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CGS Internship

By KELLY ANN DIAZ on September 22, 2013

I am really enjoying my experience as an intern for the Center for Global Studies so far. Our lead-intern, Katie Black, is one of my former classmates and lots of fun to work with! Our grad-intern, Molly Appel, was my TA last year for CmLit 10. It is a pleasure to work with both of these ladies again! As an intern, I will get to attend a lot of really exciting lectures and conventions, help at a local fair, and co-lead a club at the Young Scholars of Central Pennsylvania charter school.

My favorite task so far has been teaching at YSCP on Wednesday afternoons. Katie studied abroad in Belgium and is studying French and I studied abroad in the United Kingdom, so we are utilizing these experiences to teach a French and UK Culture club to 3rd and 4th graders. First we taught them words used commonly by English speakers that are actually French words, looked at the difference in phrases between British English and American English, and explained what the United Kingdom includes (England, Scotland, Wales, and Northern Ireland). The second week, we did “Olympics” as a theme, and focused on the use of French as the official language, the London 2012 Olympics, and famous French and British Olympians. The kids had a blast, and we loved getting to share these fun facts with them! This week, at our third meeting, we taught them about “football,” rugby, and cricket, which are extremely popular in Europe. We gave a lesson on famous players, teams, and the rules of rugby and cricket, then split the kids into team France and team GB and took them outside to play soccer or “football” as it is called in the UK! They really enjoyed this lesson, as well.

On Mondays and Thursdays I spend my afternoons in the Center for Global Studies office, working closely with Sarah, Molly, Katie, and my fellow interns. In the office I have made flyers for big lectures and events that we are co-sponsoring, brainstormed ideas for America Reads programs, and made lesson plans for my YSCP club! I am really worried about making a mistake, but everyone in the office is helpful and understanding, and eager to answer any questions I have or help when I need it.

In the upcoming weeks, I look forward to beginning the America Reads program and planning and executing fun activities for our participants. Our first theme will be “Eric Carle’s World” where we will do a really cool collage project. I also look forward to working on the September installment of the CGS newsletter. It will be exciting not only to write my article, but also to help edit and format the newsletter! Lastly, I am excited to work with more of my co-interns more frequently. Our schedules are all very busy, and it is hard to find time where our schedules permit us to work together, but I know there will be many events in the near future that we will all plan for and attend together.

The Big Finale: In Review


And so it passed, that on the twelfth day after her final exam, the last of the interns did finally venture upon this quest, her virtual swan song in that fine fraternity, Ye Olde Centre of Global Ftudyes.

And then she did cease to speak in the third person or attempt to use ye olde-ish language, because it was cheesy.  And weird.

We at the Center ended the semester in a veritable whirlwind of activity: we publicized; we stuffed nametags, we stuffed folders, we stuffed bags, we stuffed delicious bags of cookies into bags; we woke up at the crack of 6 (ish) a.m. and hustled to the Nittany Lion Inn, driven by an unshakeable sense of duty and the promise of a free breakfast.  And did a bunch of other stuff like coursework and finals and running afterschool clubs.  We threw caution and grammar to the wind. STOP ME YOU CAN’T.


Power, Geographies of? On Bring it.

The “Geographies of Power” conference took place at the Nittany Lion Inn, from Friday, April 26 to Saturday, April 27.  It drew speakers and attendants from across the country and the globe–a fairly intimidating guest list for us to face at the registration table, before our social skills have fully kicked in around noon.  Luckily, though, it went off without a hitch! –Other than that dinner Saturday night when a University of Alberta professor jokes about taking my Indian food.  We don’t joke about such things around here.

