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Posted by: kolischakcw on 05/16/2017 - 3:36pm

I’m the only one from App left here. I have the opportunity to stay for an extra 2 weeks (one of which has passed already) and, finally, I feel like I’m getting the hang of things here. The schedule has me running around to 10 different classes throughout a week (not counting subbing!), but it is (almost) the same every week. I know which class is which now, and more or less what eachs’ English levels are, and I’ve gotten better at slowing down my talking, and being less nitpicky about details. As a scientist I was trained to be exceedingly nit picky about details, it’s a big switch.

It’s hard to write these blogs; by their very nature they cannot tell (anywhere close to) the whole story (And, of course, there are parts I would not want to share with the world, and, I assume, parts you would not like to hear). Words (and especially writing) have always been hard for me… there has been a lot of backspacing here. How to begin to say what I have learned when I don’t yet (fully) know myself? Reading these blogs you can’t really understand… so much. I think I am starting to get what (some of) our philosophers mean by “the more you learn the less you know”.

Standards are less of a constraint here and I feel blessed with the topic freedom Heidi has given me to teach during my last two weeks with the 10th graders (as their English skills are permitting). It makes me stop and think, what do I think is most important, given only a few more hours with a class. Last Friday I taught them a lesson on mindfulness, Monday I presented on my adventures as a canoe guide in Canada, and later this week I will try to explain, in basic terms, the nature of science. To my knowledge, none of them had heard of mindfulness before, and I felt weird being the one introducing it to almost 30 people. Having researched and reflected on the topic, I am struck by irony. We (as teachers and a society) ask our students (in Germany and the US) to focus; listen to me, read this, write this, be quiet and do your work. We are frustrated because, consistently, students have trouble focusing, yet we are not surprised. We even expect it to be difficult for students to focus. This isn’t my question originally but… as the benefits are clear, why aren’t we bringing mindful practices into our classrooms around the world?

 

 

 

 

 

 

Posted by: pughcg on 05/16/2017 - 3:35pm

I can’t believe I’m on my way home. While I was in Germany, and so many other beautiful places, five weeks seemed like quite a while. Looking back, it seems like I left only last week. Of course everyone is going to say that, but it’s true and it’s important. We often wish away the present with hopes for the future. Maybe if we pay more attention to the moment we’re in, we’ll live better lives. During this time, I’ve learned as much about myself as I have about education. I’ll focus on the education for now, though.

There were obvious differences between my classroom in the United States and the ones I saw in Germany. Somewhere along the way I realized these differences are probably like differences found in the United States. Classrooms within one school can be as opposite as night and day because a unique person teaches each one. The more important change was a cultural one. This program has been like a thought experiment. A wonderful, profound, and reflective thought experiment.

 

Would I be different if I had been born to German parents? Would I be doing the same things? Would I have the same goals? Were we helping the students at the Gutenbergshule or were they helping us? Did the faculty need American students in their English classes? Is travel an essential part of living? Is it bad to stay at home forever?

 

I’ve learned the answers to these questions can be different for anyone.

 

For me, you could say this program quenched my thirst. I found what I was looking for; I breathed German, French, Italian, Belgian, and Czech air. I saw ancient places and fumbled around in foreign languages. I also met hundreds of people who were as different as they were the same. I missed home. I thought, maybe staying where I’m from isn’t so bad. It isn’t giving up or being ignorant. It’s community.

 

I love to travel. I love how surprised I am each time I see a new city, each time I think I finally understand how gigantic the world is. It’s funny to see Italians unfazed by the beautiful canals of Venice, just like we can be unfazed by our homes. I think, instead of running out to find a place better than home, I should think about what makes my home wonderful.

 

P.S.

 

Here are a few tips for future travelers to lovely Karlsruhe:

 

The main street is called Kaiserstrasse; I took some small comfort in thinking of it as a rough translation of King Street.

The best bakery is behind the Europaplatz mini-mall, on Waldstrasse; it’s called Patisserie.

