Friday, November 2, 2018

Something's different, just may be me?

When I first stepped outside the airport into the English air I was … surprised.

It wasn’t what I expected. I expected to feel a significant difference that would mark the beginning of my adventure abroad. I was disappointed, but that was all soon forgotten as I took in the London streets as they swooshed by through my Uber window.

I told myself later on that it was silly to think the air would be different, and that didn’t take away from the fact London was beautiful and worthy of happy tears. Three weeks later, I’m walking home with my friends one evening and notice something; the air.

It was different, somehow. It dawned on me perhaps it wasn’t the air that was different at all, but rather myself.

I’ve been in England for a little over a month now. Although it feels like I just got here, it also feels like I’ve been here forever. I’m still finding new things to ponder over, while I’m hanging out with people who can pass as lifelong friends.

I have learned so much about myself in such a short amount of time, it’s somewhat baffling. I’ve faced hardships that made me wish I could book a ticket home. I found out I actually really like coffee after years of believing I could only stand it in Frappe form. I’ve gained unconventional friendships and unfortunately lost some in the process.

And to my surprise, found what I believe I want to pursue after graduation.

I was so nervous to come abroad and leave everything I felt comfortable with behind, but I’m more thankful I did with every day that passes. I’m thankful I didn’t run home when things got difficult, because now I’m surrounded by amazing individuals and learning incredible things.

— Elayne Che, a junior psychology major, is studying abroad this fall at the University of Essex in Colchester, England. #HuskyAbroad #ProfessionalU

Monday, October 29, 2018

I might be biased, but ...

Hey everybody,

Three weeks ago was the H Street Festival, which was postponed from September because of Hurricane Florence. It spans several blocks with live music, food tents and trucks, and other vendors. It gave me just a small taste of the Bloomsburg Fair, which I sadly was not able to make it home for. I tried Jamaican jerk chicken for the first time (which was incredibly spicy but absolutely delicious) and watched this cool African band Chieck Hamala Diabate.

The weekend after I went to a Washington Wizards game at the Capital One Arena. It was my first NBA game, and I loved every second of it. We were in the nosebleed seats at the very top section, but it was still a great time anyway. The game was competitive to the last second, but the Wizards lost. We’re going to see them again this weekend when they play Oklahoma City Thunder!

This past weekend was Global Festival at TWC. It’s an event that gives interns in the program the opportunity to cook some of their food from home, and then a talent show to showcase their country. I believe there are over 40 different countries represented this semester from several different regions of the world.

The hardest part about making international friends is how far away they are when the program ends, but it gives you an excuse to make travel plans.

Brunch is a huge thing in D.C. Most restaurants will typically do a two-hour bottomless brunch that includes brunch food, mimosas, and Bloody Mary's. The place we went to is called Bar Charley’s, and I got to see some fellow BU alum living in D.C. and Philly. We went to a Latin dance club in Northwest, and I must have danced for three hours. My legs are actually sore.

I might be biased, but D.C. is the best city in the world. I love the accessibility to Baltimore, Philly, Maryland, and Virginia. My mom, brother, and soon to be sister in law came down to Silver Spring to visit me and grab brunch. Just four stops on the metro, and I was in Maryland. I love how easy it is to get places and see other states with just a quick metro, bus, or Uber ride. If you ever find yourself in downtown Silver Spring, you have to stop at McGinty’s Pub House. Their hash browns were so good.

That’s all for now, it’s finally starting to get chilly down here, so I’m excited to see D.C. in the fall!

— Deanna Campion, a senior dual political science and communication studies major #ProfessionalU

So happy this is my life

Did you ever have one of those moments where you sit in your car and just have a good cry?

Well, that was me around 3:45 yesterday in the school parking lot. I was not crying out of stress or anger, but I was ugly crying because I had to say goodbye to 19 second graders that have a permanent spot in my heart.

Yesterday was my last day in second grade, and I move onto third grade tomorrow. I mean I'm staying in the same school — and when it really comes down to it — I'll see them in the hallways but STILL there I was blubbering like a baby in my car (I'm a rather sensitive person so just bare with me.)

Reflecting on how they started in the beginning of the school year and how they ended yesterday, they have progressed so well in my opinion. I went from saying “shh” 100 times a lesson to giving them a verbal reminder twice a day to raising their hand and turning around in their seats!

One of my students who would cry about something every single day has shed ZERO tears in the last two days! Another student who shows NO emotion whatsoever gave ME a hug and invited me to his birthday party!

I’m tired and coffee is running through my veins, but it was all worth it. The constant reflecting and my 47-page unit plan were all worth it.

I was immersed in topics and activities like:

  • exploring maps and globes
  • the ever dreaded common core mathematics (which actually isn’t that bad and has immensely improved my own math skills)
  • the butterfly life cycle

... and I even got to meet a famous children’s author Marty Kelley.

I can’t forget to give credit to my wonderful teacher who I worked under. She is such a wonderfully organized teacher that I have no excuse NOT to be on top of my stuff when I get my own classroom. I’m just so happy this is my life. I may have grey hairs, but my heart is truly full!

— Carolann Green, a senior early childhood education major

Tuesday, October 23, 2018

Wait, you’ve never seen a waterfall?

This past summer I worked at a camp where I met a college student from Illinois. Somehow through conversation I found out she had never seen a waterfall. That’s when I decided we’re going to Ricketts Glen.

