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Bayh College students to explore Ireland, England

May 1, 2015

Education and culture will be at the heart of a summer study abroad experience for 20 Indiana State University students going to Ireland and England in May.

The 14-day trip, May 10-23, to Dublin, Belfast and London will include 20 students and four faculty members, including Kathryn Bauserman and Pat Wheeler, who are both professors of elementary, early, and special education in the Bayh College of Education.

"A lot of students haven't traveled overseas before, so they'll get that experience and spend four days in classrooms in Ireland," Bauserman said.

This is the fourth and largest group of undergraduates Bauserman and Wheeler have taken to study overseas. During the first week of the trip, students spend four days in classrooms.

It will be the first time overseas for Joyce Lawrence, a sophomore special education and elementary education major from Huntingburg.

"I decided to go on the trip when my best friend said she was going, and then the more I looked at it I thought it would be cool to see how the education system there compares to U.S. education," she said.

Students will have the opportunity to visit the homes of famous children's book authors, visit a Titanic museum, learn folklore and travel to Belfast.

Students will spend eight days in Ireland, where they'll stay with host families, and spend another four days in England. In Ireland, students will tour Belvidere House and Gardens, attend a lecture by a local expert on Irish fairies and folklore, tour the Abbey Theater, and visit a famous bookstore where parents buy children's textbooks.

When they visit Belfast the following weekend, students will go to the C. S. Lewis museum/memorial, the Titanic Museum, and take a guided walking tour of a historic, often civil war-torn area.

After a short flight to London, where students will spend four days, they will go on a guided tour of famous historic sites, visit the Roald Dahl museum with a possible theater production of Charlie and the Chocolate Factory at the Royal National Theater, spend a day at the Harry Potter theme park and have a chance to see where J. K. Rowling penned Harry Potter books, visit the Victoria and Albert Museum, and tour sites related to authors like Beatrix Potter or J.R.R. Tolkien.

"A main purpose of this trip is to provide an experience in cultural awareness, local immersion, and global studies for Indiana teacher candidates who have seldom traveled outside their local area," Wheeler said. "This will allow them to bring back a life-changing point of view to the children they will teach who will become tomorrow's citizens."Students conducted fundraisers, including selling candles and hosting a bake sale, to help with the cost of the trip.

"Traveling is great, especially when we also get to go and experience classrooms in foreign countries," said Adelaide Jones, a senior elementary and special education major from Sunman who traveled to France during a study abroad trip two years ago.

"I see this as a professional development experience," said Jones, who is in Indiana State's TOTAL (Teachers of Tomorrow Advancing Learning) program. "If there is a special education program there, I'd like to see how it compares to what we do for students in the U.S."

While her classmates visit elementary classrooms, Claire Smith, a sophomore human development and family studies major who has a minor in early childhood education, is looking forward to the opportunity to see how preschool classes operate abroad.

"I would like to be able to incorporate cultures from across the world as extras into my lesson plans," she said. "I think it's good to be able to introduce students to different cultures."

Writer: Betsy Simon, media relations assistant director, Office of Communications and Marketing, Indiana State University, 812-237-7972 or betsy.simon@indstate.edu

Story Highlights

The 14-day trip, May 10-23, to Dublin, Belfast and London will include 20 students and four faculty members, including Kathryn Bauserman and Pat Wheeler, who are both professors of elementary, early, and special education in the Bayh College of Education.

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