The second floor of the Thalia bookstore has free Wi-Fi and fairly-priced coffee. I loved to sit there and watch people in the street while working on these blogs or job applications. 

Posted by: robinsoner on 05/12/2017 - 2:16am

Greetings from America!

I arrived home from England yesterday, so I'm a little sleep deprived and extremely upset because of having to leave so soon. These past five weeks have flown by so quickly and I truly enjoyed my time abroad, I just wish I could have stayed longer. I will forever be grateful for the opportunity I had to internationally student teach and will remember all the memories that were created while abroad.

Our last week at Wroxham was extremely sad because of having to say goodbye to the students. Many of the students didn't know that Friday was my last day until Friday came. That week, I got the chance to read with some more of the students that I hadn't gotten the chance to read with the week before. When the teachers and other helpers come in to read with the students, they have each student read 3-4 pages and then the students receive a comment in their reading log. As I began to read with some of the children, many wanted to read past the 3-4 pages and go onto read the rest of their book. Many of the students love to read, which is great that it's being encouraged at such an early age. Other than reading, I got the chance to take some notes and observations based on the students and their behavior. The head teacher gave me a notation sheet so that I was able to write observations down since I was becoming more familiar with their standards. My last day with the students, they gave me a card and drew me several pictures to send home with me. I was instantly tackled with hugs and comments like "we'll miss you so much!" I do miss them and wish that I was back with them. I learned about all the planning that went into preparing all the different stations and activities for the students, and I have the most respect for all the teachers at Wroxham.

My last week in England, I decided to explore during any free time that I had. The last weekend, I stayed behind in Potters Bar and ventured into the city to see a couple more shows and go to places I had never been before. I explored Chinatown, Soho, Oxford Street, and past Trafalgar Square. I also got the chance to see David Tennant in a show my last night and meet Andrew Garfield at the stage door of the show he's currently in. Needless to say, this theatre student is happy but theatre-d out. One day, I just walked until I found a street I had never been down before and followed it to see where it led. London has so much to offer and now more than ever, I know I want to move there at some point in my life. It may be five years or it may be 50 years, but some day I will move there. It just feels like home.

I'm so glad I got the chance to live with a lovely family who took great care of us, student teach at a beautiful school, and explore places I had never been before. I can't wait to tell my family, friends, and future students about my experiences while on this trip.
To anyone who wants to internationally student teach, just do it! Fundraise like crazy and save up all you can. The chance to be involved in the program is a once in a lifetime opportunity, so just go for it!! You'll learn so much and have the best time traveling around and experiencing everything about the culture.

Now, it's time to graduate!

 

Posted by: murppymm on 05/11/2017 - 5:47pm

I cannot believe that my time at South Africa has come to an end. It feels just like yesterday when I was anxiously trying to pack. Throughout my college experience, I have always been searching for as many different opportunities that will impact me as a person and make me a better-rounded educator. This was definitely one of the most life changing journeys I have ever been a part of.

Five unforgettable weeks spent in South Africa doing more than I could have ever imagined and wished for. Overall, the most inspirational part of the trip was being able to do my student teaching at Matshangule Primary School. That school, the educators, the staff, and learners there all hold a very special place in my heart. Everyone at the school were so grateful, loving, welcoming, and excited about any and every thing.

This whole experience truly made me reflect on the actual necessities in life and in the classroom. As a future educator, I now know to utilize the simplest things in your classroom, which can ultimately save you tons of money. I learned how you don’t need the latest technology to be able to impact students lives but you just need to be a loving and dedicated educator. My classroom felt like a little family just like school did.

On the last day, the students did not have to wear their uniforms and they were encouraged to wear their traditional Zulu attire. Their attire was absolutely breathtaking from the jewelry to the dresses to the hats, I was amazed. Most of every one at the school was dressed in their cultural attire. My immediate thought was “I NEED some of this beautiful handmade jewelry,” because I know that I would not find anything like it back at home. The whole day was like a huge family gathering filled with tons of laughter, tears, singing, dancing, and love. I left with a full heart, memories that I will cherish forever, and beautiful jewelry that they had given us.

