Tag Archives: education

A Semester in Italy – Florence University – by Sara Desrocher. The North Star Reports: Global Citizenship and Digital Literacy, at NorthStarReports.org and facebook.com/NorthStarReports

A Semester in Italy – Florence University – by Sara Desrocher. The North Star Reports: Global Citizenship and Digital Literacy, at NorthStarReports.org and facebook.com/NorthStarReports

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Buonasera, I am reaching the halfway point of my semester here in Montespertoli, Italy. Time is flying by! My classes are a little different from back home; I am taking a couple 4 credit classes, an Italian course, an Independent Study Project, an internship and field trips every once in a while. Last week our field trip was to the University of Florence where we got to sit in on an Economics class. I enjoyed this because I could experience what an Italian college class is like; turns out that it is very similar to my classes at St. Scholastica. The classroom was equipped with a projector, used for a PowerPoint to go along with the lecture. I noted some differences with the classroom in itself. The chairs are connected behind the table, condensing them so that more rows can fit into the room. This means that in order to get into middle seats, the students on the outside all have to move to let people in and out. You want to make sure you use the restroom before this class so you don’t have to make half of the row stand up for you! There are coat hangers on the wall so that you don’t have to try to keep your coat at your feet.

Another difference within the classroom at Florence is the large doors leading outside. There doors are emergency exits but they are used by students during the break, which is about 20 minutes long. Students and professors take advantage of this break to either go to the cafe for an espresso or take a smoke break. The picture features students from multiple classes smoking outside of the classrooms during the break. The class in itself is very similar to other classes that I have taken. The professor gave a lecture while students took notes on the PowerPoint. One thing that I noticed is that many of the students spent the first 15 minutes of the lecture on their phones. I chuckled at the familiarity of seeing the girl in front of me scroll through her Instagram.

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I take my classes in a room at the residence that I am staying at; two different professors come here to teach us. One thing that I noticed right away that I was not used to is the flexibility with class time. Class starts at 9:30 but it usually doesn’t actually start until 9:40 or so, as students make their way in. The professors tend to run past the end of class as well, it is not uncommon for class to get out 10-15 minutes past the end of the hour so that they can finish their lesson. After this, we have a large lunch break. It is usually around two and a half hours. This is the universal lunchtime throughout the city, nearly all of the shops and stores will be closed. The people of the town all return home to spend time preparing and eating lunch while leaving time for naps or anything that they need to do before headed back to work.

About our special correspondent Sara Desrocher: I am a junior at St. Scholastica majoring in Computer Science with a concentration of Software Engineering. I am staying in a small town about 25 minutes outside of Florence, Italy with a HECUA program. My current studies are focused on Agriculture and Sustainability, which is very interesting to learn about in Europe. I chose this program because Italy has always been a place that I wanted to visit, mainly due to the fact that my great-grandfather came here from southern Italy. This is my first time in Europe and it has been quite the experience so far. I am excited for even more experiences as I gain a better understanding of the community!

Please contact Professor Liang if you wish to write for The North Star Reports — HLIANG (at) css.edu

See also, our Facebook page with curated news articles at http://www.facebook.com/NorthStarReports

The North Star Reports: Global Citizenship and Digital Literacy (http://NorthStarReports.org) is a student edited and student authored open access publication centered around the themes of global and historical connections. Our abiding philosophy is that those of us who are fortunate enough to receive an education and to travel our planet are ethically bound to share our knowledge with those who cannot afford to do so. Therefore, creating virtual and actual communities of learning between college and K-12 classes are integral to our mission. In three years we have published over 250 articles covering all habitable continents and a variety of topics ranging from history and politics, food and popular culture, to global inequities to complex identities. These articles are read by K-12 and college students. Our student editors and writers come from all parts of the campus, from Nursing to Biology, Physical Therapy to Business, and remarkably, many of our student editors and writers have long graduated from college. We also have writers and editors from other colleges and universities. In addition to our main site, we also curate a Facebook page dedicated to annotated news articles selected by our student editors (http://www.facebook.com/NorthStarReports). This is done by an all volunteer staff. We have a frugal cash budget, and we donate much of our time and talent to this project. The North Star Reports is sponsored and published by Professor Hong-Ming Liang, NSR Student Editors and Writers, The Department of History and Politics of The College of St. Scholastica, and the scholarly Middle Ground Journal. For a brief summary, please see the American Historical Association’s Perspectives on History, at: http://www.historians.org/perspectives/issues/2013/1305/Opening-The-Middle-Ground-Journal.cfm

