Off to New Adventures in Peru!
Starting on May 19, students of the College of Education will travel to Peru and gain experiences with working in school settings outside the United States. While in Peru, students will have the opportunity to work in two schools located in Lima, Peru and travel to the Sacred Valley. Students also will be completing two classes, Philosophy of Education (EDUC 4540) and Critical Inquiry into Contemporary Issues (EDUC 4240), before and after traveling to Peru.
When asked what they are most excited about, the students exclaimed their excitement for being in a new country and experiencing a new culture. “I am excited to observe in a classroom at Colegio Roosevelt and to learn about similarities and differences between their curriculum and classroom management compared to the schools that I have attended or have been placed at for a field placement,” expressed Amy Krzoska, currently a junior. Similarly, Sara Douvalakis, a junior currently, explained her excitement by stating, “I cannot wait to go hiking and sightseeing, but I am most looking forward to new foods.”
In traveling to a new country and experiencing a new culture, challenges do emerge. When asked what they thought would be the biggest challenge, the students replied as stepping out of their comfort zones as the biggest. However, these challenges will not stop the students from having a great time. “I hope to be able go overcome them and enjoy my time abroad,” explained Liz Rivas, a sophomore currently.
With all the excitement of traveling to a new country, it is important to see how this experience will impact oneself. Therefore, students were asked how their time in Peru will impact their future professions. Students, like Liz Rivas and Amy Krzoska, are excited to bring the knowledge gained in Peru to their future classrooms. “[The study abroad experience] will bring new ideas to me and give me the opportunity to incorporate these ideas with my own students,” said Liz Rivas. “ I will be exposed to the Peruvian school system and will learn what they do that could be beneficial to bring back to the United States in my future teaching,” stated Amy Krzoska. Other students are excited to learn from professors and other teachers. “I know I will gain so much knowledge from the professors who are going with us and all of the new friends we make in Peru,” explained Sara Douvalakis.
Study abroad is an amazing and influential experience for education students. To gain further insight, we asked Dr. Melissa Gibson, Assistant Professor and one of the faculty members traveling with students to Peru, on the importance of studying abroad for education students. The following is her response:
“ I think that the most significant is that it helps us expand our pedagogical imaginations. So often as teachers who work within bureaucratic systems and within policy schema and with limited time available, we tend to narrowly focus on “what is” rather than “what can be.” Getting out of the world with which we’re familiar can help us to imagine other possibilities for schooling — traveling, working, and studying abroad is a really powerful way to “make the familiar strange,” which is at the heart of social scientific thinking and particularly relevant for the courses we’re teaching. By visiting a variety of schools, we’ll see varied approaches to what education is and can be; by familiarizing ourselves with a whole new sociopolitical context, I also hope that our own context — its strangeness and its strengths — can come into sharper focus. For me personally, my own experiences abroad have been transformational — whether that be living and teaching in Mexico for several years, traveling throughout India as a Fulbright-Hays scholar, or engaging in a teacher exchange sponsored by the Japanese government. I hope that we can bring a bit of that perspective broadening to our COED students, with the ultimate aim of improving education for our K12 students here in Milwaukee.”
Students will be blogging during their time in Peru; you can hear more about their adventures in their own words!