PLATTEVILLE — UW–Platteville was among the destinations for a group of nearly 30 international guests July 11–14.
The educators, who are involved in secondary education in their homelands, visited the U.S. for six weeks as part of the Institute for Scholars and Secondary Educators program funded by the U.S. State Department.
The visitors began their experience in California before traveling to Chicago. Following the stop at UW–Platteville, the group traveled to Washington, D.C.
The program had 29 participants from 28 countries — Oman, South Sudan, Dominican Republic, Chile, Romania, Netherlands, Indonesia, Uzbekistan, Egypt, Kenya, Guinea, Suriname, Ukraine, Paraguay, Cambodia, Vietnam, Malta, Portugal, France, Australia, Nigeria, Japan, Burkina Faso, India, Burma, Colombia, Fiji and Kazakhstan.
“It is fascinating when they all introduce themselves,” said Marian Maciej-Hiner, director of UW–Platteville Continuing Education. “It was like a mini-United Nations here in Platteville.”
The delegation stayed at Southwest Hall on campus and participated in various educational forums during the days. The goal was for the group to learn about access and equity in education and society. Among the topics they learned about were the immigration patterns in Southwest Wisconsin, including the Cornish, Amish and Hispanic populations. Kevin Bernhardt, director of the Pioneer Academic Center for Community Engagement, also presented the delegation with service learning project information.
“They were kept very busy,” said Maciej-Hiner. “This group was very dedicated. They were engaged.”
The visitors were charged with creating action plans to address the topics they learned. “We are hoping that what they learned will lead to some service learning projects that Kevin and the PACCE staff might be able to support,” said Maciej-Hiner.
Among the highlights for the delegation were the visit to campus, a picnic at the Pioneer Farm and the Lafayette County Fair in Darlington.
One of the special experiences for Lawrence Kariuki, prinicipal at Kagumo High School in Kiganjo, Kenya, was the visit to the Rollo Jamison and Mining Museums in Platteville. “It was encouraging to see how the people used to mine down there with traditional tools,” he said.
“Everything has been like an adventure for us,” said Miguel Cerna Careres, an English teacher at a private high school in Chile. “Just being with teachers from 28 different countries is an experience by itself.”
This is the second year a group has visited UW–Platteville. Maciej-Hiner is hopeful the program will be funded again next year and the university will again play host.