Hong-Ming Liang, Ph.D., Editor-in-Chief and Publisher, The North Star Reports; Chief Editor, The Middle Ground Journal; Associate Professor of History and Politics, The College of St. Scholastica. Kathryn Marquis Hirsch, Managing Editor, The North Star Reports.

(c) 2012-present The North Star Reports: Global Citizenship and Digital Literacy http://NorthStarReports.org ISSN: 2377-908X The NSR is sponsored and published by Professor Hong-Ming Liang, NSR Student Editors and Writers, with generous support from The Department of History and Politics of The College of St. Scholastica, and the scholarly Middle Ground Journal. See Masthead for our not-for-profit educational open- access policy. K-12 teachers, if you are using these reports for your classes, please contact editor-in-chief Professor Liang at HLIANG (at) css.edu

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A Fulbright Teacher in Bogota, Colombia, A Special Series – What To Do in a Language Class — The North Star Reports – by Laura Blasena. Sponsored by The College of St. Scholastica and The Middle Ground Journal

A Fulbright Teacher in Bogota, Colombia, A Special Series – What To Do in a Language Class — The North Star Reports – by Laura Blasena. Sponsored by The College of St. Scholastica and The Middle Ground Journal

Laura 2015-07-27 23.36.14

I started taking language classes when I was in 4th grade. They weren’t advanced classes by any means–in fact, the most difficult thing we probably did was stand in a circle and recite clothing vocabulary from memory.

When I think back to my Spanish classes in high school (the Spanish classes where I actually began to learn conversational skills) I remember activities like this: drawing, scripting, acting out plays, creating characters, talking with my classmates, and preparing debates and presentations. While paging through the old parts of my Facebook, I came across a video from my junior year of high school where me and four classmates had created a “movie version” of a chapter of the infamous House on Mango Street by Sandra Cisneros. Language class was engaging, fun, dynamic, and while it certainly included necessary times where the teacher explained grammar rules, our practice of grammar usage was very student-centered and creative.

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While my job as the language assistant at my university is supposed to be to encourage conversation and discussion in the classroom, it’s completely impossible to expect an English I class to discuss current issues in the United States. With these classes, I usually prepare grammar practice activities that require the students to talk with their classmates.

For example…

One week, the thirty or so English I classes at my university were working on vocabulary related to family members and description. (All of you who have taken a language class should remember the “description” unit–tall, fat, short, blonde, nice, funny). I had prepared a simple activity. At the beginning of each activity, I drew a family tree on the front board, and assigned two students to each of the names on the family tree. The task: students had to write a description of their assigned family member and then chat with their classmates to find descriptions of at least three more members of the family.

After giving the class an example and reviewing some common mistakes made with the description vocabulary (“You don’t say ‘Joe is a beard’ you say ‘Joe has a beard’) I would give the students a time frame and tell them to begin writing their description.

Every time I did this I was meant with confused stares.

I’d explain again.

Blank stares.

Then I would usually ask the teacher to try explaining it again, thinking that I was using the wrong verbs or a wrong word somewhere, but when the teacher would explain again it would sound more or less the same to what I had said.

I finally asked a teacher about the confusion. “Is this activity weird? Is it something that the students have never done before, or am I just not explaining it well?” I asked. The teacher quickly agreed. “Yes, it’s a bit weird for them” and she went on to explain that they probably don’t know what to do when they’re supposed to create something because they’re very used to being given all the content by the teacher.

Laura 2015-07-27 17.01.58

The difference between teaching methods struck me as startlingly different. I can’t remember the number of times I was given creative tasks like “write a short description of an imaginary person” in my language classes in middle and high school, and here I was giving the same task to college students–adults–and they were struggling with the idea.