Ricketts Glen State Park is a not-so-hidden gem in our own backyard. It’s located about 45 minutes north of Bloomsburg and is full of fun (and free!) activities.

I’ve probably hiked all or most of the 7.2-mile Falls Trail System at least 25 times in my life, and my family visits Lake Jean at least once a year to go kayaking. Hiking at Ricketts Glen is my favorite thing to do. If I’m planning on walking slowly, I make sure to bring my camera along to take some beautiful nature shots.

Ricketts Glen is mostly known for its 26 miles of hiking trails, especially the Falls Trail System — home to 22 waterfalls on a 7.2-mile loop. There are multiple places to begin and end, and you don’t have to hike the whole thing if you don’t want to.

The waterfalls on the Falls Trail range in size from 11-feet-tall, to the monstrous 94-foot Ganoga waterfall. I love seeing the look on people’s faces when I take them hiking for the first time.

The whole time they ask, “Is that the big waterfall?”

I always reply, “You’ll know when we get to it.”

Photos never quite do it justice, either.

Autumn is one of the best times of year to visit Ricketts Glen, because it boasts some beautiful foliage when the leaves start to turn. According to some reports, this year could be one of the best seasons for it!

This year, I found most colorful leaves at Ricketts Glen were on the trails and near the Western Boat Launch of Lake Jean. During the summer though, Lake Jean is definitely the place to be.

There are multiple cabins and campsites, and a beach for those who can’t make it to the ocean over summer vacation. The beach has sand, water and a lifeguard. The only difference between Lake Jean and the Jersey Shore is a boardwalk!

From Memorial Day until Labor Day there is a concession stand and rental station where you can rent boats, kayaks, paddle-boats and canoes. The cabins and campsites are open most of the year, and the lake is open year-round to those with their own boats to go boating or fishing.

Like I said, the park is open year-round. However, hike at your own risk!

The Falls Trail System is the most difficult trail in the park and can lead to serious injury if you’re not careful. Another thing to note is no cell phone service in the park. If you get injured, calling 911 should still work, however it will take responders quite a bit of time to reach your location since there is a lack of access roads for vehicles and ATVs.

— Dallas Kriebel, senior mass communications major #AGreatPlaceToBeYou

Tuesday, October 16, 2018

Wanderlust tamed in England

I have always loved traveling with my family, but this year I am experiencing it for the first time independently! From the gorgeous views, to the complicated reality of traveling, I am reveling in it all! I come from a very cultural background, while also being first-generation American, but I wanted to venture out and discover some nuances in this vast world.


Spending about four days in London, the capital of the country, has opened my eyes in a tremendous way- I am in utter awe from its culture. Living in Brixton, through the lovely AirBnB I booked, I met very intriguing people, and was in the center of street art and urban life of the younger generations. Venturing out to Central London, my eyes were dry from not being able to miss a second of the views: the London Eye, Buckingham Palace, Hyde Park, the Seven Dials Shopping Centre, Piccadilly Circus area, and the British Museum. I took a risk and had some adventures to find the less well known but yet still incredibly intriguing parts of London such as Neal’s Yard; the pub covered in flowers from floor to ceiling, The Churchill Arms; the extravagant luxurious hotel, the St. Pancras International.

Lastly, regarding my career track, I took on new adventures in London. I enrolled in screen actor workshops at The Actors’ Centre in Covent Garden. I got further information about the differences between acting for the stage, and acting for the screen. I was actually incredibly blessed to be able to get perspectives of other acting instructors than the ones I was used to in the U.S. I also saw what was probably the most hilarious mistake-driven show ever- The Play That Goes Wrong. Internationally known, but native to London, this show takes any and every mistake possible with the technical and actor elements of a theatre production, and creates a hilarious show about it! There was the stage manager that ended up filling in for an actor, some props getting lost and sets breaking, the actor constantly wanting the spotlight, and so many more hilarious stereotypical things that can go wrong- and they made it go so right!

Finally, three trains and a bus later, I got myself into what the University of Essex calls, “Freshers Week.” Tune in to the BU Blog in a few weeks, when I share a little bit about the education system in England!

To me, it is a privilege to see and capture the beauty in this world...

— Emel Rasim #HuskyAbroad

So many learning opportunities

Hey Everyone!

I’m about a month into the job now, and I’m finally starting to get a feel for what the job is like. I got the internship through this program called The Washington Center. It’s sort of like an internship liaison with career counselors to review your resumes and then send it out to internship sites that have partnerships with TWC.

I interviewed with three other sites, got other offers but I ended up going with the Coalition for Juvenile Justice. CJJ is a nonprofit that is touchpoint for juvenile justice coordinators in all 50 states. The most pleasant surprise about my job thus far is how many learning opportunities (or field trips as we like to call them) I’ve had so far. I get to sit in on webinars with professionals all over the country presenting their own research.

Just this week I went to a panel of formerly incarcerated women and the struggles they faced trying to break into higher education. The spokesperson of this organization is actually Allison Williams (who you might know from Girls and Get Out) that spoke at the panel I attended. Part of my job is monitoring policy that's proposed on the federal level to see how it impacts youth. I have come to like this part, which is a relief to me because I'm planning on attending graduate school in the fall for my Master’s in Public Administration.

