Watson Chronicle


Student Opportunities and Student News

WCE Students Travel to Belize, Japan, London and Malawi

Sunday, September 04, 2016

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

Belize – Summer 2016

Seventeen students enrolled in undergraduate and graduate programs at the Watson College traveled to Belize with faculty members Susan Catapano and Candace Thompson in July. The students’ volunteer work at two summer camps was showcased in a story in The San Pedro Sun on July 29:


Brian Brinkley, director of WCE’s Ed Lab, joined the group during the first week of August to tour schools and libraries.

The students were in Belize when Hurricane Earl struck on August 4, but quickly sent word that all was well. “Seahawks are dry and safe in San Pedro,” Thompson reported. “Hurricane Earl blew in and out, leaving us without running water or power. There's a sweet breeze though, and the hotel has a generator and a gas stove.”

San Pedro, Belize, became a sister city of Wilmington in 2007. Catapano, professor and director of international programs at the Watson College, has 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.

Japan – Summer 2016

Eleven students joined EEMLS department chair Kathy Fox and associate professors Tracy Hargrove and Brad Walker for a two-week summer study abroad experience in Japan in June. Over the course of two weeks they toured the country, learned about the Japanese culture and visited schools to observe teaching and learn through interactions with Japanese educators and their students.

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.

London – Summer 2016

Marsha Carr, associate professor in WCE’s Department of Educational Leadership, led a weeklong trip to London in July. Thirteen students enrolled in public school administration and higher education graduate programs participated in the internship. Working in groups, the students shadowed teachers and administrators in both rural and urban K-12 environments and a local university to learn about the British education system. The group also found time to immerse themselves in local culture with trips to Buckingham Palace, the London Bridge, Westminster Abbey and an evening show, and a few lucky students made their way to the finals at Wimbledon!

Malawi – Summer 2016

Ann Potts, associate dean of the Watson College, has traveled to Malawi, Africa, several times through partnerships with other universities. She led UNCW’s first field experience to Malawi in summer 2015, and returned with faculty member Liz Barber and six undergraduate students in May 2016 for a three-week trip focused on leadership, service, teaching and learning.

Prior to the trip the group raised awareness and support for projects including Destiny Pads for girls, a school feeding program and scholarships for select secondary school students. With support from Watson College faculty, staff and students, they also raised funds needed for food and desks and collected 650 pounds of school supplies  and books for students in the Domasi Demonstration School in Malawi. While in Africa, the group visited schools and provided professional development for elementary and middle-grades teachers.

2016-17 International Opportunities for Students – Includes New Experience in The Netherlands!

A field experience to Ethiopia is planned for December 2016. Trips to Belize, Japan, Kuwait and Malawi are planned for spring and summer 2017.

A new internship in The Netherlands will also be offered in summer 2017, led by WCE associate professors Amy Garrett Dikkers and Denise Ousley-Exum.

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.