Studying education in Italy, business in Germany and service learning in Kenya—among other experiential learning adventures—Adelphi students and faculty are recommitting to global learning.
Study abroad programs at Adelphi and virtually every other university came to a halt during the COVID-19 pandemic. Now, Adelphi’s programs are back, with faculty-led learning trips to points across the globe from Africa and Asia to Europe and the Caribbean.
During this year’s spring break, 14 students from Adelphi’s Ruth S. Ammon College of Education and Health Sciences traveled above the Arctic Circle in Norway to study the interconnectedness between culture, schools and the environment in that country. This 3-credit study abroad course was developed from the ground up by Professor Robert Linné, PhD, and Clinical Associate Professor Mary Jean McCarthy, both of the School of Education, to explore the theories underlying place-based learning as enacted through the Scandinavian model.
Now that faculty-led study abroad programs have returned at Adelphi for the first time since the pandemic, students are once again embarking on journeys that offer immersive educational experiences.
“Faculty-led programs take advantage of the deep global knowledge that we have at Adelphi,” said Shannon Harrison, director of the Center for International Education at Adelphi. “You and I could go to Norway tomorrow, but if we go with the two faculty from the School of Education, we will have unique access to Norwegian schools and culture thanks to connections with UiT (The Arctic University of Norway) and local schools. Students gained a lot from that 10-day experience.”
This year, faculty rebooted custom-built study abroad programs not only in Norway but in Jamaica, Kenya, Germany and beyond.
“In today’s world, every industry—and every area of study—can be international,” Harrison said. “No matter what your career is, there will likely be a need for a global skill set. I think that is why study abroad is so important today.”
Study-abroad programs also help students experience other cultures and step out of their comfort zones.
“Prior to students’ departure, we talk a lot about cultural empathy,” Harrison said. “Just because something is different doesn’t mean it’s wrong or incorrect. In fact, you might discover something that you can implement in your own studies or career. There’s so much that can be learned.”
Service-Learning Trips to Kenya and Jamaica
This January, Anne Mungai, PhD, associate provost for strategic initiatives and graduate studies, revived the 12-day service-learning program trip to Kenya that she first offered in 2020. Dr. Mungai and Esther Kogan, EdD, associate professor in the School of Education, took 14 students to the town of Wangige to work with children at the Caroline School, an orphanage and K-8 school that Dr. Mungai founded.
Students from Adelphi’s education, nursing, school psychology, and communication sciences and disorders programs designed projects for a “Learning Camp” at the Caroline School, leading classes on health issues, art, movement, games and socio-emotional learning.
The trip, which also included travels around the country, provided a total immersion into Kenya’s culture and traditions. It also made a profound impression on the travelers. “My experience during our trip to Kenya changes my perspective on the world,” one student told Dr. Mungai. Another said, “My study abroad trip to Kenya was truly the best experience I have ever had.”
Also between sessions in January, speech-language pathology students traveled to Jamaica to provide services to residents of Mustard Seed Communities, a home for children with disabilities. Guided by Ianthe Dunn-Murad, ScD, adjunct faculty member, and Miriam Velsor, clinical supervisor of speech-language pathology, students gained real-world experience delivering assessments and intervention in this diverse cultural setting. One student reflected, “My greatest takeaway from this experience is how much we can learn from collaboration and how valuable human interaction is compared to a textbook.”
Studying Education in Italy
The College of Education and Health Sciences also hosted a 19-day program in Italy, led by Dean Xiao-lei Wang, PhD, and Emilia Zarco, MD, associate professor and chair in the School of Health Sciences. In addition to exploring Rome, Pompeii, Florence, Pisa and Venice, students learned to become better educators by visiting Italian schools and seeing how their educational models impact teaching in the United States.
“I was able to compare and contrast the American school system to the Italian educational system by getting hands-on experiences going into classrooms and working directly with Italian students,” said Nina Wakely, a senior majoring in English in Adelphi’s Scholar Teacher Education Program (STEP). “I know that I came home from it looking at the world around me differently and for the better.”
Cultural Learning in India
In January, eight members of Adelphi’s Levermore Global Scholars program traveled to India to visit schools, businesses and cultural sites, and attend lectures and dance performances. The 10-day tour was part of the inaugural Bhisé Global Learning Experience, a program funded by Bharat Bhisé, MBA ’78, founder and CEO of Bravia Capital. Bhisé accompanied the students on the trip, as did Katie Laatikainen, PhD, professor and acting chair of political science and director of the Levermore Global Scholars program, and Rakesh Gupta, associate professor of decision sciences and marketing.
Collaborating on Business Projects in Germany
And this spring, students from Adelphi’s Robert B. Willumstad School of Business jetted to Cologne, Germany, to meet with students from Hochschule Fresenius University of Applied Science. The trip was part of the Trans-Atlantic Virtual Exchange and Collaboration (TAVEC) program, bringing students together to work on business projects virtually and in person. TAVEC is a key program for the Willumstad School, one giving students lessons in international business, hands-on experience working on a global team, and an appreciation of different approaches to problem-solving. Students and faculty from Hochschule Fresenius visited Adelphi at the end of March.
With global programs underway again, Harrison looks forward to expanding these offerings and making them even more accessible for Adelphi students. “What’s going to differentiate you when you’re in that job interview after graduation?” Harrison asked. “Is it your 4.0 GPA, your connections, an internship? I think it could be your global skills and learning experiences.”