I sat in for a number of the sessions throughout the conference, including keynote addresses by John Esposito and Wendy Brown, and several panel discussions.  Both were interesting, although Brown’s discussion of neoliberalism as an economic, social, and political force found a little more traction, given my personal interests.  I will admit that her vocabulary was often beyond my comprehension at that late point in the day, to the point that I felt like I needed a translator at times; but I will maintain that I “got the gist of it.”  Another point in the conference that I found particularly interesting was Panel 4’s presentations on Saturday morning, which focused on cultural representations of the ‘War on Terror’ and other issues in the post- 9/11 era.  For instance, Dr. Moustafa Bayoumi’s paper focused on the representation and involvement of the CIA in entertainment, using the television series, 24, and the recent film, Zero Dark Thirty, as contrasting examples–the former, from the time of the Bush administration following the 9/11 attacks, encouraging the bending and breaking of rules in the name of freedom, and the latter from the time of the Obama administration, following a general realignment to emphasizing order and procedure as the democratic antithesis to the chaos and destruction of terrorism.  Dr. Nikhil Singh’s presentation on “The Globalization of Settlers” was also particularly interesting to me for its suggestion that the settler mentality that we see in the historical interactions between the European settlers and Native Americans in the modern United States, was transferred and grafted onto other colonized peoples throughout the world.

Working behind the scenes at the conference was an intriguing experience in itself.  As I said before, we survived the morning rush without much incident.  I also argued with a maladjusted rented camera who just didn’t like the lighting; I wrestled a loud door at the back of the room in a misguided attempt NOT to distract from the speaker; we all bit our nails as Dr. Brown stepped off a plane, into a car, and up to the podium (CURSE YOU, AIR TRAFFIC!); and, of course, we ate delicious food, and lots of it.


We made lots of new friends.

The “Geographies of Power” conference was one monster of a conclusion to my time at CGS–your typical final project, on steroids.  And, I repeat, with better food.  I have learned a lot, and one of the most important developments really shone through at this conference.  I have become a lot more comfortable in these professional and academic environments.  Do I still need a dictionary to decipher some of what I heard?  For sure; but I can definitely point you toward the dining room without feeling inferior!

Okay, bad example.  To put it a little more coherently, I feel like I can competently interact with not only my co-workers, but also other professionals and academics.  Overhearing comments like “I need to go last, I have no idea what I’m saying!” and watching panel members joking at each other’s expense was particularly reassuring in deciding that these were, in fact, approachable humans.  It is discoveries like this groundbreaking gem that I will take with me to my future work experiences and–hold on to your hats–abroad.  CIEE Chile, here I come (Look for even scarier blog posts when I am released to wreak havoc on the wider internet)!

And so, sliding this final post in under the wire, I pass along my final thanks to the entire staff of the Center for Global Studies!  Now on to new adventures…

 In the nick of time, one more Indiana Jones reference, for the road.

The Conference and Some Conclusions

By Casey McAlpin on May 1, 2013 11:12 PM

Being a short-sighted college student who was recently slapped with a rather large dose of senioritis, my biggest concern in regards to the Geographies of Power conference, the one the office has been working on meticulously since before I became an intern, was “Oh no, I have to wake up at 6:30am. What does the world even look like at that hour?” Yeah, so everyone who is not a college student hates me for that but this is my last year of life where that is acceptable, so let me be. For the record, the sun is out at 6:30am. Who knew?


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Look! We’re alive at 7:30am!

On a more serious note, being involved with Geographies of Power was an awesome way to end my experience at CGS. I could have never imagined the amount of work that goes into putting a conference together – from knowing every participant’s itinerary, ordering food for all of the meals, packing folders and bags, and more.


One of the best parts of working at the conference was that we got to sit in on many of the presentations. One of my favorites was by Dr. Anna Gabe who gave a presentation on Islam and environmentalism in Indonesia. I was mostly impressed by her presence as a public speaker (because having a PhD and being brilliant just isn’t enough). If she’s not already a slam poet on the side, someone needs to tell her to become one. (See Sarah Kay: Slam Poet Queen:


I also loved Dr. Moustafa Bayoumi’s speech and I imagine most of the participants did as well. While everyone’s presentation was brilliant and thought-provoking, Bayoumi’s was relatable. It was awesome to walk away from his presentation, which made references to the show 24 and Zero Dark Thirty in relation to the CIA’s role in Hollywood, and realize that I actually understood everything that he said.


