All posts by calcultedcoldx2

Last Assignment

At the beginning of the semester, I was set on studying abroad in Malta and pursuing environmental science. Now, I’ve switched my major to history and switched my ideal location to go aboard. I want to go to Ireland. Cork and Dublin are two cities I would like to explore there. I also have fallen in love with the scenery that comes along with Ireland. I think going abroad during my Junior year at VCU would be most ideal. Obviously most of the classes I would be related to history. I’m currently reading a book about the war between the British and the Irish, leading to the formation of the Irish Republican Army. Being able to go where an event took place would really enhance my perspective and knowledge. My plan on incorporating going abroad with my degree plan would be easy: take and pass classes. I would be taking classes that will fulfil my major requirements therefore keeping me on track. I will most likely be using ISEP to go abroad. I like how it’s organized and it seems pretty easy navigate. Currently ISEP has four universities in Ireland that are connected with the program. Although when I add the “history (European history)” as my field of history, no results come up. That doesn’t bother me though, I’m sure that those 4 colleges have classes on history. For funding, I hope that my financial aid would cover a good portion of it, while scholarships would fulfill the remaining amount. Our last class was very helpful. I know I will definitely be taking advantage of the office and their resources. I know this is probably an absurd and short-lived goal but I can imagine myself moving to Ireland (probably in the south) and working as a curator in some museum. My favorite class was when we had the 3 foreign exchange students come in and talk about their life at VCU. It was really interesting to hear, from their point of view, what America, and more specifically VCU, was like. This course has prepared me enough that I now feel confident enough to begin the process of going abroad. Thanks to this class, I don’t feel overwhelmed when thinking about going abroad. I have a checklist of things I need to do in order to reach the goal. The knowledge I learned will never be forgotten and will (hopefully) always be remembered.

Week 14: Cultural Identities Case Study

I chose scenario 1.

I think that because I’m a woman, I stand out, and therefore I will be targeted for disgusting comments and catcalling. To hopefully solve some of these issues, I would first talk to my host family. It’s more than likely that theres a female in the household that could give me guidance or help with the harrassment and stalking I’m recieving from the men in Rabat. I feel confident that I could get some sort of a male escort or at least another woman to walk me to and from some of my destinations. I could also try talking to someone from the university I’m attending, whether it be a teacher or someone in administation. Certainly I wouldn’t be the first case of “sexual harassment” they’ve had…

Week 12 & 13: Thanksgiving

For Thanksgiving, it was just my mom and I. When I brought up going abroad, she sighed, rolled her eyes, and said, “Madelyn, not this conversation again.” She’s very aware that I want to go abroad, and she supports me 100% (and if she didn’t, I could easily bring up how my brother went to Rome for a summer to study Latin, so it’s only fair). She wants me to go to France, I want to go to Malta. However, after binging the BBC show ‘Peaky Blinders’ during break with her and falling in love with one of the lead actors who is from Cork, Ireland, we both want to go to Ireland. I haven’t looked into studying abroad in Ireland, but I imagine theres a nice program in place.

Week 11: Global Education

PART 1: I think the reason international students are having trouble making friends is because Americans view those international students as objects, rather than actual people. Yes, like the Inside Higher Ed article said, American students are helpful and friendly but they don’t know how to take it a step further and engage in a friendship. I have interacted with international students, but only in a classroom setting. I haven’t had the courage to ask one of them to hang out (well, I haven’t had the courage to ask anyone to hang out yet, international or American student…) I think a good way VCU can intergrate international and non international students is through the buddy system (like what VCU’s Globe does but on a larger scale). Any willing American student would be paired up based on interests and lifestyles with an international student. I know I would participate.

PART 2: I can mildly relate to his sense of culture shock. I’ve never been out of the country (or anywhere out of Virgina really) so I haven’t felt ‘international culture shock’ but i’ll say I experienced it to a smaller degree when I came to VCU. When classes started, I felt like I had a target on my back, like everyone knew I was a freshman. I know that is absolutley absurd and no one actually cares who or what you are, but it took a while to adjust. Like the student in the video felt, I also felt anxiety, loneliness, and frustration. I think, no matter where you go in the world, culture shock is the same (up to a certain degree). I think what he says about ‘the American Phrasebook’ is absolutley true. 100%. Especially after hearing from those 3 international students in class and how confused they were by someone asking ‘how are you?’ and keep on walking. An example of one of these phrases is “Later!” To Americans, ‘later!’ is just a harmless saying we use when leaving. But, in the French culture, it’s considered rude. I learned that from a French exchange student I befriended Senior year.

PART 3: I do think it’s possible to have just the same ‘cultural enriching’ experience in the States as it is ouverseas. Instead of living with a host family in Mexico, you could live with one in Texas or Los Angeles. They have the same exact culture, the only thing thats different is the location. The only difference I can think of is missing out on the travel or scenery, but then again you can travel in the U.S and see breathtaking sights just the same. In my opinion, people want to study abroad to leave the U.S., to go somewhere that’s a vacation, instead of culture. In other words, they chase the location and potiental ‘photo-opts’ instead of the culture.