The concept of “teaching” and “learning” in a classroom setting are fairly universal around the world, but as I continue to work in the educational environment of Colombia, I’m learning that almost everything beyond the basic idea that “teaching” and “learning” take place in a classroom is very different.

About our special correspondent Laura Blasena: Ever since I was a little Kindergartner I’ve always wanted to be a teacher.

I graduated from St. Scholastica in the summer of 2015 with a double major in Elementary Education and Spanish Education after student teaching as a 5th grade teacher and also as a Spanish teacher at NorthStar in Duluth, Minnesota.

While my future plans before graduation were initially to become a classroom teacher, I decided to wait a year to begin teaching in the United States and have chosen to work as a Fulbright English Teaching Assistant in Bogota, Colombia. In Colombia, I will be working with a university as an assistant in the language department, attending classes, running conversation clubs, and offering the perspective of a native speaker.

I’ve always loved to travel. In college, I participated in several study abroad trips, visiting England, Guatemala, and Mexico. (I loved visiting Mexico so much that I even went back a second time!). I’m looking forward to the travel opportunities that I will have while working and living in Colombia.

Please contact Professor Liang if you wish to write for The North Star Reports — HLIANG (at) css.edu

See also, our Facebook page with curated news articles at http://www.facebook.com/NorthStarReports

The North Star Reports: Global Citizenship and Digital Literacy, The College of St. Scholastica and the scholarly Middle Ground Journal’s online learning community and outreach program with undergraduate and K-12 classes around the world. For a brief summary, please see the American Historical Association’s Perspectives on History, at:

http://www.historians.org/perspectives/issues/2013/1305/Opening-The-Middle-Ground-Journal.cfm

The North Star Reports publishes edited essays from our students, particularly from those who are currently stationed, or will soon be stationed abroad. Students have reported from Mongolia, Southern China, Shanghai, Colombia, Norway, northeastern China, Nicaragua, Micronesia, The Netherlands, Tanzania, Ireland, El Salvador, England, Finland, Russia, Cyprus, and Haiti. We also publish student reviews of books, documentaries, and films, and analysis of current events from around the world. We will post their dispatches, and report on their interactions with the North Star Reports students and teachers. We thank The Department of History and Politics and the School of Arts and Letters of The College of St. Scholastica for their generous financial support for The North Star Reports and The Middle Ground Journal.

Hong-Ming Liang, Ph.D., Editor-in-Chief, The North Star Reports; Chief Editor, The Middle Ground Journal; Associate Professor of History and Politics, The College of St. Scholastica.

Kathryn Marquis Hirsch, Managing Editor, The North Star Reports.

(c) 2012-present The North Star Reports: Global Citizenship and Digital Literacy http://NorthStarReports.org ISSN: 2377-908X The NSR is sponsored by The College of St. Scholastica and the scholarly Middle Ground Journal. See Masthead for our not-for-profit educational open- access policy. K-12 teachers, if you are using these reports for your classes, please contact editor-in-chief Professor Liang at HLIANG (at) css.edu

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Filed under Laura Blasena, North Star Student Editors, Professor Hong-Ming Liang

Photo-Essay — Tower Hall, St. Scholastica – The North Star Reports – by Mackenzie Sherrill. Sponsored by The College of St. Scholastica and The Middle Ground Journal

Photo-Essay — Tower Hall, St. Scholastica – The North Star Reports – by Mackenzie Sherrill. Sponsored by The College of St. Scholastica and The Middle Ground Journal

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[Photo 1. This photo is the front of Tower Hall, which was the first building on the college’s campus.]

As I began to explore on a quiet, Saturday afternoon, I realized that The College of St. Scholastica’s campus, the campus that I attend class on almost every day, is much more than I ever thought. I had always known that Tower Hall, the oldest structure on the campus, had been built as a result of a group of Benedictine sisters arriving in Duluth, MN in hopes of beginning their own diocese. What I did not experience and realize until my peaceful walk through the historical building was the amount of intricate details and the amount of time it must have taken to include those things while the building was being constructed. What really caught my attention and interest during my little journey was the windows of Tower Hall. It must have been the time I toured the building, which happened to take place while the sun was setting, because the light coming through the stained-glass windows lightened the place like I had never seen. There were so many different colors and shapes being reflected that I knew then that I wanted to focus specifically on the windows within Tower Hall for this photo-essay.

