As a junior in high school, Emily Sausville traveled with other student ambassadors from her Warren, Mass. high school to Australia for a 29-day trip. But the Keuka junior says that visit only “scratched the surface” of the country and its peoples. So when Sausville visits Australia again in June and July 2011 for a Field Period study, she intends to dig deeply into the culture, hoping to experience many of the things she felt she missed out on before.
Developing a “tangible knowledge” she can share with future students is important, stated Sausville, an early childhood/special education major. As such, Sausville’s AAA travel tour to Australia, New Zealand and nearby Fiji will enable her to explore a multitude of differences in geography, art, education, science and culture, and earned her a $2,500 Judith Oliver Brown memorial scholarship award for her Field Period study.
The experiential learning scholarship is named for the late Brown, a member of the Class of 1963 who spent her junior year as a Norton Scholar in Switzerland. It assists students pursuing Field Periods that will surround them with a new cultural experience. Keuka students must write essays outlining their Field Period plans, how the funds will facilitate those plans, and how the experience will benefit them, the site, and the community.
One unique classroom Sausville wants to spend more time in is the School of the Air, so named because teachers in radio-broadcast classrooms send lessons out over the airwaves to children in remote parts of the Australian Outback.
“I want to see a lesson in action,” Sausville said, wondering whether she will discover the Internet or radio a more critical tool for the teachers sitting behind the desks. “[Last time,] I wanted to ask if they found it difficult to ‘teach’ that way, how they give the kids in a remote spot the help that they need.”
Other things Sausville felt she missed experiencing the first time she visited were live penguins living on Phillip Island near Melbourne, and a stop at Ayers Rock, considered the “gateway” to the Australian Outback.
“Ayers Rock is a big part of the Aboriginal culture and … we totally bypassed that. Even though we got to talk to a few Aboriginals, it wasn’t for very long, maybe an hour? They showed us a didgeridoo. I wanted to experience it more,” Sausville said, explaining she has signed up for a camel ride along its base, and even hopes to rock climb some of it, if possible.
Her trip will also include visits to places such as the Sydney Opera House, Harbour Bridge, and she’ll experience sharp contrasts as well, such as those between the tropical fish and coral of the Great Barrier Reef to the Franz Josef Glacier in the Southern Alps of New Zealand.
“When I teach a unit or spend a year on cultures to teach my [future] students, I’ll have some background to say, ‘Yes, this is what I know,’” Sausville said.