For anyone wanting to do this program, DO IT! You will NOT regret it. I know that because of this opportunity I have bettered myself in more ways than I can even describe. The University of Zululand, our go-to person there, the four year students, every one that we met, the experiences that we had, and the school that we were honored to be a part of have stolen a piece of my heart. I am so excited to be able to take this experience and bring it into my future classroom. 

Posted by: collinsam on 05/11/2017 - 3:55pm

Leaving this week was so bittersweet.  After two weeks working with the students and staff from one of the autism classes, I was just feeling like we were getting in the swing of things when it was time for goodbyes.  This week in the classroom felt like the beginning of a good new groove – I knew the students fairly well and was getting good at reading their body language, being proactive with behaviors, and knowing what to do and say to get those smiles and help calm anxious minds.  I was building relationships with the staff and started to feel like a true part of the team of teachers in the autism classroom – we chatted in the mornings and on break, we shared knowing smiles, we tag-teamed when we could tell one-another needed a break.  It was truly an honor and pleasure to get to work with the special education teachers that I met at Greystones.  Each of those teachers has a knack for working with youth on the autism spectrum and has a special way of connecting with each of the students in their own unique ways.  I wish I could have more time with these students and teachers – I would have loved to have been able to spend a full five weeks with them but am thankful for the time shared nonetheless.

 

During my time at Greystones, I learned some ways that the Special Education system in Ireland is different to the system we have established in the United States.  I had the opportunity to talk with a special education director and consultant in Ireland and he told me that the laws and systems in place to protect the rights of students with special needs in the United States provide a model of sorts for the Irish education system and many other countries around the world.  I was surprised to learn that preservice teachers in Ireland don’t have the option of majoring in special education – all of the teachers get a general education degree in university and then teachers can take special education jobs and receive more specific trainings pertaining to disability categories, classroom management, behavior management, communication, special education law, etc. once they are teaching in the classroom setting.  The teacher in my class working with the students with autism did not have a special education or autism background from university and learned what she knows through on-the-go trainings and working with students in the classroom.  This makes me appreciate my degree in Special Education all the more.  I am so thankful to be able to enter my teaching career with a specialization in my studies, trainings, and field experiences that has equipped me to meet the specialized needs of my students with unique abilities through a deeper understanding of their challenges, best teaching practices for such, and classroom management training that thinks proactively and analytically about the function of students’ behaviors.  I won’t take that training or degree for granted as now I have a wider perspective that reminds me that not all countries, teachers, and education programs have the focus on special education that we have developed and continually need to develop in the U.S.

 

Another thing different about the school in Greystones is the amount of experiences and opportunities that students have that aren’t strictly academic.  Special education can so easily be driven by the IEP goals in the U.S. that students rarely get to have self-exploration or free choice time and working at Greystones reminded me of the importance of providing empowering educational experiences that develop the whole person of the student, not just their academic skills.  With working with students on the autism spectrum, it is important to consider their unique social, communicative, and sensory needs as well as their academic strengths and needs.  I have been in many settings where students on the autism spectrum were included in general education settings but expected to conform to the strict behavior norms and learning interests of peers and curriculum and seemingly stifled from developing and experiencing their wide range of social and sensory needs.  The classroom at Greystones really let the students live into their unique selves while still empowering them to have positive social interactions with peers, process their emotions, and take pride in their work and accomplishments – even if they were in a different place academically than their peers. 

