Summer Opportunities Take Faculty and Students Around the World


Summer Opportunities Take Faculty and Students Around the World

Summer abroad course being taught in Zarax

Phoebe Crisman and Michael Petrus, faculty in Global Studies and Architecture, taught an Education Abroad course – Greek in Anthropocene – and sailed with students in the Aegean Sea for three weeks.

"The main focus of the course was how sustainable, ancient ways of living can inform contemporary life in Greece. Living on a sailboat that is a closed loopsystem, not connected to the power, water or fuel grid, gave students the opportunity to understand the impact of their resource use and change their behavior while at sea. Single use plastics and microplastics in the environment were clearly evident as we sailed, and students responded by drastically minimizing our own plastic consumption during the program.

Education abroad is an ideal form of experiential learning—a powerful way for students to viscerally understand specific places and cultures. For example, directly experiencing the effects and sensations of the city of Hydra with no cars and people freely roaming the streets is only possible by being there. Specifically, students experienced and compared ancient and modern ways of living via this innovative teaching and learning method. They could feel the spirit of a place, the dry heat, the pervasive smell of herbs central to the Greek diet, and constantly see expansive views over land and sea.

Lanie Moore keeping lines ship shape
Lanie Moore keeping lines ship shape. Photo credit: Michael Petrus

Education abroad is an ideal form of experiential learning—a powerful way for students to viscerally understand specific places and cultures.

This year was the first time we offered this unusual course, and it was a roaring success. Students gushed about the program, writing, "this was the best course I've ever taken," or "I would do it again in a heartbeat." We also had a fantastic time with the students and are already planning for next year's trip with roughly the same itinerary.  Based on this year's student interests, we plan to integrate more content about land, food and diet, as well as more Greek language background."

South Korea internship
South Korea internship at DGIST for Katrina Shaffer. Photo Credit: Katrina Shaffer

Katrina Louise Shaffer is majoring in mechanical engineering and physics. She spent the summer doing research in Daegu, South Korea.

"I was in Daegu for seven weeks this summer at DGIST (Daegu Gyeongbuk Institute of Technology). It was a great experience where I worked in the Biophysics and Soft Matter lab under Dr. Seungho Choe. When I got to DGIST, I found out I would be working with computer simulations of proteins, specifically hydrogenases. Before this summer, I knew nothing of computer simulations or hydrogenases, so I learned a lot.

The international office at DGIST pairs international students with a "buddy," and her name was  Heewon Song. She taught me a lot about Korea and the culture and the food, and she really made my summer so much better than it could have been. We went to the Pohang Accelerator Laboratory and we also toured POSCO Steel together.

When my internship was finished, my husband and oldest son met me in Seoul and we explored for a few days together. That was a nice ending to the summer, as well.

I grew up in a very small town in Missouri (less than 500 people), but I've lived in Williamsburg, Virginia, for the last ten years. I'm studying mechanical engineering and physics, and I plan to graduate in May of 2025. I live in Charlottesville during the week, and I travel home to Williamsburg almost every weekend."

Students working on a mural in Mexico
UVA students working on a mural in Mexico. Photo Credit:
Federico Cuatlacuatl

Federico Cuatlacuatl is Faculty in the Department of Art, and he taught a Education Abroad course titled Murals, Indigeneity, and Contemporary Art in Cholula, Mexico.

"Working on the mural together brought great energy for the group and created more cultural for communality.  The collective effort was felt in how each student engaged with the entire process of the mural as well as building relationships with one another and supporting each other.  The other magical moments were during visits by special guests offering lectures, sharing their artwork, and building conversations with the class.  Filogonio Naxin was our main visiting artist and was generous in sharing about his creative practice and processes.  
Often times Mexico's culture inside and outside the country is seen as a monolith and this course abroad points to the diversity, uniqueness, and specific culture and history of Cholula, Puebla.  We also learn about this community's history through a more transparent and critical lens, allowing students to see and value Mexico's flourishing contemporary arts.  Additionally, being situated in one of the oldest cities in the continent, Cholula gives students an insight into the dense history of indigenous communities from this region.

Working on the mural together brought great energy for the group and created more cultural for communality.

My work is heavily invested in looking back at this 500+ history of my hometown in Cholula.  Much of my artistic research and practice informs the content and issues that we emphasized during class conversations.  It was very special to share this with students and to also hear their thoughts and conversations on ways that this allows us to learn together and helps their own academic endeavors at UVA.  
We didn't spend any time in Mexico City because it's a massive city and I was worried about the logistics.  I would like to spend at least a couple days next time in Mexico City and give students a glimpse of the amazing museums and culture of contemporary art that this city has to offer.  This will also give students a wider perspective on Mexico's diversity the many cultures found within the central part of Mexico."

Mirella Jiffaris
Miriella Jiffaria in RCJ radio station in Paris. Photo Credit: Miriella Jiffaris

Miriella Jiffaris a third-year student in double majoring in English and Cognitive Science. She did a global internship in Paris, France.

This summer, I spent two months in Paris with UVA’s Global Internship program. I lived with a French host family, took an online Global Studies course, interned at Radio RCJ as a journalism intern, and explored Paris with the other summer interns in the cohort!

After only learning French in the classroom, going to Paris allowed me to completely immerse myself in the language and culture with my host family and during the work week at my internships. It definitely proved invaluable for improving my French, because I feel much more comfortable and confident speaking the language in July than in May. Before our internships started, the whole program had orientation and group activities to do around Paris for a couple of days, such as a bateau mouche along the Seine, and a guided tour of Montmartre.

It was a relief to get to know the other students and hear that they also had a similar mix of excited and anxious feelings. In the first week, two months seemed so far away, but once I got into the swing of things and got used to the routine, living in Paris — taking the metro, going to work and going with my friends to picnics at Champ de Mars — was as natural as my life when I’m back in Charlottesville. The other students and I quickly became fast friends, and by the end, it was just as hard to leave them as it was to leave Paris.

At Radio RCJ, I was exposed to the inner workings of a radio station, getting to know what it takes to work in radio and broadcast journalism. I got the chance to go on air for a few segments, and work with my supervisor directly on one of their shows, L'Essentiel, which was a really great hands-on experience I can bring back to the U.S. because I’m planning to work in the journalism and media industry after I graduate."

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