This brings me to my next point. Every time a presenter gave their speech I was amazed at their expertise on the most specific topics. Which is why my absolute favorite moment of the conference was when I heard a speaker say to her panel chair, “I need to present last. I have no idea what I’m doing” (this is not to say that the speaker was not prepared). I always imagined that by senior year I would have my life together. With graduation three days away, and no life plan set, it was awesome to hear that an academic with a PhD degree doesn’t have it all together either.

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Reward for all of our hard work: Unlimited naan at the post-conference dinner. YUM!

Full Circle


After working an entire semester towards the Geographies of Power conference held on April 26-27 I feel like my time at the Center for Global Studies has shown me why I chose this field of International Relations. We have spent the semester working at outreach events within the local community and schools to broaden the view of international cultures and it seemed that the conference was somewhat unrelated to the rest of our experience.  While listening to the first keynote speaker, Dr. John Esposito, he emphasized the necessity of speaking out and increasing cultural awareness to decrease the amount of islamophobia in America. I have seen how teaching children about diversity and to understand foreign cultures will allow for less xenophobia in the future after my time at the Young Scholars of Pennsylvania Charter School.  I have been leading the French/Francophone cultures club and it has been great teaching the third, fourth, and fifth graders to have a more open worldview.  We have gone through French history and culture by doing skits, simulations, and games.  It has been a very fun and rewarding experience and when the director of the Center, Dr. Sophia McClennen, spoke at the conference she tied it all together for me.  She spoke about how she has hope in our generation, “the millennials,” to make a change and improve the issues that were spoken about during the weekend. As she was saying that it was great to hear that someone had faith in my generation, but I also thought about how much the children at YSCP will be able to do after getting such a well rounded globally aware education. They are the generation who are really going to solve our problems we are just the generation who are giving them the tools to do so.

Vienna Waits For You

By MATTHEW S HOFFMAN on April 23, 2013


It would not be a proper French/Francophone club without discussing Napoleon I at some point. Katie and I decided to follow up our rather successful reenactment of the French Revolution with a very short history of Napoleon (pun intended), with the 3rd through 5th graders participating in a model Congress of Vienna. The actual Congress of Vienna, dominated by Klemen von Metternich of Austria, negotiated a balance of power in Europe between the powerful nations, legitimizing the monarchies Napoleon had overthrown and restoring peace to the continent. Instead of completely sticking to historical accuracy, we decided to allow the students to make alternative decisions affecting relations with those around them in real time. Since Katie and I are both international politics majors, it was also a chance to invoke our own research and knowledge, often obfuscated with dry discourse, with children.

You know, instead of politicians disguised as adults who act like children.

First, the nine students, including Katie, were paired off into five nations: Austria, Prussia, the United Kingdom (UK), Russia and Bourbon France. Each student was given a sheet of paper where they could circle or write their answers depending on the question. The first round asked them to decide whether their nation would be a monarchy or a democracy. In a shocking twist, the UK, France and Russia chose to switch to democracy. The rules of our game stipulated that monarchies and democracies would be natural enemies. Therefore, three democracies aligned against Prussia and Austria who sided with the rod and scepter of the monarchy.

These results made the second round more complex. The students were faced with a choice of what to do with France, now under Bourbon control. They could either keep it intact or divide it up among themselves. Only Prussia voted to carve it up and, since the majority rules, France remained whole. However, Prussia’s desire sent shock waves through the Russian, UK and French parties.



The third round began asking them a two part question: Should you wage war against any nation and, if so, why? Each nation would answer one at a time, but I told the students that they could change their mind depending on what those around them had decided. This way, the diplomacy would resemble something more fluid and organic.

Russia began by declaring war on Canada. Katie and I were both taken completely by surprise (humorously) at this. I said it was a good choice because they would never see that coming. One of the Prussian students yelled, “The UK owns Canada. Why are you attacking your friends?!” That angered the UK group, but not enough to change their minds from attacking Austria. The UK group kept calling the Austrians “those crazy people” over and over. Soon, France and Russia began joining in on the labeling and Austria found itself backed into a corner with Prussia, split between two students, on what to do. The Prussians looked scared, as they were obviously outnumbered, and now their only ally was likened to being insane.

