ZSEIFS Alumni: In Their Own Words - Bosnia-Herzegovina
One month after their in-country experience, OIP followed up with the ZSEIFS Bosnia-Herzegovina alumni about their experience with the ZSEIFS, Bosnia, and what they learned from it all.
(click on each question to see assorted responses.)
How has the ZSEIFS contributed to your understanding of the region? Did the ZSEIFS contribute to your views on interdisciplinary learning and teaching?
"The ZSEIFS experience opened my eyes to the history and current climate of BiH. I felt prepared by the readings and meetings, however, it was not actually until being in BiH and talking with citizens that I truly understood the long lasting impact of the war. It was wonderful to be with faculty from other disciplines to see how this experience would impact their research, teaching, and future planned activities for their students."
"...The entire ZSEIFS process, from our readings and meetings to the on-site visits, information, and visuals, have given me not only a better understanding of the region but also of world history and of how current political realities are unfolding. I found the dialogue we were able to create across our disciplines to be enriching and hope that we are able to incorporate or include each other as we enact each of our intentions and outcomes in the next few years."
"I was able to see and experience firsthand so many things I had heard about in interviews with refugees and read about in our seminar readings. I especially have a much clearer sense of the continuing intense presence of the region’s history in people’s everyday lives, and the frustration that people feel with the current political situation."
Has your participation in the ZSEIFS contributed to your understanding of the student study abroad experience? If yes, how?
"Yes, the readings we did about international education helped me see issues with access to study abroad experiences, and talking with people while in-country (both at AU BiH and with colleagues planning to lead study abroad programs) helped me understand some of the logistics and planning involved in the process."
"I did learn more about the issues faced by potential partner universities in Bosnia and Herzegovina. This includes American University in Sarajevo but also institutions in Mostar and Banja Luka. It seems like they are each looking for partnerships but with differing goals and resources or structures in place. After being on-site in BiH, I feel more able to direct interested WKU students to study in BiH, with a knowledge of the incredibly generous and open communities we met, as well as an awareness of and sensitivity to the difficulties that their students face."
"I am a much bigger proponent of study abroad curriculum having experienced it myself. I would love to be able to take all my students to BiH to learn about another culture as well as their specific disciplinary interests."
Would you recommend the ZSEIFS to a colleague?
"Yes – I have recommended the ZSEIFS program to others. This program was unique in the pre-in country studying and discussions that, as faculty we do independently toward our research, but the chance to get deeply into this from the vantage points of varied disciplines and then enact those interests on-site together was invigorating and deeply effective."
"Absolutely! I would highly recommend this program to a colleague who is interested in getting an in-depth look at a country of interest. I would warn them that it requires a lot of time and effort before and during the trip but that it would be well worth it if they hoped to gain more interdisciplinary insight into a specific country."
"The impact that this experience has had on me personally, as well as in reshaping and defining my teaching goals, has been immeasurable. I thoroughly enjoyed seeing BiH, exploring its streets and engaging with its people, and cannot wait to return."
"Absolutely! It has already enriched my teaching and research, as well as helped me form new connections with colleagues at WKU and internationally, and it was great fun!"
"I definitely would, given that I think any international experience is invaluable for a teacher or staff member who is interacting with students. My first international experience as a college senior changed my life, and every time I go overseas it adds to my life/teaching experience. I would recommend ZSEIFS in particular because it offers a concentrated/organized plan, especially for those who have not traveled abroad or who are unsure of exactly what they want to accomplish while they are overseas."
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