Education Abroad welcomes WV Governor's STEM Institute
During the 2019 summer, two groups of rising West Virginia 8th graders took part in the West Virginia Governor’s STEM Institute at West Virginia University; a program that brings together promising math and science students from across the state.
During their time at GSI, students made a special visit to WVU’s Office of Global Affairs to meet with the Education Abroad team. The program’s theme was “Going Places – the Math and Science of Transportation”, which tasked students to plan a two-week international trip to five different European cities; making Education Abroad the perfect destination for research.
Education Abroad staff worked with the students to help them understand differences in culture. When asked about what they believed were popular parts of American culture, students were quick to respond with their ideas.
“It’s food, like hamburgers or Mountain Dew!"
“It’s things we do in West Virginia, like hunting.”
“What about religion?”
Coordinators took time to explain that there is more to American culture than meets the eye and how it differs from parts of the world. America is a melting pot full of different religions, foods, customs, ideas, and people.
Students also learned about cultural sensitivity; meaning thinking, acting, and communicating appropriately in different cultures. Examples of this are asking thoughtful questions about why someone does or says the things they do.
Throughout the field trip students learned that everyone, from every country, has different things that makes where they come from special. To help with their project of planning an international vacation, coordinators talked about different modes of transportation to get around other countries, and safe ways to explore the new surroundings.
Of course, no presentation is complete without food! Samples of food from France, Germany, Spain, and Italy were passed around to help give students the full experience of an international vacation.
This field trip hosted by Education Abroad was the first of its kind and gave students a unique way to apply their skills to a task while learning about the ever-growing world around them.
“The students could not stop talking about their experience,” said GSI supervisor Cristina Fiorentino. “They loved the food, loved the stories, and really enjoyed learning about culture. We had conversations all week that tied back to our field trip!”