Jessie Laverty, Early Childhood Education Major, Studies in France

Jessie Laverty in FranceIn summer 2015, Jessie Laverty, an Early Childhood Education major and French minor, spent 4 weeks in Lyon, France, where she studied at the IDRAC International School of Business. One class she took was full immersion in French language. Another class focused on the similarities and differences between French and American culture. While in France, she also had the opportunity to visit Paris, Nice, Annecy, and Pérouges. In the words of Jessie, “It was truly a wonderful experience. As Lyon is the gastronomical capital of France, I got to taste many different, amazing foods. During this trip, I not only ate the world’s best foods, visited remarkable historic landmarks, traveled to multiple cities, but was also able to experience full, authentic immersion in a foreign culture.” Jessie stated that as her first trip abroad, it was an ideal, unforgettable, cultural experience.

Jessica Davis, Early Childhood Education Major, Visits Kenya and Haiti

Jessica DavisJessica Davis, an Early Childhood Education major, went to Kenya and Haiti at the end of her sophomore and junior years, in trips organized by Dr. Perkins, Dean of Religious and Spiritual Life. In summer 2015, Jessica visited Haiti. In Haiti, she toured many schools and organized games for the students. One of the highlights of her trip was teaching a lesson at a teacher’s seminar about developmentally appropriate ways to teach math and physical education. Jessica also observed pharmacy school and nursing students hold medical clinics for children.

Jessica’s Maymester trip to Kenya in 2014 involved partnering with a local Presbyterian congregation and helping to build a church. Jessica also helped build a Girls’ Rescue Center dorm for girls who were escaping early forced marriages, female genital mutilation, and extreme poverty. While in Kenya, Jessica also visited a giraffe sanctuary, an elephant orphanage, and went on a Safari.  Jessica plans on returning to Kenya after she graduates in May!

Shelly Rowan, Elementary Education Major, Travels to Cuba

Shelly in CubaIn March, 2015, Shelly Rowan, an Elementary Education major, traveled to Cuba in a trip organized by the Political Science Department. While there, she had the opportunity to learn about Cuba’s government, economy, and culture. Shelly said it was interesting to experience communism first-hand and see how it affected the economy and society as a whole. As an education major, Shelly was particularly interested in learning about the education system in Cuba and how access to all levels of education is provided by the government at no cost to residents. Shelly states, “On this trip, my group and I were immersed in a culture much different than our own. I look forward to sharing Cuba’s unique history and culture with my students through children’s books I bought while there. I also look forward to sharing with my students the differences and similarities between our culture and that of our neighbor.”

Mary Weaver, Secondary Education Student, Goes on Maymester Trip to Germany and France

Mary on MaymesterIn May, 2015, Mary Weaver, a Mathematics major minoring in Secondary Education and English, traveled to Germany and France with the English and History Departments. The group arrived in Munich and traveled from there to Oberwesel and the Rhine and Mosel Valleys, while making their way to Paris. The English course entitled, “The Castle” focused on the role of castles in literature. Students studied several works, from Sir Gawain and the Green Knight to Harry Potter and the Sorcerer’s Stone. The History course focused on Hitler’s rise to power and his life up to the overtake of Paris. Mary states, “One thing I learned from this experience was just how untrue cultural stereotypes can be. All of the German and French people we met were incredibly welcoming to us, which we greatly appreciated as none of us could effectively speak the language in either country. Germany and France were also very different from what I was expecting. This experience, as well as my other Maymester, was incredible and I am eternally grateful to PC for providing me with the opportunity to travel for school.”

Julie Harbin Spends Semester at University of Wales Trinity St. David, Carmarthen Campus

Julie Harbin in WalesIn Spring, 2014, Julie Harbin, an Early Childhood Education major, spent a semester at the University of Wales, Trinity Saint David. Julie took classes in inclusion in the early years and the teaching philosophy of Reggio Emilia. She also took a class in British culture. While in Wales, Julie also taught her classmates a lot about the US education system. Julie said her experience was so great she can’t adequately express it in words. “My semester abroad was such an educational experience, not only academically, but also personally. I discovered so many things, and I also discovered myself!”