The other part of my job is communications, meaning I put the stuff that I learn in these webinars and panels on CJJ’s Twitter and Instagram. I recently learned how to use Canva to make flyers/infographics/Instagram posts, which might be my favorite part so far. Look at CJJ’s twitter and Instagram to see some of the tweets I wrote and Canva posts I made for our October Youth Justice Action Month 31 facts project!

As for the DMC Conference, DMC stands for Disproportionate Minority Contact. It's one of the focus areas for all 50 states to address issues of why there is a disproportionate number of minority children impacted by the system and ways that we can combat this. My role in the conference planning thus far is creating content to promote it on social media outlets, reaching out to the presenters to finalize their information, making name badges, editing the program, and finally helping to physically set up the conference when the time comes in late November.

Anyway, that’s all for now. This weekend is the H Street Festival (which was rescheduled due to Hurricane Florence). Check back!

— Deanna Campion, a senior dual political science and communication studies major #ProfessionalU

Tuesday, October 2, 2018

Confident. Determined. And now, ready!

Hello senior year.

I know senior, what a crazy and scary thing to think about. However, it’s honestly the least scary thing to me right now. Bloomsburg University has prepared me well for life after college, and I cannot thank the school enough for the experiences it offers us. You might be thinking in what ways but specifically here, I'm talking about the Career Intensive Boot Camp.

A few weeks ago I attended Professional U's weekend long career boot camp. I can say I’m very thankful I was able to. I met so many alumni, who I now have connections with. The weekend taught me you could start anywhere and achieve what you want when you put the work into it.

It all started Friday afternoon when we met different peers in a wide selection of departments. During the first two session it was all about teamwork. We worked together in small groups through situations and projects. This was a helpful tool when it comes time to go out into the professional world where teamwork is important!

Following that on Saturday there were many more sessions. Alumni told us about their experiences and how they had the same struggles we did, which helped me breathe a little bit! There were some key things during the Career Intensive Boot Camp that were especially helpful and rewarding to go through; having several alumni panel sessions was definitely one.

Saturday was full of helpful events, particularly the resume and cover letter critique. Normally, most of the time people will be mad if they’re wrong but in a situation like this; I wanted to be. Alumni sat down with us, went through our resume and cover letter, and analyzed it to have us ready for the professional world.

Another part was the mock interview, also with help from alumni. They were asking us interview questions and would then take notes to give us feedback. This was such a helpful tool, because for my next interview I will be able to feel a lot more confident!

To end Saturday, we had an etiquette dinner. Who knew there were so many rules? In the ‘real world,’ some employers may take you to lunch or dinner as your interview and this was a helpful session. I was able to learn the ins-and-outs of eating using the correct utensils, how to hold them or where to put them, and how correctly to rip your bread!

Sunday morning, we were able to network more with alumni and had mock phone interviews as well, since that’s often your first impression with the employer, and to make sure you are not an alien of course! After a long, yet helpful, little stressful two and half days, I finally completed the Career Intensive Boot Camp! All participants received a certificate, which was very rewarding. Knowing I was one of the few students who have completed this — and how it will set me apart from everyone else in the professional world — has given me a lot of confidence! I would recommend anyone who is thinking about it to sign up! It’s so worth it, and I cannot wait to go back in the spring!

— Katie Behie, a senior marketing major  #ProfessionalU

Monday, October 1, 2018

Welcome to the Coalition for Juvenile Justice

Hey Everybody!

The first week of my internship is finally complete. As I said before, my internship will be with the Coalition for Juvenile Justice. It’s a nonprofit organization that advocates for reform in the criminal justice system.

They emphasize on rehabilitation of juvenile offenders and finding alternative options instead of incarceration. My job for the next two weeks is to help prepare for a conference in Texas late next week, and then the DMC Conference in late November.

This Saturday we had the privilege of a White House tour. These tend to be very difficult to get, so it was a pretty exclusive event! We saw the East Room (where receptions, ceremonies, press conferences, weddings, dinners, and concerts are held), Green Room, Blue Room, Red Room, and the State Dining Room.

The halls are filled with portraits of former presidents and first ladies, official china used by presidents, and other artifacts. These pictures are from the East Room and just outside the front door.

It’s been rainy for the past few days here so we haven’t done much other sight seeing besides the White House. Check back for a post about the H Street Festival!

— Deanna Campion, a senior dual political science and communication studies major #ProfessionalU

It's finally here!

I'm finally a part of a real, fun, chaotic, and happy classroom! I have about 19 children in my second grade classroom I so graciously get to student teach until mid-October.

I'm in my second week, and all I can say is what a joy! Of course, it's a little crazy and I feel like I have to wash my hands every minute but let me tell you I'm sure happy to be here. Already, I get to grade the children’s homework and their tests. I have my own little desk and when I actually have down time I find myself daydreaming of what my very own classroom is going to look like and what posters I will be hanging on my walls.

Before even getting into the classroom I felt myself becoming nervous and feeling unprepared. I mean, yah my professors did all they could to better prepare me for student teaching, including the ever-long lesson plan writing and the abundant amount of group projects but nothing really prepares you until you’re actually in the classroom. Nothing could have prepared me for the fact I'm going to have to remember what I'm teaching that day on top of all the other little things that come along with this career.

For example, there’s one child who needs to take his water bottle to lunch because he can’t drink milk, and there’s two children who are going home at 1 p.m., so they need to have their homework ready in their folders to go home and do not forget to keep an eye on that child because they just sneezed all over their desk, so they need to get up and wash their hands and you have to clean their desk off.

