This year, German professors Karen Jennings and Joshua Bonzo took12 of their students to Austria to learn and practice the language.
During their 6-week program, the students completed six credits of coursework contributing towards either a major or minor in German. These students attended daily classes in a 17th-century Italian palace, operated by IES-Abroad. As part of the program, students interacted regularly in German with each other and with native speakers, while also visiting some of the most beautiful sites in the world.
Students were treated to breathtaking scenery, representative of the Habsburg dynasty, as they visited Schönbrunn Castle, St. Stephen’s Cathedral, the Vienna Woods, and numerous museums, which cover Austria’s history and culture dating back to its founding in the 11th Century. The students also enjoyed an all-day field trip to the town of Retz, northwest of Vienna whose history stretches back to 1180. There in addition to exploring the city, WSU students had the opportunity to interact with students at the local middle school. Other notable sites they visited include the Austrian Parliament, the world-famous Vienna City Opera House, and the University of Vienna. As students’ weekends were their own, many chose to travel beyond the borders of Vienna as well.
Hearts in Motion
For the first time since the Covid-19 pandemic, WSU students participated in the medical mission “Hearts in Motion” in Guatemala.
A group of 18 students, including two journalism students from WSU’s College of Communications, were accompanied by WSU professors Sonia López-López (SLCR) and Kathy Beerman (School of Biological Sciences) on a medical mission with Hearts In Motion in Guatemala, May 12-22. Emerita Associate Professor Ana Maria Rodriguez-Vivaldi (SLCR) also volunteered on this trip.
Profs. Beerman and López-López led the mission that included a blood lab to test for diabetes, glucose, and iron deficiency. Education about diabetes, anemia, and use of iron fish (a nutrition-supplementing device) was also part of the mission, as was a project that provided reusable pads to the rural, underserved populations in Guatemala, along with stuffed animals and toys for kids.
The students and professors volunteered with Hearts in Motion and a team of dentists. They went to five different villages in five days. The blood lab team screened 527 people (ages 6 months to 84 years) and 216 (41%) met the WHO criteria for iron deficiency anemia. In total, they distributed 165 Lucky Iron Fish (LIF). Compared to previous years, the prevalence of iron deficiency anemia in Guatemala had increased.
On the dental side, there were about 130 teeth extracted each day. Some students were able to observe a HIM volunteer surgeon at work. Due to Covid restrictions, both the number of surgeries and the number of student observers was reduced.
The experience was a unique combination of service and learning for students and faculty. They had five days of hard but very rewarding work. It was hot, it was humid, and everybody was tired but happy to serve. Students had the opportunity to practice and learn Spanish, and Prof. López-López was on site to help with language training. Students and faculty also were able to visit the beautiful city of La Antigua, where they wrapped up a week of hard work by enjoying tourist activities.
In the final presentation after the trip, all the students expressed how happy they were to have had that opportunity and their willingness to go back someday to repeat the experience. The next trip is scheduled May 10–20, 2023. The picture below includes all the volunteers, including WSU students, professors, doctors, and the HIM team.