​Shelly Rowan, Elementary Education Major, Backpacks in Chile

Shelly ChileOne of Shelly Rowan’s favorite things to do is travel. In May of 2014, she ventured with the Biology Department to Patagonia. The group set out on an 11 day trip that included 5 days of intense backpacking. Shelly reflects: “It was an amazing adventure as we toured different areas of southern Chile in addition to our hikes in the Torres Del Paine National Park. We discovered the natural history of the land as well as the history of the regions many different peoples. Experiencing the culture of Chile was easily my favorite part of the trip. We were able to dine with locals, stroll through towns, and speak with other international travelers.” As a future elementary school teacher, Shelly states that she plans on sharing aspects of Chilean culture with her students through children’s books that she brought back.

Shelby Britt, Early Childhood Education Major, Takes Spring Break Trip to Guatemala

Shelby in GuatemalaIn 2014, Shelby Britt, an Early Childhood Education Major, went to Guatemala on a trip organized by the History Department. While there, Shelby toured the Mayan ruins of Tikal, a truly breathtaking experience. Shelby also learned a lot about social classes and the economy of Guatemala. Overall, Shelby felt it was a very rewarding experience through which she was able to learn about the history of Guatemala as well as present day life. Shelby believes that such exposure to different cultures will be invaluable to her as a teacher.

Mary Weaver, Secondary Education Student, Studies Math and Marketing in Europe

Mary in EnglandMary Weaver is a Mathematics major and is minoring in Secondary Education and English. When she graduates in May, she plans to become a high school math teacher. In 2014, she went on a Maymester trip to England and Wales organized by the Mathematics and Business Departments. Students stayed at Edge Hill University in Northwest England and from there made various day trips to cities such as Liverpool, Manchester, and York. Mary said that staying at Edge Hill University “allowed students to get to know the local town and people while still getting to explore beautiful England.” She went on to explain that, “The math course we took was called ‘Symmetry in Northwest England,’ and it focused on symmetry, permutations, and group theory. We got to see the mathematics of symmetry throughout the architecture in the various places we visited. The business course was called ‘Marketing in the EU’ and we focused on different marketing strategies utilized throughout the European Union. Another part of this class was simply immersing ourselves in a new and different culture, which proved quite exciting. From this experience, I gained insight into a new culture (one I was fortunate enough to understand the language of) and was exposed to new experiences I definitely would not have gotten in small-town South Carolina.”

Elizabeth Myers, Early Childhood Education Major, Travels Across India

Elizabeth MyersIn 2014, Elizabeth Myers, an Early Childhood Education major from Maryland, spent 20 days traveling across India in a Maymester organized by the Religion Department. The group visited Chennai, Madurai, Kochi, and Mysore. Elizabeth states, “We traveled across the country by plane, bus, boat, and train. We experienced all the Indian culture had to offer us. We visited many different religious sites and holy places. We spent time in a preschool for  children ‘untouchables’ and an Indian orphanage. I loved my time in India, and hope to go back some day soon!”

Caleb Weathers, Middle Level Education Major, Studies Maori Culture in New Zealand

New Zealand May calebIn 2013, Caleb Weathers, Middle Level Education major, went to New Zealand on a Maymester trip organized by the History and Education Departments. As a future Social Studies teacher, Caleb embraced the opportunity to “dive into the Maori culture of New Zealand by learning about their religious beliefs and every day ways of life. I was also able to learn about the education system in New Zealand and the influences and impacts of the Maori culture in the schools. This trip gave me an opportunity to literally see the opposite side of the world and ultimately led me to fall in love with traveling.” Having just completed his freshman year, Caleb welcomed the opportunity to travel with and become closer with his classmates and professors. “It was just overall an unforgettable experience,” he states.

Early Childhood Education Students Study Technology at DisneyWorld

Andrea and Meredith at DisneyAlthough Maymester courses typically involve studying abroad, in 2013, Early Childhood Education majors, Andrea Pelham and Meredith Gaffney, had the opportunity to participate in a trip to DisneyWorld organized by the Computer Science Department. While there, they met with Disney Imaginers, Disney Interns, and tour guides. They spent time learning how a large company operates and how people are trained to become leaders within the Disney community. In the words of Meredith Gaffney, “The Disney Maymester experience gave me an opportunity to learn what it is to lead with passion and to see ways that technology can enhance the learning experience. At Disney, we took classes about collaborative leadership, which is something that is very beneficial in the classroom. As a future educator, it is important to know how to facilitate open dialogues in a community of learners where all voices are valued. We also learned about the new RFID technology being used at Disney as park tickets, resort room keys, and forms of payment. This use of technology is just one example of a way to show students how what we learn in school applies to the real world.”