Oh! And don’t forget that child because he needs to go to the nurse, and OH there’s a fire drill today that will interrupt our math lesson? Okay, let me just put that on my list!

In the end, I wouldn’t want it any other way! The moment when you’re in front of the classroom teaching addition or on the floor reading to the children and you get to see them laugh or smile or think is what makes it all worth it. I am constantly finding myself feeling an overwhelming amount of pride and joy when I can see little George or Amy finally understand a concept or when they get excited whipping their hand up in the air because they know the answer to a problem.

I can not wait to see what these next seven weeks hold for me!

— Carolann Green, a senior early childhood education major

Thursday, September 20, 2018

A local Husky’s guide to the Bloomsburg Fair

We're fast approaching an annual milestone that molds our university culture with those in the rural realm around us. Each year, people come together for a week from far and wide in the only town in Pennsylvania to celebrate: the Bloomsburg Fair!

I’m from the small town of Benton, about 20 miles north of Bloomsburg. The fair is a huge attraction for us rural neighbors, mainly because you have to drive to Bloomsburg to do anything exciting in the first place. Also, because the surrounding high schools have the whole week off for the fair. If you have never been to "The Fair," I implore you to try it out! Especially if you’re a fan of greasy, fried comfort food on a stick.

Animal lovers have their place at the fair too. There are plenty of barns where you can check out horses, goats, cows, pigs, sheep, chickens, rabbits, and even dogs (if you’re willing to pay a small fee). If you have an interest in antiques, gardening, or art, you should check out the four large, brick exhibit buildings located parallel to the sky ride. The best shopping and knick-knacks are located under the grandstand.

Of course, those aren’t the only attractions at the Bloomsburg Fair. There’s also the area around the track that houses all the carnival games you loved to play as a kid.

Have $10 and some serious carnival skill?

You might just win your significant other the most ginormous teddy bear ever. Or if you’re lacking in the skill department, you could win a keychain … I guess that’s nice too.

If you want an adrenaline rush, try out the carnival rides! The adrenaline comes from the ride, but also from the knowledge that it could (jokingly) break at any second. They are also mostly located at the far end of the track. In all seriousness, the rides are extremely safe, because they have to be inspected so many times for only one week of operation.

The food ... I mean, the food!

The food at the Bloomsburg Fair is possibly its biggest attraction. The food may seem very uniform, but every stand has a specialty, and a group of customers it attracts. Sure, there are TONS of fried food, but there are other delicious options that aren’t batter dipped and fried in oil. There are an abundance of stands selling cheesesteaks, gyros, pizzas, calzones, seafood, and some things you’ve never even heard of.

A few years ago I bought a foot-long hotdog with macaroni and cheese as a topping. There’s a stand where you can purchase a turkey leg. You read that right, you can walk around looking like a Viking. There are also some places that have more of a restaurant atmosphere where you can sit down and eat. Places like these usually have some of the best desserts.

Did you say dessert?

Yes, there are so many choices. There are the typical ice cream stands, and the not-so-typical Penn State Berkey Creamery stand (AKA the most delicious, non-homemade ice cream ever). The fair is also during peak apple season, so apple dumplings are a necessity and are available all over the fair. Another one of my favorites are flavored honey sticks. They’re basically like pixie sticks, but with dozens of different flavors of honey. There are multiple stands with taffy and other candies as well.

As if food and desserts weren’t enough, there are also some great beverages available at the fair. Kohr’s orange juice stands are everywhere, and it’s unlike any orange juice you’ve ever had. There are also multiple local cider mill stands where you can get delicious apple cider. Big Ben’s sodas (blue birch beer in particular) are also very yummy.

Last but not least ... the entertainment

No, I don’t mean people watching, although that has its entertaining moments as well.

There's a free stage located near the main entrance, where plenty of bands, musicians, and performing artists play from mid-morning until the fair closes each night. Marching bands also perform at different times throughout the week.

This year there are eight musicians and performing artists at the grandstand — ahem, Cole Swindell and Brett Eldredge to name two — and there’s also the always competitive tractor and truck pull and the popular, entertaining demolition derby.

Grandstand entertainment requires a ticket, which can be bought on the fair’s website. Got my ticket for Tuesday night and already itching to get there early, so maybe you'll see me down there!

— Dallas Kriebel, senior mass communications major #AGreatPlaceToBeYou

Tuesday, September 4, 2018

Keeping up with a fast-paced city

It has been quite the eventful weekend here in our nation’s capital! After orientation events concluded on Friday, some of the other interns and I decided to tackle the metro to find our internship sites. One of the biggest rules in DC is how to use the escalators in the metro. If you are on the right side, you are standing. If you are on the left side, you are walking down as the escalator moves. This is important to remember, because D.C. is a very fast-paced city.

Our internship sites weren’t far from the Washington Monument and the White House, so we decided to do some sightseeing.

I was lucky enough to score two tickets for a tour of the Capitol building and the White House for next week so make sure you check back for pictures of the inside! By the end of this day, we had power walked (again, a very fast paced city) almost 10 miles!

Saturday was another busy day, as we did more sightseeing. We walked to the Library of Congress and the Supreme Court Building, which is only a 15 minute walk from our apartment. It is hard to truly gauge the size of the Supreme Court Building because it is absolutely massive. Pictures do not do it justice (no pun intended), as it stands nearly 92 feet tall, 385 feet long, and 304 feet wide. There is a basketball court on the fifth floor that has been named the “Highest Court in the Land”.

