Watson Chronicle


Student Opportunities and Student News

Students Participate in International Field Experiences

Thursday, September 03, 2015

Dr. Carol McNulty in Malawi

Over the summer, Watson College faculty led international field experiences to a number of countries, including Belize, Costa Rica, Japan and Malawi. Participating students experienced classrooms and service learning projects and looked at education through the eyes of a different culture.

Malawi – NEW for Summer 2015

Ann Potts, associate dean of the Watson College, has traveled to Malawi, Africa several times through partnerships with other universities. “Malawi is a forever place to visit. Once you’ve found somewhere like this, you want to go back every year,” she said.

The Watson College offered UNCW’s first faculty-led field experience to Malawi in summer 2015. Four undergraduate students joined Potts, associate dean Carol McNulty and faculty members Jerry Zinner and Liz Barber on a three-week trip that focused on leadership, service, teaching and learning.

Prior to the trip, the group found innovative ways to raise needed funds for books, furniture and food for children in Malawi. While in Africa, they visited schools and provided professional development for elementary and middle grades teachers.

Belize – Summer 2015

In July, three WCE undergraduate and four graduate students traveled to Belize with Susan Catapano, professor and director of WCE’s international programs, to lend support to Camp Starfish, a summer camp started by parents of children with special needs. They partnered with Catapano’s faculty colleague from the University of Missouri-St. Louis (UMSL), six students enrolled in teacher-preparation programs at UMSL, parents and local high school volunteers to provide camp activities for children in San Pedro. The group also provided a reading camp each afternoon at the San Pedro Public Library.

Candace Thompson, WCE associate professor, Dennis Kubasko, WCE associate professor and CESTEM director, and students enrolled in the doctoral program at the Watson College joined the group during the first week of August to provide professional development workshops for K-12 teachers in Belize.

San Pedro, Belize became a sister city of Wilmington in 2007. Catapano and Kubasko have developed a strong partnership and collaboration with educators there that now includes international opportunities for students in Belize and the U.S. through partnerships with Isla Bonita School, the Belize Ministry of Education, San Pedro High School, San Pedro Junior High, Galen University and the University of Belize.

Costa Rica – Summer 2015

Associate professor Debbie Powell led a field experience to Costa Rica as part of the “Walk in the Shoes of Your English Language Learner” program, designed to help students gain a better understanding of diverse cultures and empathy for all English language learners.

Each participant lived with two different Spanish-speaking families during the three-week trip, experiencing both rural and city life. They visited or taught in four schools, worked on service-learning projects, and took 60 hours of Spanish to immerse themselves in the culture and to experience similar frustrations their future students will experience.

Japan – Summer 2015

The Watson College of Education is part of a six-university consortium dedicated to helping pre-service and in-service teachers in the United States and Japan understand a different culture, reflect about teaching and learning, establish collaborative relationships and develop ways to help our children prepare to live in a global society.  The consortium, which promotes teacher exchanges and shared research, was started in 1999 with a grant from the U.S.-Japan Foundation.

Each June, associate professor Brad Walker travels with students to Japan for a summer study abroad experience. Over the course of two weeks they tour the country, learn about the Japanese culture, visit schools to observe teaching and learn through interactions with Japanese educators and their students.

Associate professor Tracy Hargrove teamed with Walker to lead the Japanese field experience in June 2015.

2015-16 International Opportunities for Students

A new UNCW field experience to Ethiopia is planned for December 2015. Trips to Belize, Costa Rica, Japan and Malawi are planned for spring and summer 2016. Information sessions on these international opportunities will be held throughout the fall. For details, look for flyers posted in the Education Building or visit www.uncw.edu/ed/international.