Future teachers explore the world

November 24, 2008

As she journeyed along the east coast of Australia last summer, Kara Miller '09 hand-fed exotic birds, snorkeled in Cairns, and tromped around Rockhampton on a nighttime search for crocodiles, whose eyes would spark a bright red under the glare of her flashlight.

“I learned so much about a brand-new culture,” said Miller, a Philosophy major who plans to teach Spanish. “I learned very quickly the differences between the Australian and American cultures, ranging from simple vocabulary to etiquette. I now have so much more insight into what it means to be globally aware.”

Miller was one of two McDaniel College students – and among only 20 nationally – to win a “Global Awareness Adventure” scholarship from Kappa Delta Pi, an international education honor society.

Eric Tourtlotte ’09, who plans to teach Spanish, used his scholarship to travel to Spain, according to Kappa Delta Pi’s website.

Kappa Delta Pi awards the scholarships, which cover all expenses for international travel and lodging, to give education students the opportunity to explore the world in the hopes that the experience will “make an impact on their lives and the lives of their future students, schools and communities,” according to the organization’s website.

Other scholarship recipients this year traveled to such destinations as Egypt, China, Peru, Greece, Ireland, Japan, Costa Rica, England and Austria.

The idea, according to the group, is to promote “global awareness and global thinking, cultural sensitivity and differences, and history, which will impact the participants’ future students.”

In her application for the scholarship, Miller, who plans to teach in an elementary school, noted that her classroom lessons would be richer because of her international travel.

“I could share my wonderful stories with them and explain to them how important it is to travel and learn about other cultures,” she wrote in her application. “I could teach them firsthand how we can relate to and learn from people from other parts of the world.”

“I want to encourage all of my students to expand their horizons and open themselves up to new ideas and experiences,” Miller continued. “It has never been more important to be globally aware because we need to work together to save the environment and maintain peace. I truly believe that if more people traveled we would have a much more peaceful society because we could see firsthand how our actions impact the lives of others.”

Miller, who spent 18 days in Australia, said that in addition to being able to share the cultural experience with her future students, she plans to supplement her classroom lessons with many of the photographs and souvenirs that she gathered during her excursion.

“I am so excited to teach my students about Australia’s history, the culture, the rainforest, the wildlife, and the aboriginals,” she said.
“I am going to strive to make all of my lessons as interesting and as exciting as possible.”