I start my internship on Tuesday, so make sure to see next week’s post about my first week on the job!

— Deanna Campion, a senior dual political science and communication studies major #ProfessionalU

Friday, August 31, 2018

Starting college all over again

Hey everyone! My name is Deanna, and I will be blogging my internship experience in Washington, D.C. for the fall semester. I'm currently a senior at Bloomsburg University with a double major in political science and communication studies.

I got my internship through The Washington Center program. TWC provides classes, professional development seminars, networking opportunities, and internship/career counseling for students all around the country and the world. TWC helped me to find my internship with a nonprofit organization known as The Coalition for Juvenile Justice.

We drove over three and a half hours (about four total with the traffic in Maryland) to get to Washington. In the days leading up to move in day, it really felt like I was starting college all over again.

I was moving almost four hours away where I knew nobody. I knew one other student from BU, who was doing the program too (and coincidentally met a third student from BU who was doing the program as well).

Some of the other interns I met on the first day.
I’m in the middle in the light blue shirt!
I was nervous, but I knew I was about to begin the experience of a lifetime.

The first two days so far have been filled with meeting plenty of other interns as well as orientation events and seminars. I went to a few sessions to teach me how to use the metro to get to my internship site and websites to find free/low cost things to do around the city.

So far I have met people from Texas, Wisconsin, New York, Maine, Iowa, Ohio, and international students from Vietnam and Mexico. The rest of welcome weekend will include some adventuring out into the city.

Stay tuned!

— Deanna Campion, a senior dual political science and communication studies major #ProfessionalU

Monday, July 23, 2018

Witnessing a pivotal time in Ireland’s history

In addition to the stunning sights, one of my most cherished moments of the study abroad tour of Ireland was the fact that we were present during a pivotal time in the country’s history. Ireland voted to repeal the eighth amendment of their constitution, which prohibits abortion. At that time we were in Dublin, Ireland’s lively urban capital with a rich history of its own.

Throughout the entirety of the trip, the passionate campaign signs for both sides of the issue “Vote Yes” and “Vote No” were inescapable across the country. It was both eye-opening and humbling. Coming from the U.S. in 2018, you can’t help but think that no other country could possibly be as divided as our own.

Since Ireland is so heavily influenced by the Catholic Church, they may be considered “behind” other nations in terms of divisive political issues like this one. They only just recently voted to legalize same sex marriage in 2015. Nevertheless, the evidence of progression was glaringly obvious that day; and we got to experience it first-hand.

Just a few days before we departed, the results were announced in favor of the referendum. On the streets of Dublin, in the midst of hundreds of Irish voters cheering and embracing each other - I couldn’t help but feel as though I was a front row spectator to a compelling success in Ireland’s history. It was a powerful, chill-inducing and memorable moment.

— Miranda Carrasquillo#HuskyAbroad #SAPro

Miranda Carrasquillo is pursuing their Master's in Educational Leadership through Bloomsburg University's College Student Affairs (M.Ed.) program. She is among a group of CSA students studying abroad this summer for two weeks in Ireland, visiting several universities to develop an understanding of the structure and practice of college student affairs in Ireland and gain insight into international issues.

Thursday, June 28, 2018

A perfect introduction to college life

When I received my acceptance letter to Bloomsburg University in the spring of 2014, I was completely ecstatic. This was my top choice of schools, and I couldn’t wait to start my college career.

When I read the rest of the letter and saw that I would have to attend summer session, I cried. All of my friends would be enjoying their summer together while I was in Bloomsburg taking classes.
That’s what I thought, anyway.

Little did I know that attending summer session would be one of the best experiences throughout my four years at Bloomsburg. In my time as a summer freshman, I was able to make friends with the people in my classes, as well as my dorm.

There were only a few hundred of us, so everyone knew everyone. I had the opportunity to learn where the academic buildings were without the awkwardness of having to stop someone and get directions.

I mastered the art of when and how to do my laundry without all of them being taken. I got to know the people on my floor and made friends I’m still close with as I finished my senior year.

If you’re nervous about starting summer session, don’t be. For me, it was the perfect introduction to college life without the added pressure of the 500-plus people who actually knew what they were doing.

Take this opportunity to

Do well in your classes so you go into the fall with a rocking GPA. Oh yea, and have fun!

— Danielle Backowski, senior mass communications major #HuskyLife

Tuesday, May 29, 2018

A rich five days in Belfast

Before arriving in the city at Stranmillis University College, where our accommodations were, we spent a fruitful day trekking along the northern coast to see The Giant’s Causeway and the Carrick-a-Rede Rope Bridge. These locations had stunning views of the North Atlantic Ocean, rolling countryside, and rural Irish culture. As jokingly referenced by the locals, our company seemed to have packed clear skies and sunshine in our suitcases, as beautiful weather followed us to each new site.

Our first exposure to Higher Education in the UK came when we visited Ulster University, which is the second largest university in Northern Ireland, consisting of four different campus locations. We had the opportunity to experience two of these campuses; their urban campus in downtown Belfast and their rural campus in the seaside town of Coleraine. At the Belfast campus we heard inspiring presentations from Admissions, International Studies, and Career Services professionals. Since the Belfast campus is academically focused on art, we had the opportunity to see a remarkable amount of student work around the institution. In addition to allowing students to showcase their creative endeavors, the institution proved itself to be forward thinking in how it widened participation to under-represented student populations in the UK. We continued to learn more about Widening Participation at the second Ulster University campus in Coleraine.