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[Photo 2. This photo is of the window found on the first floor of the library. The glass is very colorful and appears to be the colors similar to that of a sunset.]

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[Photo 3. This photo is of the stained-glass window found on the third floor of the library. The woman [Saint Scholastica?] in the window is often referred to as “Our Lady, Queen of Peace”.]

As I thought about what the stained-glass windows may have meant to the sisters that started the school, I remembered why they traveled here in the first place and that helped me come up with some possible theories. I believe the windows were made mainly for religious reasons since several of them included portraits of saints that were women. This could have been a way for the sisters to show God their love and loyalty to him since creating such windows could have served as daily reminders of God as the nuns walked past them. Also, I think it is important to note that the people in these windows were often females, which the sisters could have created with the purpose of showing the strength that women embody. Since this building was constructed at a time when women did not have many of their own rights, I believe this was a way for them to say to the world that women could create amazing and powerful things, just as men were able to during this period of history.

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[Photo 4. This photo is of one of the windows found on the doors that lead into the “Our Lady, Queen of Peace Chapel”.]

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[Photo 5. This photo is of a panel of stained-glass window that is found in the doorway leading from Tower Hall into the hallway that leads to the chapel.]

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[Photo 6. This photo is of one of the stained-glass windows that can be found on the third floor of the library. The color palate is very bright and noticeable to the eye.]

A photo-essay is different than a typical essay because it allows the reader to interpret a lot more on their own, compared to strictly reading the thoughts of the author. I think it is interesting how looking at photos of something can cause people to feel different emotions and have different experiences versus someone else who may not have had those similar reactions. I think it is good to mix things up and look at photo-essays once in a while because it stimulates your brain differently than if you were reading an essay, and also challenges you to think abstractly. I genuinely enjoyed walking around The College of St. Scholastica’s campus and the sense of peace looking at the stained-glass windows was able to bring me. [From Professor Liang’s Spring 2015 World History II class.]

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[Photo 7. This photo is of one of the stained-glass windows that can be found on the third floor of the library. The blue and yellow colors are now the official colors of the college.]

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[Photo 8. This photo is of the stained-glass wall that can be found right inside the chapel. ]

Please contact Professor Liang if you wish to write for The North Star Reports — HLIANG (at) css.edu

See also, our Facebook page with curated news articles at http://www.facebook.com/NorthStarReports

The North Star Reports: Global Citizenship and Digital Literacy, The Middle Ground Journal and The College of St. Scholastica’s collaborative outreach program with K-12 classes around the world. We acknowledge North Star Academy of Duluth, Minnesota as our inaugural partner school, and the flagship of our program. We also welcome Duluth East High School and other schools around the world. The North Star Reports has flourished since 2012. For a brief summary, please see the American Historical Association’s Perspectives on History, at:

http://www.historians.org/perspectives/issues/2013/1305/Opening-The-Middle-Ground-Journal.cfm

The North Star Reports publishes edited essays from our students, particularly from those who are currently stationed, or will soon be stationed abroad. Students have reported from Mongolia, Southern China, Shanghai, northeastern China, The Netherlands, Tanzania, Ireland, England, Finland, Russia, and Haiti. We also have students developing reviews of books, documentaries, and films, projects on historical memory, the price individuals pay during tragic global conflicts, and analysis of current events from around the world. We will post their dispatches, and report on their interactions with the North Star Reports students and teachers.

We thank The Department of History and Politics and the School of Arts and Letters of The College of St. Scholastica for their generous financial support for The North Star Reports and The Middle Ground Journal.