The crazy Austrians were outmatched and, ostensibly, doomed. But diplomacy is always full of surprising twists and turns. Katie had only given small amounts of advice to her teammate throughout the game. Originally, we had planned for Katie to act like a Metternich figure going around bribing the other countries with cookies to make secret treaties. However, it only would seem to complicate things. Instead, she left the students engage in diplomacy with little direction and it worked out better in the end. The kids all took their roles seriously and played to their self-interests while attempting to keep alliances intact.

During the tumultuous third round negotiations concerning war, one student in the Prussian group made a passionate speech proclaiming that peace was the only way not to delve back into the Napoleonic Wars that had plagued the continent. She was channeling Metternich directly, though never having heard or read a single thing about him. It was an amazing and surreal moment to watch unfurl as the other students listened intently and absorbed the peaceful soliloquy on display.

Katie (or Klementine von Metternich as I dubbed her) let her partner do the speaking for Austria. Immediately, the student declared in a great German accent that she was, indeed, not crazy and willing to negotiate peace among all nations to preserve harmony. Katie’s teammate in the Austrian group also has a well-known disdain for Justin Bieber too. After her Churchill-esque speech in a great German accent, we had a round of applause. Then we gave the students two rounds of Pillsbury sugar cookies, which was a good thing because they all went Austrian crazy from the sugar after that.



As it stood, Europe was on the brink of sliding back into conflict. That is, if it was not for a peaceful little Prussian and her profound effect on the whole class.

Then Russia decided to invade Brazil.

And the Lessons Go On


One of the many perks of working at CGS is the extra sense of purpose (translation: obligation) that it gives me outside of class.  We are privileged at Penn State, to have access to so many lectures and events led by prominent speakers from every walk of life, but it is nonetheless easy to become deaf to such frequent opportunities when faced with the moderately-sized mountain of homework and club obligations, and perhaps the odd spasm of summer weather in State College.

 College-students-summer-fun2.jpg 45 degrees?! Time to get out your summer clothes, Penn State!

When I first came to the university, I was dork-ish-ly excited about the lists of events I received via three different listservs, three times a week.  It took me about one month to realize that a college student is a rather busy creature, and extras like these events tend to fade into white noise.  Every once in a while, though, an event would catch my eye.  Since settling into a major–a milestone that I know I have celebrated in just about every post that I have written–I have begun to feel more driven to consider attending such events (“I need to catch up on work and sleep, but…I should go to this…”).  Since beginning work at CGS, that compulsion has intensified further (“I need to catch p on work and sleep, but…this looks interesting…I should go to this…I could blog about this… I should really go to this…”).

And so, the Center for Global Studies has successfully compelled me to attend a couple of lecture events this semester, and I can’t say that I have any regrets.

In mid-March, Mary Robinson, former president and first female president of Ireland, came to discuss ethical leadership in the modern world, and packed half of Eisenhower Auditorium in the process.  During her long and impressive career, Robinson has also served as the United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights and is now one of the Elders.  She has reached far beyond the previously existing boundaries of these ‘jobs’, though; the extensive overview of her career and work left me with the singular impression that she is a superhero (a review that I passed on to any- and everyone that asked me about the lecture).

I could easily ramble about this event for the length of a short book; but in that case, you might as well just check out the much better written and more accurate edition, Everybody Matters: My Life Giving Voice, by Mary Robinson herself.  What I will ramble for a while is a set of issues that Robinson has dealt with in her human rights work and that boomeranged back to me in another lecture only a week later.  This second event was a session on UN careers, led by Michael Emery, of the United Nations Population Fund (UNFPA).

The issues to which I am referring are faced by young women throughout the world–child marriage and female genital mutilation.  The mission of UNFPA is to deliver “a world where every pregnancy is wanted, every birth is safe, every young person’s potential is fulfilled” (  This broadly defined mission includes the issues mentioned above, but includes confronting and dealing with the specific issues mentioned above.