At the Coleraine campus we were hosted by Provost Karise Hutchinson and her spectacular team. Karise sat and shared the authentic story of her journey through Higher Education and Coleraine to reach her position, and the trials that she faced along the way. Her colleagues shared their outlooks in their functional areas and we spent the day not only learning about how they work, but also drawing on our learned experience in the CSA program to share our insights, ideas, and suggestions for improvement. That afternoon we spent learning and playing Gaelic Football with individuals in the athletic department. Their athletic department is working on becoming a more inclusive area for students and less focused on the highly competitive aspects we know in the States.

In the middle of the week we found ourselves at Queen’s University in Belfast, which is the largest university in Northern Ireland. This was the first institution we visited that had a Residence Life department akin to those we have in US. Like us, they have a hierarchy of professional and paraprofessional (e.g., Community Assistants) staff. Unlike the U.S., however, the CAs’ primary responsibilities at Queen’s are focused on building community, with minimal focus on policy enforcement or crisis response. Other functional areas at Queen’s also discussed the importance of student inclusion around campus, especially because they have a high population of international students. This was made evident when we met with Stephen, the Student Union president, when he articulated the plan for making the Student Union building more accessible to all students. Many of the institutions we have visited this far have this same goal to create inclusive and accessible environments for their students to thrive.

Throughout our time in Belfast, we witnessed firsthand the political pulse of the community and the people living within it. Our cab drivers (who number well over a dozen), frequently shared personal stories about their lived experience during the “Troubles,” which was a decades-long period of violence, stemming from Northern Ireland’s status as a province of the United Kingdom, rather than a part of the Republic of Ireland. While we were assured that the bloodshed had long-since subsided, reminders of this period echoed in the memorial plaques affixed to the sides of buildings that were bombed, the exhibitions that filled the gilded City Hall, and the gates (nightly locked) positioned at strategic points along the ironically named “Peace Wall,” that separated politically opposing groups. In spite of these things, we found the city of Belfast to be remarkably welcoming, with a cultural atmosphere that exceeded all of our expectations.

— Erica Smith and Jonathan Gowin#HuskyAbroad #SAPro

Smith and Gowin are pursuing their Master's in Educational Leadership through Bloomsburg University's College Student Affairs (M.Ed.) program. They are among a group of CSA students studying abroad this summer for two weeks in Ireland, visiting several universities to develop an understanding of the structure and practice of college student affairs in Ireland and gain insight into international issues.

Thursday, May 24, 2018

Discovering an Irish perspective of higher education

We made it! The Bloomsburg University College Student Affairs students have reached Ireland!

After a few people having delayed, missed flights and an hour delay in Newark due to thunderstorms, we have safely made it to Ireland! The plan for this trip is to visit eight different universities and learn about the higher education system in Ireland. After learning about them, we will be comparing Ireland’s and America’s higher education system.

While taking in the in the Irish culture through visiting some of Ireland’s colleges and universities as well as exploring the different cities, we will better understand higher education in Ireland.

The first university on the trip is University of Limerick. We had a full day meeting with university officials, as well as students. Even though students were done for the semester, the campus still has post-grad students who where taking classes. We met with admissions — both undergrad and postgrad — and got a good grasp on how admissions works in Ireland. All colleges and universities in Ireland use one application process to apply to colleges similar to the Common App, but every higher education institution uses it.

We also got to speak with the Student Union, which is equivalent to our CGA. It was interesting because the students who are in positions in the Student Union take a year off to hold their positions while in the United States, students are in CGA as they're still taking classes.

The day ended with a tour of UL’s beautiful campus that included the Living Bridge, which is an area where students can use it as more than just a bridge — a bridge to do homework, play music, and hand out with friends.

Overall, we had a great time at University of Limerick. It gave us basic understanding of how higher education works in Ireland. Our next stop is Ulster University!

— Pooja Daya, #HuskyAbroad #SAPro

Daya is pursuing her Master's in Educational Leadership through Bloomsburg University's College Student Affairs (M.Ed.) program, as well as serving as a graduate hall director for the Jessica Kozloff Apartments. She is among a group of CSA students studying abroad this summer for two weeks in Ireland, visiting several universities to develop an understanding of the structure and practice of college student affairs in Ireland and gain insight into international issues.

Friday, May 18, 2018

Captain’s log, Day 3: Last day in Budapest

Dorm rooms at the University of Pécs. Way cool.

It’s our last breakfast at the hotel so we make it count: eggs on eggs on eggs, yogurt with mad granola, and a heaping slab of the coldest of cuts. A few of us headed to the market to buy hand-carved chess sets before the long drive to Pécs.

Time for the drive. We bustle in to spacious luxury shuttles equipped with Wi-Fi and fueled with love, and we start our trek to a new home. The drive is a sea of hills and fields, grassy knolls, and it looks like something out of Toy Story. “Picturesque, to say the least,” reports Dan. We stop at a gas station along the way to stock up on grapes, the loveliest fruit in the land. Nick buys a pastry that turns out to be an undercover steak, but he’ll live. (We hope)

Dr. Zsuzsanna Schnell showing us all the cool historical stuff in Pécs.
Entering Pécs. Sarah scours the streets for dogs, or “good boys,” as she’s taken to calling them. We’re surrounded by hills lush with greenery and beautiful architecture. We get to the dorm building, our home for the rest of the trip, and slog our luggage up the stairs like worker ants vigorously transporting bread to their anthill.

