Tag Archive | "Study Abroad"

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Cross-curricular group of Tusculum College students immerses in culture and natural diversity of Belize

Posted on 15 May 2011 by tcrabtree@tusculum.edu

Six students from Tusculum College recently explored the culture, natural diversity and educational system of Belize.

Four biology students and two education students traveled to the region around San Ignacio in Belize during March to immerse themselves in the diverse culture and natural environment of the Central American nation.

“Sometimes you go with a plan, but it doesn’t go that way and sometimes it is way better than you planned,” said Rebecca Hunley, one of the education students. “This trip was like that.”

Hunley, who is in the master’s degree program at Tusculum, worked at the Bullet Tree Primary School with teachers and administrators. “The school was in the middle of nowhere,” she recalled during a presentation about the trip. “There were no lights in the classroom.”

Students were packed into the classrooms and there was a lack of basic resources, she said, but the school had been able to create a small computer lab.

It was in the computer lab one day that she had an unexpected reminder of home. Going into the lab, she was surprised to see the teacher there instructing the students about low and high tides using her district’s website.

Hunley is a biology teacher in the Jefferson City School System. “Our district’s website is known nationally, but I did not know it was known internationally.”

During her presentation, Hunley noted that the educational system is very different in Belize than in the United States. Students must pay some fees to attend primary school for supplies, she explained. However, to attend school past the primary level, students must pay tuition of $1,500 a year, which many families cannot afford.

If a child cannot continue their education, they enter the workforce, she said.

As a biology teacher, Hunley said she received an additional benefit as she accompanied the biology students on some of their activities.

The four biology students, accompanied by Dr. Greg Church, associate professor of biology, explored a variety of habitats while in Belize.

The group also visited a Mayan temple ruin. “We were driving in the city,” said Morgan Baese, of Chattanooga, said, “and all of the sudden we turned onto a road that looked like we were entering a forest and it was right there.”

The students visited the Iguana Conservation Project, in which they were able to learn more about the species, handle some of the lizards and closely view some of the exotic bird species that live in Belize.

How close they were able to get to the animals was also surprising during the students visit to the Belize Zoo, said Ben Hale of Morristown. The animals were used to people and would come up to the fence of their enclosures, he said, adding that the students got to go into some of the bird habitats.

Visiting the Belize Botanical Gardens, the students explored the lush vegetation that grows in the country and also tried many of the different type of fruits that grow there.

The students spent two days caving, which included exploring the beautiful rock formations inside St. Herman’s Cave, which is part of the Blue Hole National Park, and learned about ecology of life along the river during a long kayaking trip.

In the evenings, the students immersed themselves in the culture of Belize. They attended a local fair, tried local cuisine and saw a performance of Garifuna drummers.

Tusculum’s Center for Global Studies is planning international study trips for the next academic year, which includes a possible trip by a service-learning class to Belize.

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Maltese Ambassador visits Tusculum, meets with students

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Maltese Ambassador visits Tusculum, meets with students

Posted on 27 April 2011 by eestes@tusculum.edu

Malta’s Ambassador to the United States visited the Tusculum College campus at the end of March.

Alumni, friends and special guests of the College were greeted at the entrance to the Thomas J. Garland Library by, from left, Dr. Ken Bowman ’70, chair of the Tusculum Board of Trustees; his wife, Jo Ellen; Dr. Bruce Shine ’60, a former member of the board of trustees; his wife, Betsy; Maltese Ambassador to the U.S., Mark Miceli; Dr. Nancy B. Moody, president of Tusculum, and her husband, Tom Moody.

Ambassador Mark Miceli was the guest of honor at a reception on Sunday, March 27, for the international photography exhibit, “Malta’s Magnificent Megalithic Monuments,” which was displayed in the Thomas J. Garland Library lobby during the month of March. The photographic exhibit featured a photographic study of the Mediterranean island nation”s prehistoric temples and artifacts, the work of artist Daniel Cilia.