 

One unique way the Greystones students with autism get to build their confidence and pride is through therapeutic horseback riding.  This week our students had the opportunity to travel to their first therapeutic horseback riding experience of the term and I was able to go with the class.  I had experienced horseback riding with youth with autism in a summer camp setting and was interested to see how our students reacted to the horses.  The staff at the stable insisted on working with the students one-on-one without a school teacher during the sessions with each student and it was exciting to see our students (even those who seemed at first unsure of themselves) take ownership of their riding experience.  They each showed pride in their own ways after their turn was over.  The students got to ride on the horses without a saddle or stirrups.  As part of this stable’s therapy session, the students sat on a mat on the horse’s back to facilitate their oneness with the horse and overall sensory experience.  The students had to engage their muscles and move as one with the horse.  I saw several students adjust their balance when they slid too far to one side or the other of the horses’ back and all of the students carried a calm demeanor – it seemed as if they could sense that this experience was important as they bonded with their horses and gained confidence in their riding abilities.  I love that Greystones partners with a local stable for therapeutic horseback riding for the students as equestrian therapy can be very grounding and empowering for students – I think these students are incredibly lucky to get to go to this stable once a week now and see experience as a valuable extension of their education in the school as it builds their confidence, engages their muscles and balance, and helps them practice social communication skills with other teachers and adults while also learning about how to appropriately approach horses and the large, sweet old black lab at the stable. 

 

 

This picture is one of my favorites from the trip as I am a sentimental one.  I was sitting next to one of my students on the bus ride back from the stables just chatting with him, pointing out the sheep, cows, and various plants of interest as we rode through the country side.  My little buddy casually took my hand as I asked him a question about sheep and my heart melted.  Some youth with autism have low sensory thresholds and dislike physical contact like hugs or handshakes and this little one didn’t often initiate physical contact with anyone else.  But I loved that he felt content and comfortable enough with me to just take my hand.  And then he started to drift off to sleep.  He had such a big and exciting day and I love that he had let me interact with him over the last two weeks – and I had to work at it and pick my timings and interactions very strategically to get to know him.  But moments like this mean the most to me as a teacher.  When you have little glimmers that let you know that your students feel like you are one of their people, on their side, and that you care for them.  To me, that is bigger than any test score or academic success because I think that for most of the students I will work with, my belief in them and building a safe and supportive relationship is what helps them believe in themselves and grow.  

 

I cannot believe that this experience has come to an end.  It feels as if my time in Ireland has been a blink – but it also feels as if I’ve been settled and living here for a whole semester.  While I’m eager to rejoin my loved ones and celebrate graduation, there are many things I will miss about my time here.  It turned out to be a set apart season of rest and personal growth.  The rest seems counter-intuitive, as travel isn’t restful.  Yet my day-to-day pace of life while in Greystones was like balm to my soul.  I loved spending time by the sea each day – there’s something very centering and rejuvenating to me about soaking in the sounds and sights of an often tumultuous sea and getting that fresh, salty sea breeze dancing across (or smacking against) my face.  I also feel like I have more confidence in my ability to take on any new circumstance – be it travels, adventures, or circumstances with unknown logistics.  With a good head on my shoulders and the ability to function well under stress during travels, I have a new appreciation for myself and think that will help me say “YES” to more new, unique, and challenging opportunities I might have counted myself out for prior to traveling and living abroad.  I would highly recommend international travel experiences to anyone who wants to learn more about themselves – especially if you travel without your usual crowd.  Travelling without your family or close friends gives you a lot of quality time to learn about your self. 

 

I will always be thankful for the time I spent during International Student Teaching in Ireland getting to know myself on a deeper level and know that I’m coming home stronger than ever to take on this next year of grad school and whatever else the future may hold. 

Posted by: morrismw1 on 05/11/2017 - 11:48am

Wow, where has the time gone. These past few weeks have flown by and it is so difficult to say goodbye. The students have been fantastic, but I know new adventures await me as soon as I land.

A quick update on this past weekend, I went to Austria. This was an awesome adventure where I had the opportunity to go on a biking tour of the Sound of Music! Oh, my gosh how the hills came alive. This was an adventure of a lifetime, and I was so glad I could experience this. The movie has been a favorite in my family since I was born, so to see the actual places where it was filmed was truly amazing! I cannot wait to take these experience, and share them with my family.