Hong-Ming Liang, Ph.D., Chief Editor, The Middle Ground Journal, Associate Professor of History and Politics, The College of St. Scholastica, Duluth, MN, USA

(c) 2012-present The North Star Reports: Global Citizenship and Digital Literacy http://NorthStarReports.org The NSR is sponsored by The Middle Ground Journal and The College of St. Scholastica. See Masthead for our not-for-profit educational open- access policy. K-12 teachers, if you are using these reports for your classes, please contact chief editor Professor Liang at HLIANG (at) css.edu

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Studying Family and World History – The North Star Reports – by Jimmy Lovrien. Sponsored by The College of St. Scholastica and The Middle Ground Journal

Studying Family and World History – The North Star Reports – by Jimmy Lovrien. Sponsored by The College of St. Scholastica and The Middle Ground Journal

640px-Minnesota_in_United_States.svg[http://commons.wikimedia.org/wiki/File:Minnesota_in_United_States.svg]

“Wow, the story of my family is really the story of Minnesota,” I proudly thought to myself. With a collection of family stories regarding farming in southern Minnesota, logging in northeastern Minnesota, and some of the first women to graduate from the University of Minnesota, the Lovrien family history portrayed Minnesota’s past in a storybook style.

As an individual studying history and journalism, I quickly saw a large flaw in presenting history this way: I did not include my ancestors’ role in oppressing Native Americans.
The loss of land and subsequent warfare aimed at Native Americans completely corresponds with the westward migration by my ancestors. When farming during the summer wasn’t enough, agriculturalists moved north to log during the winters. I was told, “Dad couldn’t make money on the farm in the winter. He couldn’t work here in the winter. So he would go up in the woods, up in the North, and work there.” The efforts of early settlers to homestead every inch of what is now Minnesota forced Native Americans off the land they had held for thousands of years preceding.

When Native Americans fought for their land, the United States government fought to suppress them. The original settlers in my family joined the US’ efforts and were unfortunately praised in their obituaries for doing so; however, their children and grandchildren realized these faults and denounced these actions. Luckily, my dad does not withhold this rather troubling information as he realizes most people will choose to forget and push the disturbing history behind them.

JLFamilyGrandma[Picture: My grandmother and her University of Minnesota friends fishing during the summer.]

Women in Education

Prior to my research, I knew my grandmother had attended the University of Minnesota in the ’40s, an unusual feat for women at this time. Through discussion with my dad, I also learned my great-grandmother and several of her sisters attended college in the 1910s and early 1920s, even more remarkable for the time. The expectation at the time was for women to marry; if they pursued college, this was usually faced opposition by males. In a 1924 New York Times article entitled “Why They Quit School,” the University of Minnesota registrar stated “it’s a ‘fallacy’ to believe that young women, even while they are striving for an education, do not constantly have matrimony as an object in mind”- exhibiting the perceptions held against women in college.

On my maternal side of the family, my grandparents did not receive any college education. Because the expectation to attend college was absent, my mother and her siblings had to forge their own means of pursuing higher education. Although my mom is not the eldest sister, she was the first female in her family to earn a four-year degree. This opened the door for her younger sisters and inspired them to do the same.

By the time my sister graduated from high school it was largely expected she attend college, signaling society’s change in perception of women in education. Within three generations major shifts could be found in how society viewed two pivotal issues in the history of my family and Minnesota. [From Professor Liang’s 2014 World History II class.]


Please contact Professor Liang if you wish to write for The North Star Reports — HLIANG (at) css.edu

See also, our Facebook page with curated news articles at http://www.facebook.com/NorthStarReports

The North Star Reports: Global Citizenship and Digital Literacy, The Middle Ground Journal and The College of St. Scholastica’s collaborative outreach program with K-12 classes around the world. We acknowledge North Star Academy of Duluth, Minnesota as our inaugural partner school, and the flagship of our program. We also welcome Duluth East High School and other schools around the world. The North Star Reports has flourished since 2012. For a brief summary, please see the American Historical Association’s Perspectives on History, at:

http://www.historians.org/perspectives/issues/2013/1305/Opening-The-Middle-Ground-Journal.cfm

The North Star Reports publishes edited essays from our students, particularly from those who are currently stationed, or will soon be stationed abroad. Students have reported from Mongolia, Southern China, Shanghai, northeastern China, The Netherlands, Tanzania, Ireland, England, Finland, Russia, and Haiti. We also have students developing reviews of books, documentaries, and films, projects on historical memory, the price individuals pay during tragic global conflicts, and analysis of current events from around the world. We will post their dispatches, and report on their interactions with the North Star Reports students and teachers.