Ambassador Miceli also spent time sharing about Malta’s history and its role in the European Union with students on Monday, March 28.

The college is appreciative of the assistance of or Dr. and Mrs. D. Bruce Shine of Kingsport for coordinating the loan of this exhibit to Tusculum. Dr. Shine is a 1960 graduate of Tusculum College and a 15-year member of its Board of Trustees and former Chairman of the Board.

Ambassador Miceli gave a presentation to students about Malta's history and its place in the European Union.

Dr. Shine and his wife, Betsy, have developed close ties with the country of Malta through Shine’s years teaching at the International Maritime Law Institute and coordinated not only the loan of the exhibit, but also the ambassador’s visit.

The exhibit and visit also garnered Tusculum some publicity in Malta. An article about the exhibit was posted on Malta’s U.S. Embassy website . The exhibit is now on display in California.

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Tusculum College students explore significant Renaissance and Reformation sites in Italy and Germany

Posted on 26 April 2011 by eestes@tusculum.edu

Dr. Joel Van Amberg, assistant professor of history, shares information about this square in Florence with a group of Tusculum students which visited significant sites in Italy and Germany during a European tour.

The Reformation and the Renaissance became more than concepts in a textbook for a group of Tusculum College students who discovered the art and architecture of the periods in a recent trip to Italy and Germany.

The group of Tusculum students were primarily students in a “Cultural and Literary Heritage of the West” course that includes study of the Reformation and Renaissance. The students shared their experiences on the March trip during a presentation April 18.

“It is amazing for the students to see in person what they would later be seeing in the textbook,” said Dr. Nancy Thomas, associate professor of English, one of the professors that accompanied the students and teaches the Humanities course.

As an instructor, the trip also had benefits, Thomas said. The Reformation and Martin Luther are two of the significant topics covered in the Humanities course, she noted. “Going to Germany, seeing the places he had been and going to his museum fleshed him out. He is real to me now.”

Dr. Joel Van Amberg, assistant professor of history who also accompanied the students, encouraged those at the presentation to travel abroad. “You will learn things you didn’t anticipate and be stretched in ways that you did not expect,” he said. “The unexpected is the most exciting thing of foreign travel, the broad range of experiences you get when you go abroad.”

The trip began in Rome, where the students visited such sites as the Sistine Chapel, St. Peter’s Basilica, the Pantheon and the Circus Maximus. “The most amazing part of Rome is the architecture,” said Marcus Taylor, an English major from Kodak, Tenn. “You can’t imagine what it is like until you are actually there.”

At the museum at the Vatican, the students were able to see masterpieces of the art in various forms. “One of the things that amazed me was the tapestries, the sheer magnitude of them,” said Ben Sneyd, an English major from Unicoi, Tenn. “You can look at them in a book, but you will never understand about the size or magnitude and never really see the detail and understand the work that must have gone into them until you see them.”

The students’ next destination was Florence, where they continued to explore the art and architecture of the Renaissance. One of the sites they noted was the Florence Baptistry where the saw Ghiberti’s Gates of Paradise, two solid bronze doors containing panels with intricately designed illustrations of events from the Old Testament.

Traveling on an overnight train, the students headed to Germany and Wittenberg, which was very different than what they had experienced in Italy. “Rome and Florence were big cities and then we get off the train in Germany at a stop with just some gravel and a bench,” said William Hogg, a political science major from Pikeville, Ky. “Wittenberg was a very quaint town.”

The students noted that Germany was cleaner than the Italian cites and the people were more friendly.

In visiting the various sites related to Martin Luther, Isiah Lyman said they were able to see how he grew as a person through the various stages of his life.

Tusculum student Isiah Lyman prepares to take notes about the display of armor in one of the rooms of Coburg castle in Germany.

While in Germany, the students also visited Coburg where they able to visit a castle. “It was amazing to see a castle up close and see the way it looked,” said Lyman, a history major from Boiling Springs, S.C.