These past few weeks with the students have taught me a lot. They have taught me many things about the English culture, but also about being a teacher. I still believe the most important part of teaching are the connections and relationships. After just 12 days of being in the class with these students I made that connection. This is always the hardest thing to say goodbye to. The city has been wonderful, the different places have been fantastic, but having the opportunity to work with the students in Potters Bar was a life changing experience.

Over these past few weeks I could experience different parts of Europe, and have a life changing opportunity. I could witness different cultures, and be a part of the English culture. This opportunity has truly changed my life, and I cannot wait to share these experiences with my future students.  

Posted by: eubankscm on 05/11/2017 - 10:29am

Where do I even begin?

My experience in Germany has been a whirlwind of an adventure. It feels as if I only just arrived there, yet the world outside tells me the opposite is true. In the five weeks I've been here, the bare branches of the trees have slowly evolved into limbs bursting with life and color. The way the world changes is not something that is easily noticeable each day, but after a period of time, the difference is clearly there. And I realize that I, too, have changed.

In this experience, I feel that I have done more learning than teaching. And that isn't a bad thing. In fact, it's quite the opposite. I have learned a lot about myself as a teacher.

For one, I never realized how dependent I was on technology when it comes to implementing lessons. In the United States, the use of technology is encouraged in the classroom. Educators are evaluated on how well they integrate it in their teaching as part of a "21st century skill." In Gutenbergschule, technology is pretty much nonexistent in the classroom. Some classrooms have old-school overheard projectors, and the only rooms that have projectors (which the teachers call "beamers") are the computer labs. And the school only has two of those - one with desktops and one with laptops. I did have a conversation today with one teacher who said that some of the other schools in Karlsruhe receive more funding and therefore use more technology. The students are also not allowed to have their phones at all in class, and they must put their phones in the "Handy-box" before class begins ("Handy is the German word for cell-phone). I will admit, it has been nice not having to constantly tell the students not to text in class!

I have also realized the difficulties of co-teaching. In most cases, all four members of our cohort, as well as Heidi, our host teacher, were in the same room of about 25 students. Five teachers in one classroom is a lot! Often many of us would stand to the side and simply observe. We also had difficulties when it came to planning lessons because we all have our own way of planning and preparing. I found that I rarely took on the "main" role of a teacher, and I mostly assisted my cohort members in implementing their ideas, or I would chime in with supplemental information or instructions. However, this past Monday when Chris and I were the only two remaining student teachers, I decided to teach the 10th grade class about American politics. I was afraid that the topic might be too difficult for them to grasp, but I decided to give it a shot. And it went really well! I discussed with them some basics, such as the three branches of government and the idea of check and balances, the role of our Constitution and the Bill of Rights, as well as our voting system and the electoral college. The students told me that they enjoyed the lesson because they aren't taught about the American government system, even through they always hear about American politics. It was also interesting to listen to what they had to say about America's current political climate.

I will miss all of the students that I met at Gutenbergschule. They were bright and curious, and it was a pleasure to get to know them and have the opportunity to teach them. I will miss Heidi, as well. She went out of her way to make us feel at home and comfortable, and was always there for advice and guidance. She was absolutely wonderful host, and I am ever grateful to her.  

I also learned a lot about myself outside of the classroom. As a lover of adventure and travel, I was surprised to discover that I don't really enjoy traveling alone. I don't mind sightseeing by myself because I can go at my own pace, but as far as transportation, I become far too anxious. Perhaps this started from day one, with my unfortunate experience at the Charlotte airport when my flight was cancelled. Whenever I traveled by train by myself, I was afraid that something would go wrong, like I'd miss my train or I'd have the wrong ticket. They were irrational thoughts; I knew I was prepared, but my anxious brain chose not to accept that. I like traveling with others even if it is simply just to have the reassurance that everything is fine. Plus, it's just nice to have a someone to share experiences and make memories with. Luckily for me, I have a list of people who have said they'd love to be my travel buddies, so I'm looking forward to future adventures with them. :)