I found it interesting that this topic surfaced in my life, twice over the course of one week–especially since I seem to keep circling back to women’s issues in my student career.  It is no secret that I find the practices of child marriage and cutting to be atrocious violations of the rights of girls who are too young (or otherwise limited) to fight for themselves, reinforced through ages of reproducing the same atrocity.  But how do you fight something that so many people are willing to sweep under the rug as a part of the ambiguous monster of ‘culture’?

According to Mary Robinson, you begin fighting with words.  One of the major steps that she mentioned was changing the way you present an issue; words have power.  In this case, she spoke of no longer calling these things “culture” or “cultural practices”, but “harmful traditional practices.”  This new terminology renders these practices more concrete and impermanent.  If we can change the way we think of a thing, we can change the thing.

I’ll stop before I get more preachy, but here comes the bottom line, folks:  Go outside of class and learn.  Things will pop up.  You will find your interests somewhere in the mix.  Pay attention and you might learn more than the straight lesson plan.

Networking Anxiety

By Casey McAlpin on March 27, 2013

Networking has been a constant theme of my internship at CGS this semester. That doesn’t necessarily mean that I have been networking, but it does mean that I know I should be. Mrs. Lyall-Combs is constantly urging the interns to network in all situations; with parents at World Stories Alive, professors that attend Brown Bag Lectures, and pretty much everyone that we meet. I know networking is vital, especially because my internship last summer was a direct result of talking to my friend’s dad about my career goals but to most college students, networking sometimes feels like a dirty word.

Last Thursday, my fellow intern Katie and I decided to work up some courage and attend a networking event for the College of the Liberal Arts. Did the fact that we knew Mrs. Lyall-Combs would be proud of us play a role in our attendance? Yes. Being the punctual, responsible students that we are, we arrived ten minutes early. This also meant that we were the first students there, which immediately sent both of us into a panic. Did we go hide in the bathroom until more people showed up? Maybe. For the record, we know we’re pathetic.

I don’t know why this is a meme but Katie- they’re talking about us

The important point is that we stuck on our nametags, put on a brave face and decided to network. The event started with a quick talk by a College of the Liberal Arts graduate. He reminded us about eye contact, firm handshakes, and body language. He also gave us a few talking points. The speaker told us to talk about things that were easy to relate to. He suggested that guys should make conversation with other professional men about March Madness, meanwhile the female students could talk to other women about their hair and shoes. While I don’t think the comment was meant to be rude, it seemed blatantly sexist and made me feel more uncomfortable in this networking situation than I already was. So what if I let the school with the funniest name win my March Madness bracket? (Valparaiso all the way. Yes, I know they already lost. Girls can make jokes too.). I can however, school anyone in football trivia any day. Furthermore, I wouldn’t have had any problem starting a conversation by complementing a woman’s outfit but I definitely wasn’t going to do so after the speaker told me that was my gender’s designated conversation starter.


 Valpo’s Mascot- It’s as great as the name

I moved past it though because I knew this networking event could be an important opportunity for me, especially as a senior rapidly approaching graduation and unemployment, despite my countless job applications floating around in cyberspace. I was especially excited to attend this networking event because it was for Liberal Arts majors specifically. People ask me what I’m going to do with my international relations major all of the time, and although I have a pretty good idea of what I want to do, I was looking forward to seeing what graduates from my major had accomplished professionally. I opened up the event’s program that listed the alumni that were attending and that was when I learned there wasn’t a single graduate from my major. As you can tell, this network event wasn’t exactly going my way.


Nevertheless, there were political science majors there, which Katie and I decided was close enough, so we were staying positive. The alumni were clustered around tables with signs that indicated their professional field. There were tables for lawyers, government employees, and to my surprise non-profit professionals. That’s when I really gained some confidence and got excited to network. I’ve been applying to entry-level positions at non-profits and NGOs and I had a ton of questions about the job search process. I was especially looking forward to getting some advice on how to tailor my resume and cover letters for these types of positions. Well guess what? Nobody was at the non-profit table. I was even tricked by a woman who approached the table and asked me if I wanted to talk to a non-profit professional. When I exclaimed, “Yes! I do!” she informed me that she was a lawyer on her way to her designated table, but she hoped someone would come my way soon.