One of the rooms in the castle had a display of weapons with a wide variety of swords and the cannons and ammunition used to defend the castle walls, said Codie Fleming, a political science major from Washington, Ga.

Dr. Thomas, Dr. Van Amberg and the students expressed their appreciation for those who had made the trip possible at the college and the travel professionals who found them clean and comfortable youth hostels to stay in along the journey.

International trips are in the planning stages for the next academic year, said Dr. Geir Bergvin, director of Tusculum’s Center for Global Studies. Planned are trips to Ecuador and Spain, a fall trip to London and service-learning trip to Belize.

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Salzburg trip proves to be life-changing experience for three Tusculum students

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Salzburg trip proves to be life-changing experience for three Tusculum students

Posted on 13 April 2011 by tcrabtree@tusculum.edu

Tusculum students, from left, Altoine Wilson, Sam Underwood and Mitchell Taylor attended the Salzburg Global Seminar in January. The trio stopped for a photo at the event’s closing banquet.

Experiencing a different culture, interacting with other college students from a variety of backgrounds and discussing global issues helped make traveling to Salzburg, Austria, a life-changing trip for three Tusculum College students.

Mitchell Taylor, Sam Underwood and Altoine Wilson attended the Salzburg Global Seminar as representatives of Tusculum in January. All three students, who were selected for the seminar based on nominations from faculty, are sophomores. Taylor, from Kodak, Tenn., and Sam Underwood, from Muncie, Ind., are business majors. Wilson, who is from Covington, Ga., is a film and broadcasting major. The session that the Tusculum students attended was the “Mellon Fellow Community Initiative Student Seminar on Global Citizenship: America and the World.”

In a presentation about their trip on Monday, March 28, Underwood encouraged her fellow students to travel internationally if they get the opportunity. “After this trip, we were truly changed people,” she said. “It changes your mindset.”

While the seminar is designed to introduce a variety of viewpoints to its participants and broaden their perspectives, Underwood noted international travel for pleasure can also have a changing affect in immersing individuals into different cultures.

Altoine Wilson stands in one of three memorial chapels at the Dachau Concentration Camp Memorial.

Wilson said the three “didn’t really know what to expect. I thought it would be a chance of a lifetime and it was.” It was the first time for travel outside of the country for Wilson and Underwood. Taylor had taken an earlier trip to South America.

The trip was focused on learning, Wilson said, and the participants addressed many controversial subjects, as well as how Americans view the rest of the world and how the rest of the world views the United States. The students described one activity in which they acted out Plato’s allegory of a cave to illustrate how people sometimes live in a bubble and how painful it can be to be forced out of that comfort zone to look at what is happening in the world.

Taylor said that one of the most important opportunities of the trip was getting to know and make friends with the other seminar participants who came from a variety of backgrounds. Participants came from a number of Appalachian region colleges as well as universities across the nation.

“I was impressed by others’ passion for various issues and their desire to make a difference in the world,” he said.

The Salzburg Global Seminars feature faculty from academia, civil service and the professions, many of whom also attended the Salzburg seminars as students. Above, Sam Underwood stands with Jochen Fried, the director of education for the Salzburg Global Seminar.

The Salzburg Global Seminars are held at the Schloss Leopoldskron, a regal, 18th century castle surrounded by immaculate grounds with breathtaking views of the adjoining lake and the Alps.

“Our living conditions were really nice,” Taylor said. “The whole place was very beautiful.” The students’ living quarters were at the Meierhof, about 200 yards from Schloss Leopoldskron. There, students had access to a computer library, where they could stay in touch with their families, and a lounge area where seminar participants could relax at the end of the day.

The students took many photos of the palace’s ornate architectural features and the gardens and sculptures surrounding the palace. After the seminar sessions, students would gather for continuing discussion of issues raised in various rooms in the palace, Taylor said.

The Austrian cuisine served at the Schloss Leopoldskron reflected the surroundings. “There was amazing food at the Schloss,” Underwood said. “We were fed like royalty.”