Additionally, I was surprised that I actually missed America. Even though I identify as German-American and have lived in Germany before, there were still aspects of the culture that were foreign to me. In America, I understand the culture and the way of life, and it's not something I ever give much thought to. The German way of life, however, is not something that I'm used to, even though I've lived it before. I often worried that I was doing something wrong. For instance, sometimes when I'd smile or greet strangers, they would just give me a strange look. That made me realize how friendly people are in the American South; if you smile and wave at a stranger, they typically smile and wave back. It's not an uncommon or odd thing. Maybe it's a little silly, but I also missed free water from restaurants. In Germany, you have to pay a euro or two if you want some water. I will miss so many things about Germany, however: how everyone rides a bicycle, the ease of public transportation, bakeries with fresh baked goods around every block, ice cream shops around every block, Kinder Eggs, the wide variety of Haribo gummies, the wide variety of cheeses that don't cost an arm and a leg, how all the shops close on Sundays and holidays so people have the opportunity to spend time with their families, different festivals every weekend... the list could go on and on...

And to that I'll say, "Auf Wiedersehen." In German, it means "goodbye," but a more literal translation would be something more along the lines of "until we see each other again."

Until we meet again, Germany. It was a privilege. 

Claire

Posted by: beamle on 05/10/2017 - 8:36pm

As I drove back to Boone, I was finally able to reflect on everything that I was able to accomplish in the last five weeks.  I visited 6 countries, walked over 230 miles, taught 23 second graders, and made friends that will last a lifetime.  I am still in awe that I had the opportunity to live and teach in Ireland. 

Our last week at Greystones Educate Together was nothing short of amazing.  We didn't have school Monday because it was a Bank Holiday, so Holly and I went to the Powerscourt waterfall with our host family.  We even got to hold baby lambs on our way home that evening.  On Tuesday, I was back in Katie's first class with the most incredible children.  I took half of the class swimming at the local indoor pool while Katie stayed back with the rest of the class.  One of my favorite things about the education in Ireland is that they value life skills.  It is important that children know how to swim and these students are able to learn that skill at a young age.  I taught my students a lesson on North Carolina on Thursday and made NC salt maps with them on Friday.  On Friday, the school had an assembly to recognize all of the American students.  Everyone in the school was so kind and it was extremely hard to leave.  I can't wait to have my own classroom so that I can use many of the practices I learned in Ireland. 

  

On Friday, we took of to Austria to explore Vienna and Salzburg.  Holly and I met up with Sarah and Mason from the England cohort for our trip.  We started at the Schonbrunn Palace in Vienna and spent most of the morning admiring the gardens from a hill above the palace.  After visiting the Palace, we went downtown to see a cathedral.  It has always been a dream of mine to visit Austria because my studied there in college.  I loved getting to share the same experience as my dad had at the same age.  That evening, we headed to Salzburg via train.  On Sunday, we took a Sound of Music bicycle tour! We biked around the city while visiting all of the filming locations.  I was in heaven! About a third of the way through the tour, it started to pour rain but I didn't even mind because I had the opportunity to see scenes from one of my favorite movies.  Austria was definitely one of my favorite places in Europe and I can't wait to go back. 

 

 

Holly and I traveled back to Ireland on Monday afternoon and then shared a nice dinner with our host family that evening.  On Tuesday, we packed up early and headed for the airport to comeback to the US.  I was ecstatic to see my family, but I was sad to leave my Irish friends.  I have learned so much about traveling and about myself during this experience and I can only hope that I'll be able to visit Ireland again. 