PART 4: I think there should be a healthly equilibrium between how many domestic and international students there are at any given university. I think it’s important to have first generation U.S. students and international students considered for admission equally. I do think that lower-income students feel odd to be surounded by higher-income students, but that happens anywhere. The only example of ‘costs outweighing the benefits’ of having too many international students is just that- too many. If the majority of students at a university are international instead of domestic, then I think it would be appropriate to revaluate  the admission process.

Week 10: The Danger of a Single Story

This TED talk is one of my favorites. Last year in my dual enrollment english class, our professor showed it to us and asked the same questions as the week 10 assignment. I had trouble trying to think of a “single story” people may have about me. The ones I thought of felt silly, for example, I wear a lot of black so people may think I’m “goth” or “emo” or whatever they think a person who wears a lot of black is. It’s so absurd. It’s just a color and it matches everything! As a child, I thought that all of Africa was poor, underdeveloped, and housed all the ‘cool animals.’ I suppose that could be a “single story” I had. Now, I know better. I know that there are lots of developed, rich, areas of Africa. I believe that going abraod would either disprove or solidify one’s “single story” about a place or person. For the most part, I think “single stories” are false. They’re a belief that someone holds due to their lack of knowledge of a person or place.

Interview Assignment


1.You majored in art history, what made you decide to choose that path?

2.What job do you plan on having with that major? (hopefully she says museum curator because that’s what my notes say)

3.What specially about being a museum curator interests you?

4.Do you have a specific museum or location you would like to end up at?

5.Have you already had experience working in/at a museum? If so, which one(s) and what did you do?

6.I’m aware you studied abroad in Florence, what made you choose that location over say, Paris or somewhere in Spain?

7.What did you do to prepare yourself in going abroad and being immersed into a completely different culture (classes, research, etc.)

8.What three things did you learn from your time abroad that you’ve integrated into your life back in the States?

9.How did being able to visit world renown museums in Italy solidify you wanting to work with them in the future?

10.Do you think studying abroad put you above the majority of people who would also be applying to?


Interview Summary: Anna Jennings, 21, is a senior at James Madison University. In the spring, she will be graduating with a bachelors in art history. She is hoping to end up working in a musem, specifcally the MET or the MoMA. She would like to be a museum curator because she loves getting lost in researching an artist and their artwork, creating events to promote the exhibit, and talking to people about the art. She’s already had museum experience. Two summers ago she was an intern in the education department at the VMFA. She is also the gallery director at JMU for the student gallery, called artWorks. Last summer she studied abroad in Florence, Italy, an experience that completely changed her outlook on art, “Seeing an artpiece in a texbook or pictures of it online is one thing, but to see it in real life, right before your eyes… theres just something about that.” She chose Florence because she loves all the pieces from the Italian Renaissance. Botticelli and da Vinci are her favorite artists. To prepare for her trip, she took 3 semesters of Italian and a boatload of art history classes. She believes she’s at an advatage when it comes to applying for jobs in her career path due to her experience abraod.

Week 9: Ethical Global Engagement

Before reviewing week 9s readings, I was under the idea that volunteering overseas (specifically in an underdeveloped nation) was a very helpful, and needed, service. Now, however, my opinion has shifted. There was a girl who went to my high school, who I had many classes with. She was very open about her faith, which called upon its members to participate in overseas service (like volunteering with orphanages, repairing villages or help build communities). She went to a village in Africa, and the entire time posted pictures on social media with captions like, “my new family :)” “never want to leave” or “wish I could take them home with me!” I always felt odd, and a little uncomfortable with her captions… To me, I felt like she was only posting those pictures as a ‘social media boost.’ She thinks of herself as those kids savior (and yes, she says that whenever she tells her story). To me, it’s just bad taste.

I think it is possible to have a successful international volunteer trip. I think it just has to be correctly planned out by directors that know the correct way to go about volunteering. Its also important to ‘train’ the volunteers well before the trip (i.e. avoid a debriefing about the trip and the do’s and dont’s while in the airport on the way).

An incredible point that all of the readings highlighted was a con about the volunteer work. I never thought about the impact of having volunteers coming in and working with children, then getting up and leaving. If it bothers me having friends come in and out of my life, I cannot even imagine what it must be like for those children.


  1. What steps did you take to go about this service learning program ‘the right way’ (i.e. doing more good than harm with the volunteer work)
  2. Do you feel like you made a significant impact with the people/community that you volunteered with? If yes, what specifically did you do that you believe made the impact?


Week 10: Intercultural Development

After reading ‘A Developmental Model of Intercultural Sensitivity’ I believe I currently fall under the acceptance stage. I understand that there are people with cultures that are completely different than mine. I get that there is so much more to a persons culture than them, for example, not tipping. Culture is not something that can be easily explained. It’s, like Bennett said, “fluid and dynamic.” I’m interested in just what makes my culture different from someone from, say, the middle east. I don’t feel that just because someone has a different culture than me, that I should feel intimidated. There are still some parts of some cultures that don’t exactly scare me, more that I don’t fully understand, although I don’t judge that behavior or feel threatened. I would like to say that I’m, once again as Bennett said, “…Culturally sensitive, [and] are tolerant and have a sympathetic attitude.” I feel like while I’m in my host country for my semester abroad, I could fit into the intergration stage. I would pick up small parts of Malta’s culture and adapt to ‘fit in.’ I would adjust part of my culture, but still remain who I am.