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I’m quickly approaching the evil “graduation” point

So I didn’t walk away from the networking event with a job or a handful of business cards like I had imagined but I did walk away from it with confidence, which is equally important. I can get past my nerves and talk to strangers (commonly known as networking) and I can enjoy it once I stop freaking myself out. Maybe at the next networking event Katie and I won’t even have panic attacks.

The Best Part of CGS?

One of the best things about interning with the Center for Global Studies is realizing how many things I don’t know. I didn’t know that our director had written a book about Stephen Colbert or that our associate director grew up in Hong Kong. I didn’t know that the Center had only been created three years ago. I didn’t know that this was probably going to be one of the most valuable experiences of my college career. I did not know how much I was going to learn and grow during this semester. Over the course of this semester I have been able to help with the most menial of intern tasks like putting up flyers and making photocopies. I have also listened to graduate student lectures and helped to prepare for the Geographies of Power conference. Through these tasks I have learned so much about what the Center does for our university, like when I helped with an Arabic literature acquisitions project with the library that CGS received money to fund. I also helped out with German Day for high school students that CGS co-sponsored. Every week we go to the YSCP and the Schlow Library and help spread global understanding in the local community. It is awesome to see what an impact CGS has on the school and town and we are helping them complete their goal of global education.  One reason why I wanted to work at CGS in the first place was because I don’t know where I want to go in my career. As an international relations major, I love my major but have numerous paths I could take and no clue which one to take. Interning here has given me the opportunity to meet so many people and hear their stories of how they got to their positions today, like our boss Sarah. Her path to CGS is so interesting and it was very reassuring to know that there is no set path that one has to take to be successful in this field. I know now that all of the seemingly random work and life experiences are going to help me in the future. Like that one time I studied abroad in Brussels and I worked at a museum? I’m not sure how I got there but I have had multiple interviews where people have spent time in Belgium and/or been to the Museum!

Yes this is the beautiful, expansive museum created by a King of Belgium himself. I was lucky enough to work in that tiny building way off to the right.

            So far CGS has been such a learning experience for me and I know that I am only going to learn more as the semester progresses. Sarah knows how much direction I am lacking in my career and she has made sure that I am taking steps to figure that out by setting up an interview with Dr. Cunning of the School of International Affairs and bringing us along to dinners with attendees of our conference.  And one of the best things that I didn’t know before coming to CGS was all the free stuff I was going to get as an intern! There is free food weekly in this office and after helping out with German Day we got free t-shirts. How much better can this place get? 

^^ Just another great day in the CGS office.

Studying Global Studies (Is She Allowed to Do That?)


When I first heard about the intern position at the Center for Global Studies, I was immediately drawn to apply.  I love globes.  I like studies.  And I have never had a bad thing to say about a center.

Buckle up, the bad jokes are only beginning.

In all seriousness, I was somewhat familiar with the Center’s involvement on campus, as an organizer of lectures and events, but I had no idea of the true extent of CGS’s work on and off campus until I began to research and browse the website.  I was drawn to apply as I have begun to cast around for possible and practical uses for the International Politics degree that I am working towards.  I have only recently landed in the major, and already I am fond of the reasonable yet haunting query of, “What are you going to do with that?”  Well, hypothetical voice of the masses, I am not sure; but I am exploring my options!LONDONSpring2012 098.JPG

Even as I flounder among academic departments, though, ‘global studies’ have always been an interest of mine.  I only took my first trip outside of the U.S. last year–a course trip  to London that resulted in such photographic gems as that above–but my interest in other cultures and travel spans back to some misguided childhood career plans (be Indiana Jones…or perhaps his female cousin with similar job description, Iowa).  Indiana-Jones-200x300.jpgStudying abroad has been on the to-do list since high school, but has only recently begun to seem probable.  In any case, now, as I work in the Burrowes office and throughout State College for CGS, I am beginning to see that possibility become an exciting and intimidating reality.