It feels like college move-in week all over again, but without any stress or responsibility. We make the discovery that our windows open up in a way that allows us to hang out on the roof and talk between rooms, all the while staring at the gorgeous city ahead of us. The Box has truly blessed us on this day. Amen.

We decide to get a taste of the city with a visit to a local cafeteria, where the food is unfamiliar and the language barrier is strong, but we press forward with valor and might. Next up is a tour of the city with Dr. Zsuzsanna Schnell, professor at the University of Pécs and celebrity superstar from our past semester’s “COIL” course (Jamie maybe insert link to your article here). We visit more places than we can remember, mosques made into churches, cathedrals, fountains, and a wall of locks.

See the umbrellas – an amazing ice cream joint called, Ciao Bella Cukrászda.
Most of the locks represent a couple pledging their love to one another, but we can already tell that we’ll be needing to leave one for the city of Pécs at the end of our journey. After the tour, we all felt the same: a strong desire for ice cream.

“Not just any ice cream, but soft, creamy… soul-saving goodness… that you can just suck in… I can’t talk about it anymore,” raves Dan, who has been steadily consuming cones ever since. While attempting to prevent Dan from getting another scoop, we have a long chat about the trip, our thoughts so far, and the truth about the moon landing. Before we pack up for the night, a Pécs student named Justin takes us to a local grocery store to stock up on food for the week ahead. Sarah continues scanning the premises for good boys. We return to the dorm, where Dan and Nick engage in a violent battle of mental warfare on their newly purchased chess sets.

Like the wise Mr. Miyagi before him, Nick teaches Stew how to play, and sets him on a path of destruction the likes of which has never before been witnessed. Dr. P, our father, reminds us to write this blog, so we decide to play cards instead. All goes well, and by the end of the game our throats are raw from screaming at each other like jackals in the night.

Finally, we sit down together to write the blog. Truth be told, we were dreading doing anything that resembled work, but after we started, we just couldn’t stop. All of our fun memories came back to us like scorned lovers, and if our laughter could be translated into written words (in Hungarian), we would outsell Shakespeare himself (though he might not be very popular here).

Days since Sarah has last pet a dog: 3.

Led by Christopher Podeschi, associate professor of sociology, a group of Bloomsburg University students spent 10 days in Hungary this summer studying first-hand the Hungarian culture, history and identity. The study abroad trip was part of Podeschi's spring collaborative online international learning course, Seminar on Identity and Locality, which included videoconferencing during the semester with a class from the University of Pecs. The abroad experience also featured visits to Budapest and a rural Hungarian community that provided social and cultural context explored during class discussion earlier in the spring.    #CollaborativeLearning #HuskySummer #HuskyAbroad

Wednesday, May 16, 2018

Not too shabby Budapest

Us at dinner, still happy because the check had not yet arrived.

We had an early start to our day, because we had to meet a professor for a historical tour of different residential areas of Budapest. We all had breakfast at the hotel and were rather surprised to see a platter of sandwich meat available at the buffet. After breakfast we got on a really nice minibus with Dr. Marianna Nagy from the Károli Gáspár University of the Reformed Church in Hungary.

She took us to three different residential areas and connected each to the history of Hungary and Hungary today. It also provided us the opportunity to see daily Hungarian life up close and take note of things like socioeconomic class differences and how class-based segregation is not as pronounced in some Budapest neighborhoods as it is in the U.S.

Dr. Nagy schooling us about Hungary’s history and identity
under communism, while we visit a residential
neighborhood built during the communist era.
Dan and Nick jumped off the bus a couple times, the second time for good. Dan wasn’t feeling well so they went rogue in Budapest and saw a Holocaust museum and walked until Dan felt better.

After seeing the residential areas we went to the Zwack Museum to learn about a Zwack Unicum, a beverage that is key to Hungarian identity. After that the whole group reconvened at the Central Market Hall on the south end of downtown Budapest near the Danube. It’s a beautiful old indoor market place with many restaurants and vendors selling fruits, meats, vegetables and, traditional crafts.

Later we took the bus and trolley back up to the Parliament building for a tour, specially arranged by one of our gracious hosts, Virag Rab. The facade of the parliament was grand and ornate and the interior was equally so. The pictures tell the tale here. The couches were a century old and still comfortable! They felt like trampolines! There were also cigar holders near the windows in the hall outside of the main chamber of Parliament . . . they had to leave their cigars outside the main chamber in a numbered slot for only their cigar.

Central Market Hall near the Danube on the south end of downtown Budapest
Dr. Podeschi let us choose where to eat for dinner, and we chose to have dessert first. While eating our dessert, we avoided a really bad rainstorm. Then Dr. Podeschi left us to our own devices while he went looking for souvenirs for his family. After a tumultuous discussion of where to eat we decided on an American-style restaurant (don’t worry – we’ve been sampling authentic Hungarian fare!).

 The food was amazing and we all loved it. We were having a nice time at dinner, covering various topics (e.g., Sarah informed us that whales sleep vertically and that horrifies her). Then the check came. We should have touched The Box beforehand. It would perhaps have been easier for us to fly an airliner home than split this bill sensibly. We headed back toward the hotel in three groups, one hailing from the East, one rising from sea, and one departing from the Trolley. We all finally found dad (Dr. P) at the appointed bus stop and made it safely back to the hotel.