Week 6: Financial Aid 101

I chose the link that came from NAFSA ( I chose to review this resource because the website was laid out very nicely and it was easy to find information. If I’m being honest, they also used a really nice font for the titles of the paragraphs and the spacing is elegant ,which is another reason why I chose it (being in graphic design for the past 4 years has trained me to observe, but this is beside the point.)

I didn’t know about FSEOG, so learning about that grant was new. I will be filling out a FAFSA for next year so I hope that the VCU financial aid office awards me with some money from FSEOG. Although it’s weird that there’s no seperate application for FSEOG, its run automatically through my FAFSA, and it’s all up to VCU. I hope they’re nice to me next year…

The paragraph that explained how the power of attorney would work when I go overseas was useful (even though it was small). It has crossed my mind that while overseas, I wont be able to sign my monthly check from a private source that gives me a monthly “allowance” to help with smaller college needs like food, supplies, etc. However, after reading that paragraph I feel better knowing my mom can sign it and deposit it into my account.

It’s nice to be able to say that most of the information on that site I knew thanks to this class. Getting money for college is really confusing but its helpful to see the information over and over again (and explained in different ways).

Week 5: Mock Scholarship Application Essays

Essay #1:

Being able to study abroad will undoubtedly change my life and introduce me to new experiences I would have never been able to encounter otherwise.

I have never had the luxury of going on family vacations that was not close to where I live. I’ve always been envious of my friends when they would get to go to California or even overseas. Most of them would treat the whole experience like it was nothing. Since I can remember, I have always been fascinated with other countries and cultures. I’m 18 and I have never been outside the United States. Living in Virginia, the furthest north I’ve been is D.C and the furthest south I’ve been is South Carolina. I have never been out west. I am tired of seeing the world from a Virginians point of view. I want to see how others view America and our culture.

I would like to study abroad at the University of Malta. I would go through the ISEP direct program because it is affordable, has my preferred location, and offers many classes in my desired major. Malta is my desired location because they are becoming one of the leaders in utilizing green technology and having an overall small carbon footprint. As someone who will be studying environmental studies, being able to stay in a place that uses it will allow me to have hands on experiences. Having those experiences will give me an advantage in the professional world. Even more so, saying that I studied green technology in Malta will surely make me stand out in the job market.

The largest obstacle that I face is the lack of funding. My family is very supportive of going abroad. Everyone in my family has gone to Europe, and some have even been elsewhere in the world. However, since the recession in 2010 my mother (who I live with) has been unemployed and supporting us from what she saved up. Paying for college was going to be a struggle but thankfully financial aid helped a great deal. Another smaller challenge is making sure the place I studied at offered classes that fulfils my major’s requirements and that the credits would successfully transfer back to my home college.

By going abroad, I hope to gain strength to my character. For example, I’m really shy. I don’t like asking questions or talking to strangers. By going overseas, I’ll be out of my comfort zone and will end up having to do things that I wouldn’t normally do in America. Approaching a stranger for directions or asking where the best place to eat will become a breeze for me.


Essay #2:

Studying abroad would allow me to create unforgettable memories. Sharing what I experiences abroad and encouraging others to travel would allow me to expand my experiences even longer. In order to promote the Gilman Scholarship and to further persuade other students to take their studies abroad, I created a project that would allow me to do just so. With the help of my home university’s education abroad office, I would create a presentation to lecture to current students about my experience abroad and how I was able to afford it (since that’s the most asked question). My university offers a class called UNIV 291: Maximizing your Study Abroad and with the partnership of the education abroad office, I would give my presentation in that class the next semester once I return home. I believe giving it in that class would be beneficial because the students in that class already show interest in going abroad. My presentation would include 3 parts: my experience, how I afforded it, and why you should go. The first part would be where I shared where I went, why I went, and what I did. The second part would be where I incorporate information about the Gilman Scholarship. Since I received a pell grant, I was eligible to apply for this scholarship. I would emphasize that studying abroad is in fact affordable, contrary to the common belief. The last aspect of my lecture would be where I urged students to take their studies abroad. The significance of studying abroad is beyond just going to another country for a month or so to gain school credit. Studying abroad is about getting outside of your comfort zone, getting lost, and experiencing life from a whole different perspective. If allowed by the education abroad office, I would expand my presentation to a booth at the study abroad fair. I could reach a larger audience of students at the fair and I would convert my presentation into a flyer.

My target audience would be students. Especially students who think expanding their education abroad is out of the picture. Hopefully hearing my experience will influence them to seek more information about the Gilman Scholarship and consider taking their education overseas. Integrating my experience into this project should be fairly easy.  Through my persuasive presentation, students would hopefully consider that studying outside their home university is a reality, not a dream.