Study Abroad

Study Abroad Opportunities

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Photo by Chris Lawton

Norway - Belize - Vietnam

 

Throughout this summer, Mayville State has been broadening its horizons.

 

Students have had the opportunity to travel to the countries of Japan and Belize and experience diversity at its finest. Megan Maassel, an education major and member of Student Senate who embarked on the journey to Japan, was interviewed and shared a little bit about her trip.


· Why did you choose to partake in this experience?

Well, I will say that it was kind of selfish motive when I first thought about the experience. Japan has been one of the countries where I have always wanted to visit and I am an extremely nerdy person. Anime and Manga, two of Japan’s main pop culture exports, are a part of my general nerd being. The other part of my motive was to experience a different education system. I wanted to see how much of an emphasis there is on education in a country that can be considered a stark contrast to the United States. I feel like it is important for me, as a teacher, to see different types of diversity. That’s some of why I decided to try because we weren’t even sure whether we would get the funding at first.

· What is your favorite memory from your trip?

I’ll have to say the elementary school. When you enter a classroom space, it kind of fills you with a sort of enthusiasm and sort of strive to learn. It was a different feeling than when I would go into the observations throughout my coursework. I always get pumped up for observations, but it is a different sort of thrill. It was also hilarious for me to be so full of energy, while my fellow researchers and professors were exhausted halfway through the day. I guess it shows how comfortable I was with the kids. At the end of our experience, I had taught some of the kids some games that I would play with the students I worked with back here. It was so much fun to teach and to be called Megan-Sensei.

· What was most surprising part about Japan and its culture?

Well, everything was at first, because it was so new and different from what I was used to, but what I was surprised by the most were two things. The first was the recycling aspect of Japan. Everything is recycled and their green footprint is very small. Dividing up trash was very complex at first, but it became easier over time. The second would be how safe Japan is. I would see groups of elementary students take the train to get to their school, cram schools, after school activities, you name it. It was so surprising to see how the students are safe and carefree while traversing across the countryside.

· How will this experience effect your future career as an educator?

It has opened my eyes to all the different avenues I could go as a teacher. As part of the philosophy of being a lifelong learner, I think teachers needs to expand their types of learning. I think that I will be looking at different situations in which I can explore and expand what I learn and what I teach.

· What would you tell other students who are interested in going on one of these trips?

Do it, it is so worth it. You think that you wouldn’t feel comfortable and that there are other people better suited for it, but that thought process should just be banished from your head because you can do it. You will find that you could do more than you originally thought. Right now, your worldview is very small. Go expand upon it.