The Salzburg Global Seminars are held at the Schloss Leopoldskron Palace. Tusculum student Mitchell Taylor, above, stands at one of the most well-known spots on the palace grounds. The gate and snow-covered lake in the background are features in scenes from the film version of “The Sound of Music.”

Austrian food was similar to German cuisine, she continued, and all their meals featured quality meats and fresh vegetables. “All of the food seemed healthier and tasted better.”

Although most of the students’ time was spent at the seminar, the participants took a day trip to the Dachau Concentration Camp in southern Germany, touring what remains of the camp and visiting the museum and memorial at the site. “I can’t describe in words what it felt like,” Underwood said.

Seminar participants also had a couple days to explore Salzburg. In the older part of the town, “there was a ton of beautiful Gothic architecture,” Taylor said. “We also saw lots of street performers, but they weren’t like the guitarists you see on streets here. They were playing the harp and violin.”

Tusculum is currently planning international trips for the upcoming 2011-12 academic year. The current academic year has been the best for the college for international study as more students have participated in short-term study abroad trips than ever before, said Dr. Geir Bergvin, director of the Tusculum’s Center for Global Studies. Students have recently returned from trips to Central America and Europe.

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‘Malta’s Magnificent Megalithic Monuments’ on display at Tusculum College

Posted on 23 March 2011 by eestes@tusculum.edu

malta1An international photography exhibit, “Malta’s Magnificent Megalithic Monuments,” opens at Tusculum College on Tuesday, March 1, and will remain on display through April 12.

The exhibit, which features the photography of Daniel Cilia, includes 31 stunning photographs that highlight breathtaking shots of Malta’s megalithic monuments dating back to 3600 BCE. In addition, photographs feature ancient pottery, prehistoric artifacts and scenic shots, all taken in the country of Malta, an island nation located in the Mediterranean.

The exhibit is on loan to Tusculum College through the month of March and is on display in the Thomas J. Garland Library lobby.

“We are extremely grateful to the assistance of or Dr. and Mrs. D. Bruce Shine of Kingsport for coordinating the loan of this exhibit to Tusculum College,” said Dr. Nancy B. Moody, president of the college.

Shine is a 1960 graduate of Tusculum College and a 15-year member of its Board of Trustees. He served 11 years as board chair. Shine, who received the honorary degree of Doctor of Laws from the institution in 1984, and his wife, Betsy, have developed close ties with the country of Malta through Shine’s years teaching at the International Maritime Law Institute and coordinated not only the loan of the exhibit, but also a visit by Malta’s Ambassador to the United States Mark Miceli to the college near the end of the exhibition. Shine serves as Honorary Consul of Malta for Tennessee and North Carolina.

malta2A reception to honor Malta’s Ambassador Miceli will be held on Sunday, March 27, from 3-5 p.m. in the lobby of the Thomas J. Garland Library. Ambassador Miceli will also spend time on Monday, March 28, visiting with students at Tusculum College to discuss the exhibit, as well as Malta’s emerging role in the European Union.

“We have been anxiously awaiting the arrival of the photographic exhibit of ‘Malta’s Magnificent Megalithic Monuments’ particularly given Malta’s recent international exposure as a refuge for citizens fleeing the crisis in Libya,” said Shine. “We are hopeful that this exhibit will serve as the first of many endeavors that will be mutually beneficial to Tusculum College and the University of Malta.”

The artist whose work is being shown, Daniel Cilia, had his first solo exhibition at the National Museum of Fine Arts in Malta. He has also received the Licentiate of the Royal Photographic Society of Great Britain. His photos have been published in more than two dozen texts and he is especially well-known for his photographic studies of Malta, including its prehistoric temples and artifacts.

The exhibit had been shown in Newfoundland, Canada prior to coming to Tusculum. The next exhibit site will be in California.

For more information about the exhibit, please contact Barb Sell at 423-636-7303.

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