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Experiential Learning: UC Students Explore the World over December Break

Get a roundup of where UC students are going and what they’ll be doing as they travel to learning experiences on four different continents.

Date: 12/5/2013 8:00:00 AM
By: Dawn Fuller
Phone: (513) 556-1823

UC ingot   One group of University of Cincinnati students will live in a 2,000-year-old factory, as they study the history of porcelain making and create their own pieces on their visit to China. Others will travel to South Africa to bring solar power to communities, or to Europe for a unique perspective of World War II and a glimpse of a traditional English Christmas.
Photo of previous trip to Yucatan, Mexico, provided by Associate Professor Robert South
Photo of previous trip to Yucatan, Mexico, provided by Associate Professor Robert South

UC International reports that approximately 115 UC students will travel to four continents – Africa, Asia, Europe and Central/Latin America – over the December break.

The UC2019 Academic Master Plan aims to increase the number of UC’s students studying abroad as part of its goals to prepare students for the global marketplace, as well as boost the number of faculty leading these study abroad experiences.

The 2011-2012 Institute of International Education’s Open Doors report found that study abroad by American students has more than tripled over the past two decades. That same report indicated that on a national scale, UC was 60th for sending 1,037 students on study abroad experiences over that academic year.

To support these efforts, UC International distributed approximately $48,000 in grants to support student expenses on study abroad experiences this December. Trips get underway in early-to-mid December.

College of Allied Health Sciences – physical therapy program

Cancun, Mexico – A group of graduate physical therapy students and Rehabilitation Sciences faculty and staff will provide patient care and develop and lead group education for adults, children with disabilities and senior citizens. Students also will be documenting how this high-impact experience influenced their own personal and professional development. The trip will be led by Professor and Doctorate of Physical Therapy Program Director Elizabeth Mulligan, PT, PhD, and Rehabilitation Sciences Program Manager Beth Bextermueller.

College of Engineering and Applied Science

Addis Ababa, Haramaya, Harar, Dire Dawa, Mekelle and other locations in Ethiopia; Cape Town and Grahamstown, South Africa – Through fall semester, 15 UC students have connected via skype with students at University of Cape Town and Rhodes University in South Africa, plus four universities in Ethiopia to develop initiatives on solar power in Sub-Saharan Africa. On their December trip led by Gregory Beaucage, professor of chemical and materials engineering, six of the students from the class will travel to Haramaya University and work with fellow students there to install a solar powered water source for a primary school in a nearby village. This is the fourth trip of this kind associated with the Solar Power for Africa course (CHE 3010). The well is funded by the Cincinnati Rotary Club (Club 17), in coordination with the Bole/Addis Rotary Club.
College of Design, Architecture, Art, and Planning (DAAP)

Jingdezhen, China – A group of 11 graduate and undergraduate UC students will live and work in a 2,000 year old porcelain center called The Sculpture Factory, as they explore the past and present traditions of creating ceramics and porcelain in China. The students will create their own body of work, as well as meet with artists and designers and visit galleries and museums in Jingdezhen and Shanghai. After students return to Cincinnati, a show of their work will go on display at Clay Street Press in Over-the-Rhine. The Cincinnati display will open in late March. The course is led by Katie Parker, an assistant professor in the DAAP School of Art, and Guy Michael Davis, an adjunct assistant professor in the School of Art.

Photo by UC graduate Mark Schutte
2012 photo by UC graduate Mark Schutte

London and Cambridge, United Kingdom – Thirteen UC students will stay at a medieval college at Cambridge when they travel to the United Kingdom to explore the revolutionary developments of the European Enlightenment of the 17th and 18th centuries. The students have spent their semester exploring how the Enlightenment gave birth to the modern world through the emancipation of science and the emergence of governments accountable to the people.

Their studies culminate in a trip to the United Kingdom, a cradle-land of the Enlightenment, in December. The trip, led by Terry Grundy, an adjunct associate professor of planning, includes a visit to the Royal Society of Arts in London, tours of the Enlightenment Gallery at the British Museum and the 17th and 18th century collections at Cambridge's Fitzwilliam Museum, and an outing to see a panto, a traditional English Christmas performance.

McMicken College of Arts and Sciences – Geography

Yucatan, Mexico – A group of 23 UC students ranging from freshmen to seniors will explore the landscapes and legacies of Yucatan, Mexico, visit Maya archaeological sites (Uxmal, Chichen Itza, Ek Balam), spend time at a flamingo reserve, mangrove swamp, a hacienda and school, plus swim in a karst cave. The trip provides real-world experience in exploring other cultures and building foreign language skills. Robert South, an associate professor of geography, has led students on this adventure for 23 years.
The "Pyramid of the Magician" (Uxmal), Photo courtesy of Robert South

UC Forward Study Abroad Experience

UC Forward is a teaching and learning initiative that brings together students, faculty and an array of businesses and agencies – each from different perspectives – to contribute to the social and economic value of the local, regional and global communities.

Senegal, Africa – A group of 15 students in majors ranging from engineering to women’s studies and marketing will pool their talents to ultimately help farm workers improve irrigation, increase crop production and improve equality for subsistence farmers. Working with a nonprofit organization, the students will help develop agricultural demonstration sites in Malika and D'Jilour, Senegal, to demonstrate the benefits of a modified, small biodiesel engine. The engine can run on fuel made from the seeds of the Jatropha plant, which can easily be grown and processed by the farmers themselves. The trip will be led by Dave Stefan, an adjunct professor in the School of Design and UC Forward Fellow. The course was taught by Stefan, Dale Murray, an associate professor of industrial design, Lakshminarayana Tirumala, an assistant professor of electronic media in the College-Conservatory of Music (CCM) and Amir Salehpour, associate professor of mechanical engineering technology.

University Honors Program Leads Two Study-Abroad Seminars Over Winter Break

The University Honors Program for academically talented students encompasses the top 7 percent of UC undergraduate students from across colleges and disciplines. University Honors focuses on unique and challenging academic and hands-on experiences that reflect the themes of community engagement, global study, leadership, research and the creative arts. The program serves students from every undergraduate college on campus. The program aims to increase the percentage of its students in study abroad experiences to 75 percent.

United Kingdom and France – Eighteen honors students will travel to some of the most significant sites of World War II as they set forth on a study abroad experience in Europe Dec. 13-20. The trip will include stops at the Imperial War Museum, the HMS Belfast, the Churchill War Cabinet Room, the D-Day Museum at the Caen-Normandy Memorial Center for History and Peace, and a guided tour of Normandy Beaches.

Travel to the Maya Riviera – Ten honors students with majors ranging from environmental studies to design will travel to the Maya Riviera to explore the economic, cultural, social, environmental and political importance of water. The trip will be led by Adrian Parr, associate professor of sociology and School of Architecture and Interior Design.

The 2013 National Survey of Student Engagement (NSSE) showed strong UC student participation in high-impact practices such as study abroad.