"To travel is to take a journey into yourself." – Danny Kaye

By

Meghan Krein

The world is a big place and the students at ASU’s Mary Lou Fulton Teachers College have big minds. So it makes sense to offer a study abroad program, where students can attain cultural literacy. Traveling expands the mind, nurtures empathy and lets people see the world through different points of view. Added bonus: Tacking a study abroad program on a resume wins major points.

A recent trip sponsored by ASU’s Mary Lou Fulton Teachers College was a three-week program of University Service-Learning in Granada, Spain — at the foot of the Sierra Nevada. While away, the students lived like the locals — staying with a host family and immersing themselves in the culture. Class content was combined with opportunities to perform service by: 

  • Teaching English at a local school
  • Doing construction on ecological cabins
  • Assisting individuals at risk of social exclusion
  • Working with at-risk Spanish or immigrant children  

The program accepts students from any major and participants receive three credits that satisfy General Studies requirements for literacy and culture. University Service-Learning courses are unique to ASU in that they’re stand-alone courses in which students learn about the importance of active citizenship, civic responsibility and the effects of social injustices while completing relative community service.

lsey Shea Corrigan, an education major at Mary Lou Fulton Teachers College, was one of them. Kelsey worked in homeless shelters and drug rehabilitation centers during her time in Granada. She said her experience helped her gain perspective. “I didn’t think about how those places are here, too. So I want to find those types of shelters and help here.”

Kelsey particularly was touched by one little boy. “He was acting out and roughhousing with the other kids in a way that didn’t seem necessary,” she says. Kelsey brought it to the teacher’s attention and she told Kelsey that the boy’s mom passed away last year and he was having a hard time adjusting. “That hit me because you never know what someone is going through and something like that translates.”

Frannie Winters, a secondary education English major at Mary Lou Fulton Teachers College shared a similar experience in mentoring a sixth grade girl who was struggling with being bullied online. “It was a big moment for me to realize that those kinds of problems exist everywhere. So it’s important that students know people care and I think she really appreciated me being there for her.”

 

 

One of Frannie’s aha moments came while working in the school classrooms. “It’s really good to work with people from diverse backgrounds, who speak different languages and to experience those kinds of things because you never know who you’re going to end up working with, especially students who come from all walks of life.”

Read more about our University Service-Learning courses. 

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