We thank The Department of History and Politics for its generous financial support for The North Star Reports and The Middle Ground Journal.

Hong-Ming Liang, Ph.D., Chief Editor, The Middle Ground Journal, Associate Professor of History and Politics, The College of St. Scholastica, Duluth, MN, USA

(c) 2012-present The North Star Reports: Global Citizenship and Digital Literacy http://NorthStarReports.org The NSR is sponsored by The Middle Ground Journal and The College of St. Scholastica. See Masthead for our not-for-profit educational open- access policy. K-12 teachers, if you are using these reports for your classes, please contact chief editor Professor Liang at HLIANG (at) css.edu

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Filed under History, North Star Student Editors, Professor Hong-Ming Liang, Professor Liang's Classes

Comparing and Contrasting: The University — The North Star Reports – by Katherine LaFleur. Sponsored by The College of St. Scholastica and The Middle Ground Journal

A special series. Comparing and Contrasting: The University — The North Star Reports – by Katherine LaFleur. Sponsored by The College of St. Scholastica and The Middle Ground Journal

1 IMG_6202[The exterior of the Roger de Llúria building. If I could have expanded the frame to the right more you would see the entrance to the Jaume I building, but with the sun at this time it was nearly impossible to get a good shot!]

During the orientation presentation for my host university, the chair of my chosen program described Barcelona as “a very sexy city”. At the time I remember catching myself mid-thought, wondering if there would ever be an occasion in the States in which I would hear a professor address and auditorium of students describing their city as “sexy”. Duluth is gorgeous, yes, but sexy? Eh….

Barcelona, though, warrants such a description. Filled to the brim with young people and their energy, it is a very happening city that inspires creativity and a sense of openness – not to mention the wealth of nightlife, which acts a draw for many a college student. This first encounter at my host university – Universitat Pampeu Fabra (UPF) – served as the first indication that the college culture here is a bit different than that of the States’. While it seemed small to start, this epiphany has stuck with me in the background of my consciousness, popping up here and there as I experience situations that would have a very different context back home.

2 IMG_6206[The courtyard of the Jaume I building, one of three that make up the Ciutadella campus. My two humanities courses are taught from this building. On sunny days every spare inch is covered by students and teachers alike.]

But let’s begin with the similarities, shall we? Going to university here is a bit of a status symbol: at orientation students receive a heavy binder with their university’s name or initials on the front and they parade these around as an indication of their achievement. In this way I would consider the college experience similar to that of the U.S. These binders are essentially the equivalent of the apparel we purchase in school stores, bearing the names or insignias of our preferred/attended schools and serving as a symbol to those who don’t know us that we have some sort of connection to this place. Many of the expected behaviors are the same, as well; no food in class, cellphones turned off, arriving to class on time, etc. I also chose this study abroad program because it offered programs through UPF that coincided well with my major at home allowing me to take courses with themes relevant to my studies. In these ways, my experience has paralleled that of attending class back home at the College of St. Scholastica.

3 IMG_6233[My UPF binder, the same that every UPF student receives.]

But there remain key differences that I have noticed over time. As a stark example, the cost of tuition here is much more affordable. A year of undergraduate study at my host university, UPF, costs around 2,300€ ($2,600) or less, with textbooks rarely costing the unearthly sums we fork over each semester back home in the States. The campus, too, is quite different. CSS has a small but beautiful campus situated on one of Duluth’s hills. It serves as a mini community housing both educational and residential buildings that are all situated in close proximity to one another. Classes are held primarily inside, unless the weather is so beautiful before or after the long winter that the professors cure our cabin fever with a long awaited outdoor lecture. Cafeterias offer coffees, smoothies, salads, snacks and entrees – and our latest upgrades feature bagels and sushi! Overall, it’s pretty self-sufficient and once you’ve managed to find a parking spot there are few reasons to leave until you have business elsewhere.

