Jeff Lamson – General Assignment Reporter
To prepare students for the upcoming SCSU Research & Creativity Conference in April, study abroad options and internships, Southern’s English department teamed up with the Office of International Education for the first Experiential Learning Workshop.
This workshop was the first in a series of three to four this semester to get students thinking about opportunities for experiential learning. Dr. Charles Baraw teamed up members of his own department and Ina Marshall and Jazmin Sharif of the OIE to get students to start considering these upcoming opportunities.
“So, it’s really about doing learning that builds on the classroom and extends beyond the classroom,” Baraw said.
This event in part was to encourage students to present at 4th Annual Undergraduate Research & Creativity Conference on April 14. The abstract for such a presentation is due March 2 and should be between 200 and 250 words, Baraw said.
“The basic idea,” he said, “is helping students recognize that they’re doing things that are interesting and worth sharing with other people all the time.”
The presentation can cover anything that the student has done and can be presented in a variety of ways. One student at the workshop discussed how she had done a PowerPoint presentation on how Frankenstein has changed in pop culture over time.
Another student presented a paper on the controversy of teaching “Huckleberry Finn” and the use of the n-word in the classroom, Baraw said.
“And, we wanna create a culture in which as many people as possible imagine themselves doing that,” Baraw said.
Internships were touched on briefly at the workshop, but the other main focus was options for studying abroad. Marshall of the OIE went over the options and steps towards studying abroad. She provided the deadlines of March 15 and Oct. 15 for the spring and fall semesters, respectively.
The English common room then discussed the options and accessibility of study abroad options. Students mentioned interest in France, Italy and Europe in general. Southern staff asked their own questions about language barriers and cost. Marshall encouraged a willingness to learn the native language.
Most agreed that studying abroad was much more affordable than traveling after school and encouraged students to take advantage of the opportunity. The fears of traveling and leaving things behind like a job were also discussed.
“Whatever your reason you have in your head that says, ‘I’m not going to study abroad,’ rethink it,” said one faculty member.
Students shared their own experience abroad, specifically about Liverpool John Moore University and the city of Liverpool.
One student said that she had class only three days a week and used the rest to enjoy the city and travel. The classes, she said were laid back and she was able to pace her work well.
Of the city of Liverpool, she said that there was a good shopping district, restaurants, museums, architecture and culture in general. She had used Liverpool Lime Street Station as a hub, a way to travel to Scotland three times over the course of her semester abroad. While the train ride was about four hours, she said that it was easy and cost effective.
Three students from LJMU were also in attendance to participate in a meet and greet portion of the workshop.
Baraw says that this is all in an effort to start building a culture of participation and showing that their work was worth-while.
“I see all this promising, interesting activity that people are doing, but we don’t have the time to stop and say, ‘This is important,’” Baraw said, “‘let’s do something more important with it.’”
Photo Credit: Jeff Lamson