Thank The Box! Amen.

The view from the Elisabeth Bridge (Erzsébet híd in Hungarian) as we walked back to the hotel. Not too shabby Budapest.

Led by Christopher Podeschi, associate professor of sociology, a group of Bloomsburg University students spent 10 days in Hungary this summer studying first-hand the Hungarian culture, history and identity. The study abroad trip was part of Podeschi's spring collaborative online international learning course, Seminar on Identity and Locality, which included videoconferencing during the semester with a class from the University of Pecs. The abroad experience also featured visits to Budapest and a rural Hungarian community that provided social and cultural context explored during class discussion earlier in the spring.  
#CollaborativeLearning #HuskySummer #HuskyAbroad

Monday, May 14, 2018

Sociology trip to Hungary starts with a box, ends with a community

Standing around The Box at this point, waiting for one more traveler

We literally stood around a box as though it were a sacred artifact while we waited to get our tickets and go through security at Philadelphia International Airport. From that point on, The Box became pretty important. Everyone was safely at the airport, and we were all through security and waiting at the gate without any hitches or problems. This worried Dr. Podeschi. Things were going too smoothly. But then they didn’t. Our flight was delayed and we were relieved (right?). We felt like something bad needed to happen, and a small bad is a good bad. Or perhaps we angered The Box. Time will tell.

Waiting out flight delay in Philadelphia
During the delay, airline personnel continuously called for Schmidt, Lazerhead, and Jealousy over the intercom. We’re sure of only two of these names, but that doesn’t matter. The second will always be Lazerhead. Anyway, we assume these three are now dead (or missed their flight or decided to not go to Madrid).

Now the real traveling. Dan's attempt to join the first class passengers was rebuffed. Dan and Sarah attempted to befriend the flight attendance and were rejected. She was all business. And a stranger slept on Katie's shoulder. Jackie slept in an odd, no . . . worrying position. Sam did not (sleep, that is). Once off the plane, we reconvened around and touched The Box to show proper respect (as one does).

 Then, thanks to The Box we got our luggage quickly. Nick must not have really been feeling it when he touched the box because he mistakenly withdrew a lot of Hungarian money on accident (let’s just say that if it were 1989 he could have bought a small house in the Budapest suburbs - literally). Same with Katie and Andrea: they learned a tough lesson about currency exchange. Inexplicably, Megan felt her exchange was fair. Hmmm. Perhaps she had a special connection to The Box.

On to the Hotel Jagello, on the lovely and hilly Buda side of Budapest. One group was on a shuttle to the hotel in silence and fear. The driving was a little more aggressive in Hungary than what we're used to. Members of the other group thought that Dr. Podeschi planted an undercover sociologist as their driver, because the conversation was so cool and interesting.

Going to meet Bertalan for a tour of Budapest
Once we arrived at the hotel we paired up and entered our rooms. Stew ran into an issue when he couldn't figure out how to turn on any of the lights in his room. He managed to relieve himself in the dark without too much trouble (or mess). Then Dr. Podeschi texted everyone about how the key to the door was also the key to the electricity for the whole room. Details Podeschi, details.

After the long flight, the group diverged into three. One portion wanted to rest. Another decided to find food and got lost, but found ice cream and a nice man who taught them how to count Hungarian money.

The rest took a hike through a park to a statue and then got lunch. They also learned a bit about Hungarian restaurant norms (e.g., the wait staff are not in a hurry, they don’t come back to ask you if you want another of something).

The group then all met back up to take a tour around Budapest with Bertalan (call him Bart) the wonderful former University of Pecs student who just finished his master’s degree in International Relations from Corvinius University in Budapest.

Electric trolley ride in Budapest
Bart informed us about much of Hungarian history and current politics in Hungary, all while showing us some of the main sites in downtown Budapest.

And there was a bit of a thrill at the beginning of the tour: an undercover security agent abruptly interrupted us next to the parliament building, telling us to stop because the Prime Minister was coming. Then two black cars rushed by in front of us and stopped at the side of the building. We didn't see him but Bertalan confirmed that it was indeed Viktor Orban's black armored van! We were a bit shocked because there was so little security.

Later on the tour we also observed a dog park and discovered the well behaved, unleashed Hungarian dogs. All of the students were enamored by the dogs, particularly Sarah “Good Boy” Johnson.

Sadly, Dr. Podeschi was too absorbed in Bart's discourse on Hungarian politics to notice the majestic beasts. After leaving the majestic beasts we ventured off to a nice Hungarian restaurant. Then we were super tired and went back to the hotel to sleep.

So far so good. Days since Sarah has pet a dog: 1 day. 

Enjoying the great public transportation in Hungary 

Led by Christopher Podeschi, associate professor of sociology, a group of Bloomsburg University students spent 10 days in Hungary this summer studying first-hand the Hungarian culture, history and identity. The study abroad trip was part of Podeschi's spring collaborative online international learning course, Seminar on Identity and Locality, which included videoconferencing during the semester with a class from the University of Pecs. The abroad experience also featured visits to Budapest and a rural Hungarian community that provided social and cultural context explored during class discussion earlier in the spring.    #CollaborativeLearning #HuskySummer #HuskyAbroad