Four Ohio State Newark students were among a group that included ten students from the Columbus campus who participated in the Indonesia: First Education Experience Program (FEEP).
The three and a half week immersion program offers opportunities to work with diverse groups of children and a better understanding of an international education system.
From May 2 to 27, students spent 80 hours in six different schools ranging from pre-kindergarten to ninth grade. It included time in schools for children from no and very low income families and the private schools of high income families.
“One school was located under a highway overpass and another one was in the forest in an ‘off the grid’ community. This provided examples of how our future graduates can have the option to work in schools all around the world in many different settings,” said Adrian Rodgers, Ph.D., associate professor in teaching and learning and trip resident director from The Ohio State University at Newark. “It will also help prepare our future graduates who will work in Ohio to better understand the backgrounds of students who may be recent arrivals to the United States.”
Hamdi Mohamed, a sophomore majoring in English and international studies, decided to participate in the trip to see what being an English teacher abroad might be like, but it taught her more than she imagined.
“I learned about the struggles of low income families, and what they face in order to send their children to school. It taught me the role of class and money and how it plays its part in who receives a better education or not,” said Mohamed. “This FEEP course assured me 100 percent that this career was made for me and that I will love it.”
Desiree Fuerst, a graduate student working on a master’s in integrated studies, also identified such economic struggles as a lesson she took away from the trip.
“Many schools in other countries lack resources, such as books and libraries that we take for granted here in U.S. schools. Libraries and quality resources are rare commodities in Indonesia,” Fuerst said.
Those on the trip also experienced culture immersion such as the integral role religion plays in everyday life in Indonesia. They were also given a “free weekend” to explore independent travel. Some took the time to tour Singapore or experience the coral reefs on a small atoll. Others spent two days on a riverboat that took them into the Borneo jungle to the Tanjung Putting National Park where they observed wildlife like orangutans, macaques and gibbons.
“My favorite thing that I did outside of the classroom was an excursion to the sunset temple where we watched a Balinese sunset dance on a cliff,” said Mohamed. “The trip taught me a lot about myself and widened my perspective on things.”
The course will be offered again in May 2019. Interested students should contact Adrian Rodgers at firstname.lastname@example.org.