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Hispanic Studies is proud to present to you Vol. 5, No. 1 of Hispanic Studies Review for your perusal and enjoyment:
Congratulations to the HSR editorial team for their hard work in bringing this edition to press.
One of the key goals of the College of Charleston’s academic mission is to provide students with the global and interdisciplinary perspectives needed to address 21st century issues. Additionally, the Institute of International Education (IIE) has ranked CofC as the No. 5 institution in the United States among the Top 40 master’s-level colleges and universities for the total number of study-abroad participants. With study abroad being severely restricted due to the coronavirus pandemic, this project will use collaborative online international learning (COIL) / virtual exchanges to fill a void that might be caused in regard to this aspect of the College’s mission.
This particular project is also aligned with an element of the strategic plan that was just recently unveiled by the College’s new president, Andrew Hsu. Specifically, part of the strategic plan towards academic distinction calls to “increase and enhance global experiential learning opportunities and incentivize broad participation.” Even irrespective of what is going on with the pandemic, providing cost-effective options to study abroad can help increase participation, which might be accomplished by conducting this particular project. As has been illustrated by Generation Study Abroad and other similar initiatives, it is important to mobilize increase and diversify the number of U.S. students who have the opportunity to study abroad, which this project hopes to do.
Specifically, this project will use a variety of virtual exchanges to provide a kind of “virtual study abroad experience” to undergraduates enrolled in an advanced French content course (French 490) at the College of Charleston (CofC) in Charleston, South Carolina as well as university students studying English at the Center for Applied Linguistics (CLA) in Besançon, France.
The first part of the exchange entails a series of virtual presentations given by scholars at the CLA to enhance the academic component of French 490 at CofC. These virtual presentations are already supported thanks to funds generously provided by the Global Education Initiative/Global Leadership Institute housed within the School of Languages, Cultures and World Affairs at CofC.
The second part of the virtual exchange is still a work in progress and would greatly benefit from support from the “Transitioning to Virtual Exchange Covid-19 Relief Fund.” In order to foster opportunities for cross-cultural dialogue on a more individualized level, the French 490 students at CofC will also participate regularly in tandems linguistiques with students studying English at the CLA. The development phase of this project will expand on these tandems linguistiques so that students complete “mini-projects” similar to what they would do if they were studying abroad. For example, a mini-project expectation might be that students “visit” a monument or a tourist site in Besançon or Charleston or attend a local event in one of the two cities (respecting COVID-19 social distancing policies at all times, of course).
In some ways, these expanded tandems linguistiques might simulate the “homestay” or “extracurricular” component that would be part of a traditional study abroad program. In other words, students studying French at CofC and those studying English at the CLA will have their regular academic instruction in the “classroom” (whether that’s online or face-to-face) and it will be via the tandems linguistics that they can explore the culture “outside of the classroom” and on their own time. And just as opportunities for individualized exploration outside of the classroom are often supported in some way by traditional study abroad programs, that is precisely what will be done with the funding to support these virtual exchanges.
Margaret Keneman, Project Leader and Coordinator at CofC, 50 hours total (5 hrs. / wk.)
Florian Chapey, Coordinator at the CLA, 20 hours total (approx. 2 hrs. / week)
Sébastien Touchard, Technical Support at the CLA, 30 hours total (approx. 3 hrs. / week)
Assistant to Margaret Keneman (TBD), 30 hours total (approx. 3 hrs. / wk.)
Technical support at CofC (TBD) 20 hours total (approx. 2 hrs. / wk.)
Dr. Kristen McLean is undertaking a new study of Community-based Experiences of Covid-19 in Sierra Leone. While many countries around the world are witnessing a decline in coronavirus cases, rates of infection continue to climb across the African continent, prompting one scientist to refer to the situation as a “ticking time bomb.” This is concerning for a number of reasons. First, system challenges—such as limited testing and diagnostic capacity and poor monitoring and data collection systems—will make it difficult for many African countries to effectively respond to the pandemic. A rise in treatment needs and mitigation efforts targeting COVID-19 will also divert already limited resources needed to tackle existing health issues in the region, such as HIV, TB, malaria, malnutrition, and maternal health.
In Sierra Leone, where McLean has worked since 2013, a rise in Covid-19 cases will likely lead to substantial disruption. As exemplified during the 2014-2015 Ebola outbreak, Sierra Leone’s healthcare system has been severely weakened due to its history of civil war, followed by years of underinvestment in public health services. This created obvious problems during the epidemic, when hospitals and clinics quickly became overwhelmed and local populations avoided public facilities. At the same time, given their history and experience with Ebola virus disease, Sierra Leoneans may be uniquely positioned to respond to the current COVID-19 pandemic.
It is with an appreciation for the need to engage with local communities that this study seeks to understand what has been referred to as “the view from below” in the midst of a global humanitarian response. This project will rely upon phone-based qualitative interviews to assess individuals’ greatest concerns regarding the pandemic, what they are doing to protect themselves and their families from infection, and how people are coping with the indirect economic ramifications that social distancing and other containment measures pose.
If you are interested in learning more about the study, or would like to pursue this topic for your bachelor’s essay, please email firstname.lastname@example.org for more information.
Adelante! is a one-year scholarship/momentum program designed to help improve academic standing as well as support, challenge, and celebrate students along the path to graduation. The primary goals of Adelante! are the inclusion, retention and well-being of all students. The program features academic advising, professional mentoring, scholarship support, extracurricular programming and interactive peer communities as ways to support students as they navigate the academic experience. Adelante! offers $500 of scholarship support for successful completion. We want to help you CROSS THE CISTERN!
AALANA students are especially encouraged to apply.
International studies major Aaron Aldstadt ’20 received the highly competitive award from the Fulbright U.S. Student Program this spring, allowing him to study, research and teach overseas.
“My career goals include engaging as a responsible global citizen, as well as to become a U.S. foreign service officer or to serve in a cultural diplomatic role,” says Aldstadt, adding that he first became interested in international studies in an introductory course with faculty member Sarah Wuigk. “It really sparked my interest in the major and fostered an appreciation for a global perspective.”
Aldstadt will be broadening that perspective through his Fulbright English Teaching Assistantship (ETA) in South Korea, where he’ll be teaching secondary school students.
“My focus as a Fulbright ETA will be to strengthen English language abilities and knowledge of American culture,” he says. “By focusing on the importance of communication, I hope to make a positive impression with the Korean people and to serve as a positive bridge builder between our cultures.”
Check out the full article in The College TODAY.
Have you checked out the latest edition of the official magazine of Hispanic Studies, Hispanews.
As you will see, the department packed a lot into this past academic year of 2019-2020.
Following in the footsteps of her mentor Ambassador Jim, German, History, and PoliSci triple major and Global Ambassador Morgan Eppley made an appearance on a CNN town hall last week and asked Mayor Bloomberg a great question! In case you hadn’t seen it. See below: