attended a dinner at her home where an attorney spoke about The Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities (CRPD), an international human rights treaty of the United Nations, and they studied a Painter-created iBook, “It Takes a Village,” which reviews the CRPD and a variety of issues related to disability awareness. The book is part of an iTunesU course she created that can be found in the Shenandoah University course domain. The course is called “‘Please Accept Me for Who I Am.”
The Happiest Place on Earth?
Scott King | firstname.lastname@example.org
Those who journeyed to Fiji used their trip to study happiness in a place often called the happiest on earth.
“Happiness is a growing field of study in psychology and one that Shenandoah hasn’t had in our psychology curriculum, so I built a course around the study of happiness, and if/why Fiji is indeed the happiest place on Earth,” said Associate Professor of Psychology Scott King, Ph.D.
Shenandoah students spent time with both students at Fiji National University and people living in small village on Kioa Island. “My most memorable part of the trip was the moment I learned why they were so happy,” said Lora-Maria Koytcheva ’19. “I spoke with various families, and people throughout Fiji, and they all equally expressed their love for their country. Studying their answers, I discovered that it is because these people are content with their lives and what they have. Being there really showed me that these people are happy with what they have, are surrounded by family, and are very close with their religion. They are not so much worried about competing with others. Especially in the villages, families wake up every day smiling and surrounded by love – you can really feel the happiness in the atmosphere wherever you are in Fiji! They go about their daily tasks, but they do it on Fiji time – so it will get done whenever it gets done! No rush, no deadlines to meet… no stress.”
A perspective on history, an understanding of special education in another nation, an intimate view of global health policymaking and an immersion in a renowned culture of happiness more than half a world away – not bad for a little more than a week of travel and some stateside preparation.
Graduate nursing & Health Professions
Lisa Darsch | email@example.com
Nursing, physician assistant and pharmacy students traveled to Geneva, Switzerland, in May to attend the World Health Organization’s (WHO) 69th World Health Assembly (WHA) to learn more about global health policy. Students wrote issues briefs in preparation for the trip, and then, when in Switzerland, saw how policy is discussed and developed in the global landscape.
“GEL Switzerland represented a course change for me in my life and career, and I found attending the World Health Assembly (WHA) 69 particularly humbling,” said physician assistant studies student Judith Pascarella ’17. “I learned a great deal about how global health leaders interact and the processes that govern change. I had so many meaningful experiences in this trip that allowed me to not only network with global health leaders, but also those individuals on the forefront who are making the changes discussed at the highest levels on the international stage.”
At the conclusion of the trip, the strongest take-away for me was that education, preventative health, secure systems, government support, and funding are the keys to success in global health initiatives,” Pascarella added. “It is essential to be proactive rather than reactive. As the message spreads, the hope is that public health will become a natural part of daily governance rather than an afterthought. It felt like a lot of progress was made this year, and it was an unforgettable honor to be invited to attend history in the making.”
Christmas in Mozart’s Backyard was a course designed especially for members of Cantus Singers. In addition to performing in historical spaces, students investigated the life and works of Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart through the lens of his early childhood years, the formative years, and researched how his religious beliefs influenced his compositional style. Students experienced the social and cultural aspects of Mozart’s life in Salzburg.
Gender & Women’s Studies
Women in African Liberation Struggles
Michelle Brown | firstname.lastname@example.org
Service and Spiritual Reflection through Music and the Arts
Hakeem Leonard | email@example.com