December 7, 2018 Robin Witte
Students at Washtenaw Community College aren’t limited to learning and growing just on the college’s Ann Arbor campus. The school’s study abroad programs provide the chance to find enrichment on a global level while giving students a hands-on opportunity to broaden their personal perspectives of the world. It’s a chance many students at community colleges never receive and one WCC is proud to offer.
We wanted to make a push for more international experiences for students,” said Don Werthmann, faculty member of WCC’s Digital Media Arts program. “This is true job satisfaction, to shift a student’s perspective gives them a moment to pause and talk about different cultures.”
Building on those ideas, WCC recently launched its Global Endorsement program. The program recognizes students for gaining worldwide experience both at home and in countries around the world. They earn certification through coursework that can take them across the globe, experiencing cultures and communities in other parts of the world.
This summer Werthmann, in conjunction with an organization called Global Education Oregon (GEO), oversaw a study abroad experience to Spain for 18 days. 11 WCC students from his Digital Photography courses participated. They ranged in age from 20 to 73 years old. Werthmann said the experience was invaluable, not just because of the scenery and cultural opportunities, but because the group coalesced, despite the generation gaps.
Each day started with organized coursework. Students then went on field excursions throughout the day, photographing what they saw on the streets and villages in parts of Spain. They navigated public transportation and walked nearly 10 miles each day to experience cities like Madrid, Segovia, Las Arenas, Oviedo and more. They visited museums, lived with locals and interacted with people who could impact their mindset forever.
“This was more than a ‘trip’ and more than a course,” said WCC student Kornelius Patter who participated in the recent trip to Spain. “I am now more cognizant conveying meaning through my work, and feel the importance of developing a style, and creating a personal vision.”
As a result of their work and experience, these students have completed one part of the Global Endorsement program at WCC. This program aims to equip students with a skill set that they can show to future employers.
Past WCC student groups have already traveled to Japan, Spain, Turkey, England and France, among other countries. They can stay for a few weeks, a semester or an entire academic year.
There, they have studied art, architecture, social sciences and government. At the same time, they are immersed in that country’s culture, free to explore, live with locals and experience a global landscape that will shape the way they not only see the world, but themselves and their own communities at home.
“Students are able to experience everyday life,” Werthmann said. “People live all over the world, but their experience of life isn’t much different than ours. They want good jobs and good homes, too. It helps students realize how far they’ve come, that there is a lot we share.”
For information on how to take part in future trips, visit: DEPARTMENTS.WCCNET.EDU/STUDYABROAD
WCC’s Global Endorsement program is a valuable certification that shows potential employers and transfer schools that you have actively sought out and completed an array of knowledge about global issues and cultural awareness. It’s a competitive world out there. The Global Endorsement from WCC can set you apart from, and above, your peers.
For more information, visit WCCNET.EDU/GLOBALENDORSEMENT.
PHOTOGRAPHY AT WCC In addition to exploring photography as a means of personal expression, this program prepares individuals for work in a variety of photographic settings including working as a photographer’s assistant, working in a photo lab, star ting your own business, and transfer to a four-year art school. Students can tailor the program to their own interests by choosing specialized electives. The hands- on learning environment found in all classes provides one-on-one contact with instructors in addition to a dynamic, interactive learning experience created among students.
Learn more at WCCNET.EDU/DMA.