4 IMG_6002[The Ramon Turró building, where I go every morning for my Spanish course. In the background you can see a contrasting brick building, which is an old aqueduct that was converted into a library space. UPF is very progressive in that it only seeks out properties that it can refurbish into class space instead of building new.]

UPF features three campuses sprinkled across the city; Mar: the beach campus housing the Health Science courses, Ciutadella: only a five minute walk from my apartment and home to most of the Humanities, and Poblenou: located in the new Tech district of Barcelona it’s home to the Communications classes. UPF also has a partnership with la Escuela Superior del Comercio Internacional (ESCI), a local business school, and so twice a week I walk ten minutes to the other side of Ciutadella Park to attend class (classes here, by the way, only run Monday-Thursday). Buildings are large with open-air walkways and squares in the middle, for the most part. As the climate here is usually sunny and warm, the squares are the gathering places for students and professors alike, offering plenty of space to catch up while catching rays. While there are plenty of cities in the U.S. that could accommodate such designs I found myself marveling at the openness of it all, wondering how inconvenient it would be to try and shovel everything should it snow!

5 IMG_5810[The ESCI Campus as viewed from my commute! I walk almost directly from my apartment down one street until it ends at this building every Monday and Wednesday for a business course.]

Perhaps the largest difference though, and this is more cultural than collegiate, is the cafeteria space. Much of the dining space is situated outside where people can gather to eat, converse and smoke. And within the cafeteria itself, the option of buying alcohol caught me off-guard at first. I will likely never forget my surprise when as I stood in line to buy gum before my 9AM class, the man ahead of me ordered a beer. The American within me cringed, thinking “Beer before 10AM, ufda!” as the exchange went on unperturbed. I walked to class that day going over the scenario in my head and realizing that I was viewing the transaction through a completely different cultural lens. Here, there is no problem in having a beer for breakfast with a small sandwich, or beer at any other time of the day for that matter, so long as it’s in moderation.

In any case, while there are both similarities and differences in my experience thus far, everyday I am grateful for the opportunity to be here. The courses I’m taking are both stimulating and relevant and the professors are phenomenal. Animated and very obviously passionate about their own fields of study, they make it easy to want to go to class. At this point I’m about halfway through the trimester and I couldn’t be happier!


Please contact Professor Liang if you wish to write for The North Star Reports — HLIANG (at) css.edu

See also, our Facebook page with curated news articles at http://www.facebook.com/NorthStarReports

The North Star Reports: Global Citizenship and Digital Literacy, The Middle Ground Journal and The College of St. Scholastica’s collaborative outreach program with K-12 classes around the world. We acknowledge North Star Academy of Duluth, Minnesota as our inaugural partner school, and the flagship of our program. We also welcome Duluth East High School and other schools around the world. The North Star Reports has flourished since 2012. For a brief summary, please see the American Historical Association’s Perspectives on History, at:

http://www.historians.org/perspectives/issues/2013/1305/Opening-The-Middle-Ground-Journal.cfm

The North Star Reports publishes edited essays from our students, particularly from those who are currently stationed, or will soon be stationed abroad. Students have reported from Mongolia, Southern China, Shanghai, northeastern China, The Netherlands, Tanzania, Ireland, England, Finland, Russia, and Haiti. We also have students developing reviews of books, documentaries, and films, projects on historical memory, the price individuals pay during tragic global conflicts, and analysis of current events from around the world. We will post their dispatches, and report on their interactions with the North Star Reports students and teachers.

We thank The Department of History and Politics for its generous financial support for The North Star Reports and The Middle Ground Journal.

Hong-Ming Liang, Ph.D., Chief Editor, The Middle Ground Journal, Associate Professor of History and Politics, The College of St. Scholastica, Duluth, MN, USA

(c) 2012-present The North Star Reports: Global Citizenship and Digital Literacy http://NorthStarReports.org The NSR is sponsored by The Middle Ground Journal and The College of St. Scholastica. See Masthead for our not-for-profit educational open- access policy. K-12 teachers, if you are using these reports for your classes, please contact chief editor Professor Liang at HLIANG (at) css.edu

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Filed under Katherine LaFleur, North Star Student Editors, Professor Hong-Ming Liang

