Wednesday, April 9, 2014

Education Abroad in YOUR Residence Hall!

One of our intern initiatives this semester at the Education Abroad office has been to share our experiences with fellow students about study abroad by visiting the residence halls. AJ, our fabulous Marketing and Outreach Intern who came up with the idea, discusses below the experience at Pickard Hall in March.

Next Education Abroad night: May 30th at McGregor Hall

"Tuesday, March 4th 2014 was the first night we introduced Education Abroad into a residence hall setting. The idea was to bring Education Abroad to the students, rather than students having to come to us. I found this to be a more effective approach. In doing so, we had to figure out a way for the night to be attractive for students. We had to make students leave their dorm room after a long day of classes to come to the basement and get involved in an activity. How could we possibly do this?

Food! Food is a huge motivator, especially for college students. This was not one of those pick up a trey of cheese and crackers from Walmart and bring that along. No, it was cultural food that we brought. Since we are representing Education Abroad, I found it to be unique and corresponding to the theme to bring in food from another culture. Staying true to this idea, I made a Dutch appetizer referred to as bitterballen. Bitterballen was one of my favorite Dutch snacks, and was served at almost every occasion while I was overseas.

The night began with an introduction of our goal, and mission behind being there. Then we mentioned to them there was going to be food passed out shortly....everyone’s ears perked up and we knew it was a great start. Once the food was passed out, and prior to them taking their first bites, I read some background information on the famous “bitterballen.” This information included how it got started, and how it has been transformed from its early history to now. Then they were given some time to converse and try the snack. During this time my fellow intern, Hannah, and Derek, an Education Abroad Ambassador who studied in Fiji, and I began to figure out the final details of the activity we were going do with them.

Playing Barnga at Pickard
Once the food was finished and the activity was finalized, we were ready to get the night started. Each table was spread out across the room as far apart as we could get them. Then we played a game referred to as Barnga. In Barnga, nobody is allowed to talk. Each table has a deck of cards and a rule sheet. After giving people a minute to read through their rules, we take the rule sheets away. Once the game begins, we rotate players between tables depending on who wins and who loses. Even when you change tables, though, you’re not allowed to talk. The thing is, when we passed out the rule sheets, each table was given a different set of rules. We played a few rounds of Barnga until everyone got the gist of what was happening.

After a few rounds we asked the students a few follow up questions on what they experienced during the game, and how it made them feel. Then I explained why the game was chosen for an activity, and linked it to the experience individuals can gain while studying in another country. Lastly, I asked the students if they enjoyed the night and then left the floor open to any general questions. After this we stuck around cleaning up the place a bit, and students actually approached us informally with questions. This was an excellent twist that I didn’t expect, but it was a great learning experience for students. Overall, the night was very successful. It was good to get the faces of people in the abroad office out in this type of setting. Interacting with the student population like we did will hopefully make them feel more comfortable about approaching or emailing us here in the office."

A few weeks later, Bridgeway also had a night featuring Education Abroad. This time, we played trivia including many questions about countries around the world. A few were easy, most were difficult, but everyone learned something! For example, did you know that in Iceland Dominos offers a pizza with reindeer sausage? 

A big thank you to the RA's at both Pickard and Bridgeway for setting these nights up! The next evening will be in McGregor on May 30th. We hope to see you there!

1 comment:

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