In Their Own Words--Faculty and Staff
In Their Own Words: Faculty and Staff Perspectives
Instructor Lindsey Geary in Antartica
“I sailed around the tip of the Antarctica peninsula on two NSF (National Science Foundation) research expeditions where we conducted shipboard coring along the Antarctic national shelf. My main responsibility (or many) was to make smear slides for nonnofossils, diatom/radiolarians, and sediment composition. This experience gave me the material and research experience I needed to complete my master’s thesis and to choose a direction with my career. My favorite part of the experience was when we had to physically break through the ice shelf in order to research our coring destination. Words cannot describe the awe and wonderment a person feels when peering out over natural untouched frozen landscape.”
--Lindsey Geary, Instructor, Life Sciences
“’Judy…We’re in Ireland!’ I think I whispered that to my friend in every place and every stop we made.”
--Kate Barefoot, Assistant Registrar
“Leaving the U.S. and traveling to a third world country, like Viet Nam, gave me a greater appreciation for not only the great blessing our country affords, but a deeper appreciation that people show when their spirits are rich. The Vietnamese love of the things we tend to take for granted like education, hard work, sacrifice, and selflessness makes me feel in one sense it would be great not to have so many possessions that tie me down.
I found it strange to travel from a country that has so much to one that has so little—and that I could become richer by traveling there.”
--George Goerner, Professor, Business
“The textbook study of a foreign language is not the same as its practical application. Ordering a meal you have to pay for in Euros and eat in accordance with German culture (shake hands with everyone at the table before being seated; exchange “guten Appetit!” before taking and using your fork in your left hand even though you are right-handed) changes you. When you swing open your guest house window to watch a herd of sheep cross a modern suburban street a mere fifteen minutes up the hill from a gate built by Romans in 800 B.C., you get more than a scenic view. You gain a fresh perspective.
After traveling abroad, you might not be able to explain exactly how or why you see the world in a new way; you just know that all your senses have been enhanced. At the least, the discovery that cultural contrasts accent the essence of common experience is a lesson large enough to make global travel a value at any cost. “
--Leslie Goerner, Associate Professor, English
“Often it is the serendipitous encounter with the place you are visiting that makes the whole trip complete. I had spent the better part of two weeks visiting incredible works or art and architecture presented and discussed in the courses that I teach. But it was the last day, taking a chair lift to the island of Capri that took my breath away and made me realize this was the world ruled by the ancient Greek and Roman gods and goddesses. It was the natural beauty and 10 days’ immersion in the culture that helped me to see what inspired the works in the museums. “
--Colleen Bolton, Assistant Professor, Art
“Of all the times I have been to Italy, I had the most fun with the students of MV in May 2009. We laughed so much. The culture and scenic beauty were a joy as always. However, the enthusiasm of the students was a surprise bonus for me. I saw first hand the excitement foreign travel brings to students when they encounter that which is new and different.”
--Dennis Lee, Professor Emeritus
“Last fall I traveled to Dubai and Abu Dhabi, two emirates in the United Arab Emirates. I found many similarities and differences. One similarity is the technology higher education curriculum is modeled after ours in the U.S.—and in fact, the Soil and Mechanics foundation course textbook used there is the same as the one we use here, one written by MVCC Professor Emeritus David F. McCarthy! One difference is that in the United Arab Emirates, a person must be born into a native tribe to become a citizen—and there is no other way to become a citizen.”
--Frank Przybycien, Professor Emeritus
“Seeing the vitality of Seville, Barcelona, and Madrid is a remarkable experience in itself! Add to Rome, Florence, and Venice, the excitement of college students discovering a new world and of faculty forging new friendships, a trip becomes an unforgettable experience for faculty and students. The trips have been journeys of discovery, enchantment, and fun! The MVCC-sponsored trips have been a great way to be introduced to a country with great tour directors, friendly drivers and local guides, and the company of great students and colleagues.”
--Robert Christman, Associate Professor, Psychology
“To live abroad is to feel home in another flavor. I’ve made homes in various parts of the world, but the most significant was going to Cameroon in West Africa. Africa, if you let it, will change your life, and I don’t mean just adding more design or color to your memories. I left Cameroon—I didn’t know then and it’s only dawned upon me now how to call it—as a more sentient human being. What I miss most about Kumbo, the town where I lived, was conversation. There is a method of speaking, usually at an off-license with the glass bottles of soda and beer on the table, the breeze coming in from the dusty road, where both the heart and the mind feel electrified. The personal enters the intellectual realm, and all I remember was after speaking this way with a new friend was reminding myself, trying to fully believe it, ‘I’m in Africa. I’m in Africa.’”
--Sarah Beck, Instructor, English
"I think the most important factor in spending time outside the country is that it broadens your horizons. Too many of us do not get beyond our immediate community, region or state so that we do not know what we don’t know - but should. The world becomes smaller every day at a quickening pace. Whether we want to be or not, we are all members of the world community and are impacted indirectly, if not directly, by the events that occur daily.
To understand our place in the global community and that of other people, you must get out and meet them. You quickly learn that nearly everyone has the same hopes, desires and challenges that you have. That face-to-face meeting and building of a relationship with others quickly enhances your understanding of how the many varied pieces of the global community fit together and how you can or must work with it.
I was fortunate to experience a very broad spectrum of places and people. From living in an old shot-up apartment in Berlin to staying in the finest hotels in London, Paris and Hong Kong to sitting at a sidewalk kiosk in Mexico chomping tacos; and from meeting the President of the United States to a Vice Chairman of China to fine, worldly executives to the hustling factory workers one step away from the family farm or their peasant village, I felt comfortable and welcomed with all of them. You know that you are building successful relationships when those factory owners and workers alike invite you to their home to meet their family and have a meal. That does not happen a lot in the U.S."
--John Coleman, Instructor, Business
Dr. Sandra Engel
Director of International Education
Alumni College Center, Room 224
Telehone - 315.792.5450
Email Study Abroad