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Group of students and staff discover themselves on study abroad trip

Going to another country to teach elementary-aged children English is no easy task, but for the 10 FGCU students and four staff members, it was a mission in which they were willing to pursue.

The trip would last three weeks, two of which would be dedicated to teaching the kids while the last week would be dedicated to exploring Hungary and Austria.

To begin the trip, many of the members of the group were nervous because they had either never been to Europe or had never taught kids whose dominant language was not English. They were not sure what to expect but traveled with an open mind and a positive attitude.

To begin the trip, the group split up, as three of the students were early elementary school education majors. They taught children in the town of Sopron, which is located on the Northwest corner of Hungary, near the border between Hungary and Austria.

The other group, were elementary and second education majors, and they taught kids in Jászbernény, which is a city about an hour East of Budapest.

The students and staff from FGCU were able to successfully have cross-cultural commination with the Hungarian students due to the great relationship that FGCU has with the University of West Hungary. The relationship between the two universities helped the students develop language and communication strategies that helped make teaching in the classrooms easier.

For the teaching portion of the trip, many of the students said the education system there was a lot different from what they were used to in the U.S. because teachers had a lot less resources to work with. In the U.S., students have an abundance of textbooks and computers to use as resources, but in Hungary, there aren’t as many. The students said it took some time to get used to, but the Hungarian teachers provided much assistance to make it easier.

The most important part of the trip was when the FGCU students used what they had learned while studying and applied them to a real classroom. They applied them successfully in an international classroom, and the students were extremely proud of what they had accomplished, saying that FGCU really did a great job preparing them for their teaching careers.

After teaching the Hungarian students, the entire group went on excursions around the country. They visited historic sites and met a countless number of people who showed them the culture of the area and made the trip not only a great learning experience but also an exciting one. They visited a local artist’s home and were taught a traditional art form of jewelry making.

These students and staff members experienced a once-in-lifetime trip, in which they not only learned new things about the places they visited but also learned a lot about themselves. They were in a new place and accomplished everything they wished to do when they planned the trip.

Students that participated in the Study Abroad Internship Program were Shandez Baker, Ashley Chamberlin, Danielle Christy, Lindsay Iliopoulos, Amanda McCullough, Cecelia Morales, Katelyn Morris, Anna Osorio and Miranda Shatto. Staff members who participated were Carolynne Gischel, Jackie Greene, Dianne Kratt, Jill Sherman and Tunde Szecsi.

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