After almost two years of modern-day “pen pal” communication via Skype, a number of Keuka College education majors finally met – in person – the Slovakian high school students they previously saw on the computer screen.
This group Field Period included education majors, taught by Dr. Denise Love and Dr. Klaudia Lorinczova, both assistant professors of education, and other Keuka students, including several visual and verbal art majors taught by Melissa Newcomb, assistant professor of art. The Keuka Field Period is a required annual internship or exploratory study of 140 hours.
Seventeen students, two faculty members and two parent chaperones traveled overseas in early June to visit the cities of Prague, Nitra, Bratislava and Vienna. Over 11 days, Newcomb directed students in photographic study of architecture and culture while Lorinczova led an exploration of Slovakian education and other unique social, political and cultural traditions of her home country and its European neighbors. Students had already gone through weeks of “pre-teaching” in advance of the trip, learning from Lorinczova a number of cultural anomalies to expect and reviewing a manual on basic digital photography with Newcomb, as well as gaining a basic understanding of architectural styles such as Baroque, Gothic or Rococo.
A last-minute foot injury kept Love confined at home, but ultimately, she was able to coordinate from the couch, helping the two professors “on the ground” navigate unexpected challenges almost as soon as they cropped up. The first biggie: severe flooding in many portions of Prague – the first stop on the trip –shortly after the group arrived. Love offered advice and assistance with the travel agency as the group moved around Prague and then on to other cities, and communicated with Newcomb and Lorinczova via daily Skype sessions.
All three professors recommended “an anchor” back home, given the benefits gleaned in this experience. The three professors had previously structured the trip to include student reflections in words and images, utilizing online blogs as electronic journals. The blogs proved a saving grace for worried parents back home who heard news reports of the flooding much earlier than the students themselves. And while students did post a few photos of flooded streets and commentary on dealing with nonstop rains, images of cathedrals, statues, gardens, public squares, restaurants and cafes far outnumbered them.
In the words of Sarah Hillman ‘13, a final, rainy day in Prague was salvaged with a spur-of-the-moment museum tour, where the whole group saw “paintings, sculptures, and other works from Alfons Mucha and Salvador Dali. They were great!” (more…)
Just like the many wines sampled, senior marketing major Jennifer O’Donnell got a taste of France itself on an independent tour of the country during January.
O’Donnell conducted her final Field Period—the 140-hour real-world investment Keuka students make in career, world and life exploration – overseas and visited spots such as the World War II battlefield cemeteries at Normandy, the Louvre art museum, Versailles, the Eiffel Tower, Notre Dame Cathedral, and the Mediterranean Sea in Cannes.
Hosted by her great-uncle, who holds triple citizenship in America, France and Ireland and his wife, a French native, O’Donnell said her goal was simply to experience the country, especially its food and wine, during her time there. At the suggestion of her faculty adviser, she also observed how the French market and sell their wines.
While O’Donnell’s relatives did not take her on tours of French wineries, each day they would visit a different café for lunch and try a different wine with the meal, she said. The 21-year-old was introduced to a sparkling red wine, Lambrusco, as well as a specialty wine, Kir, to which flavored syrups can be added, such as blackberry or cassis.
The country also has a strong tradition in the culinary arts.
And while the French eat lots of fish, pasta and chicken, O’Donnell said she noticed that “they’re very health-conscious and there are almost no fried foods at all. I had some fries, but they had no salt on them—they tasted very plain. It is just very different [cuisine].” (more…)