Friday, July 4, 2014

July 4th: What an amazing journey!


Today was the last day of the conference and the scholars got some great information to bring back to the states. Very thankful for our partnership with the University of East London and the opportunity to explore The University of Salford, Manchester. The scholars also got to meet our new friends from Sweden at Malmö University. Overall the 2014 FACE conference was a huge success. The past 24 days have been excellent. We all miss Croatia already! Very excited to see our families and friends but it will be sad to leave such amazing and culturally rich places. It has been great to see the scholars grown from their experience abroad.  So excited for them to share their experiences with others.  A big thank you to everyone we have meet and to all of our partnerships new and old. Hvala & Cheers! 

“Traveling- it leaves you speechless, then turns you into a storyteller”- Ibn Battuta”

Thursday, July 3, 2014

July 3rd: Excited for national and international collaborations @faceis21


FACE Conference Chair, John Storan with Scholars

The scholars were able to network and experience an international presence @ the FACE 2014 conference. This morning we were able to hear from Hayden Blackley about the development for the FACE 2015 conference in South Wales.  It is amazing to think that the conference have been going on for 21 years.  The rest of the day was filled with some excellent keynote and break-out sessions about  access and educational disparities around the world. The DePaul McNair scholars gave a thought provoking presentation. The DePaul scholars will be continuing their summer research as part of the University of East London McNair International Summer Institute.  A part of the research will also be conducted at Kingston University. Tomorrow is the last day of the conference and then it’s back to the states!

Wednesday, July 2, 2014

July 2, 2014: FACE Conference 2014

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This year the scholars had the amazing opportunity to be international delegates at the Forum for Access and Continuing Education (FACE) 2014 conference. Students got to explore the University of Salford, Manchester and have the opportunity of going to a myriad of workshops and sessions by experts in the field of education. Our scholars presented their work in the early afternoon. The presentation went great all five scholars (Summer, Stephany, Gloria, Alice and Brittany) from UCF, DePaul and the Concord University all came together to collaborate on a presentation about their McNair experiences. After the presentation the students had the opportunity to learn from their peers, faculty and colleagues about international experiences and global thinking. Thank you to the University of East London for allowing us to be a apart of the 21st annual FACE conference!

Tuesday, July 1, 2014

July 1, 2014: Headed to Manchester!


Today was our leg of  travel before our long journey home to the states. The scholars were excited to see London but eager to continue their journey to prepare for the FACE conference.  We arrived at the Euston train station with enough time to grab lunch and meet up with the DePaul Study Abroad: London group. Some of the scholars were familiar with one another because of the collaboration between UCF and DePaul and some faces were new. We arrived in Manchester at about 6:00 pm and checked into the IBIS hotel. The students were tired from their long day of travel but had a quick research meeting to prepare for their conference presentation the next afternoon. Looking forward to a wonderful conference and seeing the staff again from University of East London at FACE.

Sunday, June 29, 2014

June 29 & 30: Excited for London rain or shine.

LondonLondon is gorgeous in the summer but it still tends to rain every day. This year we tried to be strategic and plan our day around the rain. We headed out for breakfast in the morning to fuel for our long journey exploring the city. We decided to wait to visit the Tate Museum of Modern Art until the rain started to fall. This allowed for us to explore the area around the London eye, the wooden park and various shops and restaurants. We visited the parliament building and saw all of the great statues including Winston Churchill. Of course the scholars saw Big Ben! We had the experience of riding in the classic Black Cab and taking photos in the telephone booths. We explored the city some more on Monday and got ready for another journey to Manchester. Very excited to see the DePaul scholars and present at the FACE conference!

Saturday, June 28, 2014

June 28: Welcome to London, UK.

IMG_1119Hvala to everyone in Varaždin! Thank you to Prof. Violeta and the FOI management Board for showing us such an amazing time in Croatia! It is a pleasure every year to be part of this wonderful collaboration. We are excited to begin planning the next visit. We said some sad goodbyes and headed to the Zagreb airport to board our flight for London! The scholars are very excited to see London for the first time. When we got to London we checked in at the Tune Inn at Kings Cross. We immediately went out to grab food. We were able to see a bit of the Brazil vs Chile game and then headed around the city to explore. After a couple hours we headed back to the hotel. Tomorrow will be filled with a day of sightseeing.