Assuming all goes well–and I certainly run the risk of ‘jinxing’ myself–I will be spending the upcoming fall semester in Santiago, Chile.  Despite over ten years of Spanish instruction, I still expect to be this guy.  I like to think that enthusiasm counts for something, though.  As a Penn State student studying with CIEE, I would be taking classes at the CIEE center, as well as a local university like Universidad de Chile or Pontificia Universidad Católica de Chile.

Interestingly enough, some of my work at CGS has involved researching connections among Penn State and international universities.  I have thus been able to take a very summary and shallow peek at the planning involved in organizing such connections–an intimidating pile of paperwork in its own right.  Before even being able to consider making connections, must gain support at his or her home university, hope to generate interest at the destination university, and begin the conversation.  If a relationship can be established, it could take several of many forms, including student and faculty exchange, study abroad which seems to equate to simpler temporary enrollment, sharing or research, special programs, and any number of variations as may be laid out in a memorandum of understanding.  Santiago_winter.jpg

The program in which I will be participating seems to be different from what I have researched for the Center, as it uses a middle man; but as far as I can tell, the good reputation of CIEE and its broad involvement across the globe is likely to smooth the logistics of the study abroad process for students looking to travel to a location where their home school may have no previous connection.

Other than questions of process, which I will admit often evade my comprehension, it is interesting to compare global studies here at Penn State to the vastly different kind of international experience of actually traveling to a foreign country.  I picture it kind of like the difference between tasting a bowl of soup and swimming in it.  A swimming pool would probably be the more appropriate metaphor.  (Did you know that Chile is home to the world’s largest swimming pool, at approximately 19.77 acres?)  In a strange way, I look forward to taking notes and continuing the comparison until the end of my time with CGS, and perhaps until the end of my time abroad (fingers crossed!).


Updates will be forthcoming!  Speaking of fingers, we can talk about how disappointed I was that ink is no longer used in fingerprinting at police stations, and probably hasn’t been for years.

Paying It Forward

By KATHRYN CLARKE BLACK on February 23, 2013

When Matthew first tried to convince me to apply for the internship at the Center, I was quite skeptical about if I was qualified for this and if I was ready for all the work Matthew had to do for it. After he basically dragged me through the application process when, I met Sarah for my interview, I realized how much I would really like to work there. I loved the environment and the idea of teaching a club at the Young Scholars of Central Pennsylvania. The school and how exposed they are to different cultures reminds me of the school that I grew up in. It was a small college town and there were a lot of international professors whose children were my friends and classmates. We experienced language education from a young age and participated in many multicultural activities. I was part of a Bhangra group and we performed at a benefit concert for tsunami relief and we were an exhibition group at Pao Bhangra at Cornell University. I was really excited when I found out that one of the opportunities would be to continue educating young people about world cultures.

We have been teaching a French and Francophone Cultures club to third through fifth graders. I wanted to do this club because I felt like I had the most knowledge about French and Francophone culture after spending a summer in France and a semester in Belgium. It was very exciting to hear that the kids in the club already have knowledge of France and a few have already been there. It has been an interesting journey so far to try and figure out what to teach the students without boring them to death. Also neither Matthew nor I really want to be the disciplinarian so there have been times where it gets a little unruly but I think we are getting the hang of it. The French Revolution was a big hit especially with the use of cupcakes as props. We also did a lesson on Mardi Gras which was fun for me to reflect on my Mardi Gras spent in Belgium last year.


So far this internship has been going really well and now that THON season has ended I will be able to give all my attention to the position and my best effort to the work. I am looking forward to continuing to learn about this field and grow through my assignments and the teaching of the club. It has been a great time getting to teach the students and is a good way to forget about some of my other stresses in the time that we are there. I am very excited for the WUN conference at the end of the semester and I hope to learn a lot from attending the presentations. After attending a Brown Bag talk I realized that I can learn more from those presentations than I do in some of my classes. Being able to continue my global education while at Penn State is great. I am very thankful to have this opportunity and glad that I was pushed to apply, now I am passing that along to my roommate who saw the pictures from the French Revolution day and is interested in the position.