NSC Students return from 2nd annual Study Abroad in Ireland program

On June 22, 2014, ten NSC students returned from Dublin, Ireland after participating in the second annual Study Abroad in Ireland program.

The Study Abroad in Ireland program is a partnership between Nevada State College and The Marino Institute of Education at Trinity College in Dublin, Ireland. During the program, students from NSC take a course in language acquisition and learning, taught by guest-lecturers from all over Ireland, experienced faculty from the Marino Institute of Education and faculty from NSC. The program is an intensive two-week session that combines classroom work, including lectures and discussions, with trips to local sites of historic and cultural importance, such as Knowth and the Book of Kells at Trinity College.

As part of the program, students are required to visit a school in Dublin and teach a lesson to students. According to Dr. Kevin Graziano, NSC Professor of Education, this hands-on clinical experience builds confidence in students and exposes them to multicultural environments. On the weekends, students are free to travel around Europe or within Ireland. Dr. Graziano believes this exploration adds to the overall educational experience, as students interact with locals and learn to adapt to a new culture and appreciate cultural differences.

Assistant Professor of Education Dr. Joshua Schulze was the faculty advisor for this year's program. Studying abroad is an essential part of an undergraduate education program, he said. But [it] holds particular importance for the students at NSC because they often have not been given the opportunity to travel extensively.

The Study Abroad program began in 2012 after Dr. Graziano visited Ireland. I completed a fellowship at the Marino Institute of Education in June 2012 where I provided professional development to education faculty from five Catholic universities, he explained. Those universities include: The Church of Ireland College of Education, Mary Immaculate College, St. Patrick's College, Froebel College of Education, and the Marino Institute of Education (The University Dublin, Trinity College). Dr. Graziano says that in addition to his fellowship duties, his goal was to initiate a partnership with the Marino Institute of Education and bring NSC students back to Dublin every summer to experience the joys of living and studying overseas.

I am a product of international mobility, Dr. Graziano stated. He taught English as a Second Language at Charles University in Prague, Czech Republic, completed two participatory action research studies in South Africa and was awarded a second fellowship to the University of the Sunshine Coast in Queensland, Australia, where he worked with teachers from Indigenous schools in Australia and Papua, Indonesia. In 2012, Dr. Graziano received a Fulbright Specialist grant to Sakhnin College in Sakhnin, Israel where he taught a predominantly Muslim group of faculty and students. Studying abroad has the potential to change one's life, he expressed. You return with a different perspective on life, culture, and the world.

English major Victoria Weeks was one of the students who participated in the 2014 Study Abroad program. It was amazing! Dublin is a lovely town, she exclaimed. It's important to be exposed to other cultures and other ways of doing things.

NSC faculty members believe the partnership between NSC and the Marino Institute of Education in Ireland is an extremely worthwhile and beneficial collaboration, providing NSC students with unique and rewarding opportunities. Programs like the NSC Study Abroad in Ireland program help students expand and enrich their world view, Dr. Graziano said. It is really important that students see that people have different perspectives on world events and hold different opinions on America's role in the world.

It is very eye-opening, Weeks agreed. Dublin had great diversity among ethnicities. It was really nice to be able to have that interaction with different cultures you can't help but grow from that. And I think that is invaluable.

Having one's world view and ideology challenged or integrated is an essential part of education, Dr. Graziano added. Such a broadening of world view is even more important for future teachers of English language learners (ELLs), who make up the primary audience of the class. Understanding that not all people think the same way helps future educators enrich their own future teaching and approach to engagement with culturally and linguistically diverse students. The 2014 Study Abroad in Ireland program was comprised of five elementary education majors, two speech pathology majors, one English major and two nursing majors.

Dr. Graziano hopes students gain a greater appreciation for language, diversity, cultural differences, and multiculturalism from the Study Abroad in Ireland program he's created. Dr. Schulze echoes Dr. Graziano's sentiments, expressing his aspirations for the program and its participants. I hope that NSC students gain a deepened appreciation for the differences we all have as people, Dr. Schulze conveyed. It is appreciating those differences, not necessarily embracing or understanding them, but appreciating them, that potentially plays a small part in our contribution to a more peaceful world."

The Study Abroad in Ireland program will be offered every summer. Interested students are encouraged to apply as soon as information is made available, by the end of September 2014. For more information, students may contact Dr. Joshua Schulze at Joshua.Schulze@nsc.edu

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