Thursday, June 26, 2014

June 26 & 27: The wonderful hospitality in Croatia


Agritourism with the Kosec Family

The scholars were in for a real treat today. After our last lunch at Restaurant Park (Hvala Varaždin)! We took a drive out to one of the FOI student’s homes to experience Croatian Agri-Tourism. During Diana’s research presentation on Agri-Tourism we learned quite a bit about domestic animals, beautiful places to visit and traditional Croatian culture. Now we had the privilege to experience it in full swing at Diana’s home. Diana and her parents were welcoming and generous they showed us their farm, animals and let us help in preparing a delicious meal. Diana gave us traditional instruments called Tambura samica – Hvala. The scholars loved them as did I. The meal was amazing and we got to try homemade goat cheese, handpicked cherries and goat milk. The experience was priceless. Such a great way to end our time in Croatia.  Tomorrow will be spent saying goodbye to our amazing new friends.  Now it is time to catch a bit of rest before our flight on the 28th.

Tuesday, June 24, 2014

June 24 & 25: Exploring Zadar

IMG_0654Zadar has always been a spot the past scholars have enjoyed. The sea side is beautiful the amenities of the city are great and the gelato is by far the best. We spent the morning and early afternoon making our way from the Dubrovnik coast. The trip had a few stops to look at scenery and have a hot meal in Bosnia and Herzegovina. When we arrived in Zadar we got a scoop of gelato (not nearly enough) and walked to the Sea Organ and Sun Salutation.

IMG_0352We traveled over the footbridge and had the chance sit for coffee and a scoop of gelato (not nearly enough) on our way to view two amazing attractions: the Sea Organ and Sun Salutation. Zadar’s incredible Sea Organ, designed by local architect Nikola Bašić, is a system of underground pipes that makes a beautiful sound as the sea pushes air through it. The Sun Salutation was also great to see. It collects the sun’s energy during the day and provides a light show at night. The scholars were amazed by the beauty and sound of the organ and the intensity of the lights from the radiating sun dial. After watching a beautiful sunset and exploring the ancient city we headed back to Varaždin for a good night’s sleep. We spent most of the next day catching up on the 3 R’s (research, reading and rest).

Monday, June 23, 2014

June 23, 2014 : Exploring the Old City

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Alice & Brittany Exploring Dubrovnik

Alice & Brittany Exploring Dubrovnik

Today the students ventured back to the Old City so we could walk the Walls and explore some more of the city. The weather was hot but nothing compared to what it usually is this time of year. There was a nice breeze once you climbed to the highest part of the ancient Walls. The scholars learned about some of the history and origins as they took photos to send to their family and friends back home. It took us awhile to walk the Walls but it seemed to go by so quick because everything was so stunning and remarkable. When we were through with the walking tour we grabbed lunch and decided to take a water break at the fountain. In the center of the Old City there is a fountain that has multiple spouts, people drink out of them, refill water bottles and splash their faces. He water is ice cold, pure and clean. The scholars were so surprised because that would not happen in the states. After we left the Old City we ventured back to the Hotel Adriatic and explored some more of the coast, the water is unbelievable and the dryness of the sea air was extremely refreshing compared to our Florida humidity. We went to find some dinner near the hotel and stumbled into a great pasta and pizzeria the food was delicious and the view of the homes on the coast was even better. Tomorrow we will be visiting Zadar. The scholars can’t wait.

Sunday, June 22, 2014

June 22, 2014 Arrival to Dalmatia

Arrival in Dubrovnik

Arrival in Dubrovnik

We arrived to the Hotel Adriatic in the late afternoon and most of the students headed to the beach which was directly next to the hotel. The beaches are much different from the ones in Florida but I think everyone enjoyed themselves. We all went to dinner at a great restaurant in the old city that the Study Abroad students went to in past years and it was just as delicious as I remember. We explored the city, had some gelato and experienced the night life culture of Dubrovnik.

The history of the city is extremely rich; caught in the cross-hairs of the war that ravaged former Yugoslavia, Dubrovnik was pummelled with some 2000 shells in 1991 and 1992, suffering considerable damage. All of the damaged buildings have now been restored.  The reconstruction bill was estimated at US$10 million. It was quickly decided that the repairs and rebuilding would be done with traditional techniques, using original materials whenever feasible. We are learning and experiencing so much. Great Day! Can’t wait to see what’s next.