Haiti, Children, School, and Important Lessons — The North Star Project Reports, sponsored by The Middle Ground Journal. By Dennika Mays

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Haiti, Children, School, and Important Lessons — The North Star Project Reports, sponsored by The Middle Ground Journal. By Dennika Mays

On January 12, 2012, I went on a trip to Haiti. I stayed there for 4 months as part of a study abroad trip that I created myself. I had the opportunity to travel all around the country and even went to the Dominican Republic for a day. Haiti has so many palm trees, people, and all different types of food. Most of the people I met in Haiti were very nice to me. They would always greet me with a “Bonswa, madam” [Good day, miss] or “Bonwi, madam” [Good evening, miss] and a bright smile. I also visited a few different schools around the country and met many children in Haiti. The children in Haiti have to wear uniforms to school, and each school has a different color scheme. For example, some schools have a blue and white color scheme, while other schools wear brown and orange colors. Each school is different. Every day after school, kids walk home, and I would see the many different colors of all of their uniforms. After staying a while in Haiti, I could tell which school a kid attended by simply looking at the colors on his or her uniform.

Many kids in Haiti can afford to go to school, but there are also students who don’t have to money to go. These children  stay at home and help with chores around the house. I met many kids in Haiti who can’t read or write because they didn’t have enough money to pay for school fees and a uniform. But the President of Haiti has been working hard to get poor kids in school so they can have an education and a good meal. The President in Haiti started a school program for kids who can’t afford to go to school and now hundreds of kids are in the program.

Seeing the children of Haiti made me think about growing up as a kid in the U.S. My family was poor and didn’t always have money for food, but the education system had a program for my family and I was able to attend school and have a good lunch. Seeing many poor kids in Haiti reminded me of myself growing up, and it made me grateful for everything I have now. I now have clothes, food, running water, electricity, and access to education. I didn’t always have those things and living in Haiti reminded me of that. It also reminded me to always be grateful for everything I have because I know what it’s like to live without things like running water, electricity, heating, air condition, and food.

Photo (map) credit: “Haiti (orthographic projection)” by Connormah – Own work. Licensed under Creative Commons Attribution-Share Alike 3.0 via Wikimedia Commons – http://commons.wikimedia.org/wiki/File:Haiti_(orthographic_projection).svg#mediaviewer/File:Haiti_(orthographic_projection).svg

Please contact Professor Liang if you wish to contribute to The North Star Project Reports — HLIANG@CSS.EDU

For all of the North Star Project Reports, see https://mgjnorthstarproject.wordpress.com/

The North Star Project Reports: The Middle Ground Journal’s collaborative outreach program with K-12 classes around the world. We acknowledge North Star Academy of Duluth, Minnesota as our inaugural partner school, and the flagship of our K-12 outreach program. We also welcome Duluth East High School, Duluth Denfeld High School, Dodge Middle School and other schools around the world to the North Star Project. The North Star Project has flourished since 2012. For a brief summary, please see the American Historical Association’s Perspectives on History, at:

http://www.historians.org/perspectives/issues/2013/1305/Opening-The-Middle-Ground-Journal.cfm

https://www.historians.org/publications-and-directories/perspectives-on-history/january-2014/embracing-oa-universities-adopt-open-access-policies-for-faculty-journal-publications

The Middle Ground Journal will share brief dispatches from our North Star Project student interns, particularly from those who are currently stationed, or will soon be stationed abroad. Student interns have reported from Mongolia, Southern China, Shanghai, northeastern China, The Netherlands, Tanzania, Ireland, England, Finland, Russia, and Haiti. We also have students developing presentations on theatrical representations of historical trauma, historical memory, the price individuals pay during tragic global conflicts, and different perceptions of current events from around the world. We will post their dispatches here, and report on their interactions with the North Star Project students and teachers.

Hong-Ming Liang, Ph.D., Chief Editor, The Middle Ground Journal, Associate Professor of History and Politics, The College of St. Scholastica, Duluth, MN, USA

(c) 2013-present The Middle Ground Journal. See Submission Guidelines page for the journal’s not-for-profit educational open-access policy.

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