March 28, 2007

Case students turn the world into a global classroom

Students use Spring Break as a unique learning experience

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Education has gone global for Case Western Reserve University students participating in spring trips to the Ukraine, the Netherlands, Turkey, Kenya and the Dominican Republic.

This spring, 44 undergraduate and graduate students traveled to the Netherlands, with another 21 participants headed to Kenya and five students to the Ukraine through the Mandel School of Applied Social Sciences (MSASS) spring abroad program. The weeklong intensive study trips explored social service issues in the various countries. This year's enrollments in the spring abroad trips were the highest since the program started several years ago, according Grover C. Gilmore, dean of MSASS.

Each trip had a different focus that reflects social issues pertaining to the country and the faculty leader's expertise. For example, the students traveling with adoption expert Victor Groza examined changes in the social service system in the Ukraine that now favors moving children from institutions to permanent homes.

The spring break programs allows students to gain three hours of course credit while incorporating learning with traveling, sightseeing and experiencing a new culture, said Deborah Jacobson, assistant professor of social work at MSASS. Traveling abroad is becoming a popular option for students who cannot spend a year or semester abroad, she said. The success of the program has even reached MSASS alumni who will have a similar option to travel and earn continuing education credit during a trip to the Netherland that MSASS will co-sponsor with New York University in June.

Mandel Center for Nonprofit Organization first-year graduate student Kristen Boyne also traveled abroad this spring, to the Dominican Republic. Boyne instructed patients at the Hospital Municipal de Engombe in Santo Domingo on how to wash hands and brush teeth properly. She offered her health lessons during an intensive study abroad and volunteer spring break trip through MSASS and the service-learning experience of Case DRIVE (The Dominican Republic Initiative for Volunteer Experience). The latter program, established in 2004, is a collaboration of student and faculty from the university's College of Arts and Sciences and Schools of Dental Medicine, Engineering, Medicine, Nursing and Social Work.

Six students in the College of Arts and Sciences traveled abroad this spring, to Ankara, Turkey, as part of history professor John Grabowski's new museum studies course. The course, a collaborative project with Bilkent University in Turkey, was conducted through videoconferencing technology. Grabowski's students visited their Turkish classmates, toured museums in Ankara and discussed joint research projects with their Turkish peers.

The department of bioethics at the medical school also sent a group of students to the Netherlands to study ethical issues in health care.

For more information contact Susan Griffith, 216.368.1004.

Posted by: Heidi Cool, March 28, 2007 09:46 AM | News Topics: College of Arts and Sciences, Frances Payne Bolton School of Nursing, Mandel Center for Non-Profit Organizations, Mandel School of Applied Social Sciences, School of Dental Medicine, School of Medicine

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