Posted by: murppymm on 05/10/2017 - 12:51pm

Wow! Talk about a weekend of adventure and many situations of second guessing our decisions. A long weekend spent in Durban (Wednesday afternoon until Tuesday Morning) because of the national holiday April 27th, which is Freedom Day and May 1st, which is Workers’ Day. We spent this weekend diving with sharks AND completing something in the Guinness Book of World Records. This was not your casual weekend but it definitely was an incredible one.

On Friday April 28th we woke up at 4:30am for our first epic adventure… SHARK DIVING! We got picked up by a taxi service and then traveled from Berea (where we were staying) to Aliwol Shoals (where the shark diving was) and it was about a 45 minute drive. Once we arrived to Blue Wilderness, the manager of the company immediately welcomed us and told us to make ourselves at home. We watched a video on the diving experience and she told us that we did NOT have to use the cage!!! My heart dropped to my stomach and I thought there is no way I will get out of that cage. She said that it was our choice to go out of the cage and we did not have to decide until we were out on the water, yet she highly encouraged us to not use the cage. After more discussion on safety procedures, we headed to the shore of the Indian Ocean. We then had to pay close attention to the safety procedures of the boat. We had to go so fast over the waves out to the ocean and once it become a little calmer, the guy looked at us and said “congratulations you just got through the most dangerous part of the trip.” After about a ten minute ride out, we got to our destination. They gave us our fins, goggles, snorkels, and they began the process of us hopping into the water. Looking into the water before hopping into the water was remarkable because of how clear the water was. Our whole boat decided not to use the cage once we were out there because when would we have this incredible opportunity again?! We hopped in and the Oceanic Blacktip Sharks about 3-6 feet long just casually were swimming all around. I had a moment of panic thinking that one of these sharks were bound to take a bite of me but luckily they only ate sardines and small fish. We were out in the water for an hour and no matter how many times a shark swim against me I was in awe the entire time. Sharks are seriously beautiful animals that are definitely perceived as vicious but this changed my perspective of them.

On Saturday April 29th we went to experience the HIGHEST SWING IN THE WORLD at 288 feet and 8 inches! Not only was this just in a soccer stadium but it was in the Moses Mabhida Stadium which is where the 2010 World Cup was held! We got there, went over safety procedures, got our gear on, and headed up to the top of the stadium. Oh and they assigned us a number for the order to jump in and I was jumper number ONE! The climb up to the jumping platform was not an easy climb… it was 352 steps up the side. I definitely had to take numerous breathers walking up all those stairs. Once we got to the top, there was no time for me to relax or second guess myself. They had you go down a ladder onto a platform where two guys told you to place both of the tips of your feet over the edge. There was no time to stop and turn back around because they immediately counted down from three very quickly and there you went jumping off. This was absolutely terrifying but I do not regret it one bit! Once I stopped swinging at the bottom, I did not realize that they have to bring you back up to the platform that you jumped off. This was definitely the scariest part for me! I am so glad that we all did this and did not back out!

For the rest of the weekend, we just enjoyed ourselves at North Beach in Durban watching South Africa’s Longboarding Championships, shopping at the markets, and soaking up some sun. We made the most out of this weekend like we have with every single one of our weekends. I truly loved pushing myself and accomplishing things I never imagined I would have before.

 

Posted by: thompsonlk on 05/10/2017 - 3:32am

Greetings from Salzburg!! 

 This trip has been an absolute dream! I've loved the time to reflect on my teaching experience and carefully place this bookend to my college career. We've explored the city, walking in Julie Andrews' footsteps, and are drinking in the very distinct charm of the old town of Salzburg.  I am so incredibly grateful for the opportunity to travel abroad and study with people who are different from me. This program depicts a university that is invested in universal learning and the connections and relationships established by travel and adventure. Every person I've spoken to about our International Student Teaching program has been so impressed that Appalachian State shows such an interest in expanding teaching and learning experiences beyond our own classrooms. I am convinced now more than ever that if we can learn to listen and learn from others about what works for them in their classrooms and in their cultures we can help our own students to succeed in ways we never thought were possible.  Cheers, Katie 

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