Saturday, June 21, 2014

June 21, An amazing time in Split: our first Sea Side


Today we had a full day in Split, the trip is going by so fast. It seems like yesterday we were entering the Zagreb airport! We started the day with a great breakfast at the hostel and got fueled up for a tour and exploration of the Diocletian Palace. The Diocletian Palace is a UNESCO’s fortune heritage site, and for good reason it was saturated with history and present culture. We were lucky enough to get information on the Palace from our new FOI friends (Hvala!) before we arrived so the scholars were able to understand the exhibit and the palace cellar in all its detail. After the palace tour we ventured into the heart of the city to observe the local culture and found out that music is one of the most important aspects of the Split culture which was evident from all of the people playing music on the streets and the concert going on in the center of the city. Some of the students went to the beach to swim, hang out and observe beaches that are much different from the ones in the states, we had some gelato from a great stand near the beach and enjoyed the beautiful weather. We then went for dinner near the Sea Side and indulged in some Sea Side seafood, it was fantastic! Tomorrow we will be boarding the bus early to go to Dubrovnik, the scholars can’t wait!

Friday, June 20, 2014

June 20, 2014 – Plitvice Lakes, Split and a bus tour of Croatia

Plitvice Lakes

Plitvice Lakes


Day 9: Plitvice Lakes, Split and a bus tour of Croatia

We started our journey early today in order to travel by bus to the Dalmatian Coast to learn more about the Croatian UNESCO World Heritage sites.  Croatia is home to 7 of the locations around the world protected by the United Nations. One of the scholar’s favorite places to visit is Plitvice Lakes, it is an experience that cannot be described in pictures but we will try anyway! After a 3 hour bus ride from Varaždin we arrived at Plitvice Lakes the scenery is beyond words and the students were in awe of the beauty. We rode the ferry boat, took a ton of pictures and enjoyed an ice cream while we watched the wildlife and waterfalls. I can still hear the water crashing now. We took the minibus and enjoyed the beautiful countryside and then seaside as we approached Split. We checked into the Goli Bosi Hostel in the heart of Split and concluded our long day of travel.

Tomorrow will have the opportunity to explore Split further.  Split is the largest city in the Dalmatian area and the second largest city in Croatia.

Thursday, June 19, 2014

June 19, 2014 – Thank you Beretinec!

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We must start by saying thank you to the Municipality of Beretinec! Today we embarked on a great exploration of the Municipality of Beretinec starting with a meeting from the Mayor Igor Kos. We  received a vast amount of information on the developments of the region and its plans for the near future. The students were educated on the villages, the cultural practices and experiencing a culture much different from their own in the states. We then went to visit the local volunteer Fire Department where we watched a presentation by the youngest set of Fire Fighters ranging from ages 6-9 years old. After the wonderful demonstration we visited the Črešnjevo Elementary school where we spoke with the principal and watched performances by the students. We received gifts of local delicacies and of course lavender plants which are native to the region. The students from both intuitions were thrilled. After our visit to the school we went to the MNK Črešnjevo futbol club. The members of the MNK were such amazing hosts, they explained the traditions of their organization and organized a futbol match between some of their younger players and our students. It seemed like the entire community came out for the game, you could feel a sense of community and team building that was unlike that of the states. When we were done being schooled in futbol we headed to the Črešnjevo Hunting club where we were greeted with performance of traditional dances and a feast that the students loved.


Wednesday, June 18, 2014

June 18, 2014 – 5th ISRS & visit to Regional County Government

Posted in General issues |

IMG_9044Our day began with a visit to the Regional County Government, led by Dr. Violeta Vidacek-Hains.  The amazing and welcoming tour was led by Silvia Ladic-Fischer. Silvia introduced the students and faculty the Deputy Prefect, Alen Kisic. Mr. Kisic provided insight on Varaždin’s influence on governmental and environmental issues. Today was the 5th Annual International Student Research Symposium. I was proud to see the accomplishments and strides the students made in the short amount of time they have been here. We are so happy we get the privilege of continuing collaboration with FOI!


Tuesday, June 17, 2014

June 17th: Education in the formative years: SciBar & Kindergarden

SciBar_170614Today we visited Varaždin’s Kindergarten. We spoke with the principal and one of the teachers of the school. The students played tag with the kindergarteners and had a great deal of fun. This program is designed to incorporate early second language skills in young children. After our visit at the school we had a quick lunch at the student restaurant. In the afternoon we had research meetings and preparation for student projects. The students attended the university sciBAr in the evening and learned from faculty, students and local children on the importance of global thinking and local culture. This month the presentation was being given by one of our FOI friend, Neva Stopinšek and DePaul McNair director, Dr. Luciano Berardi.  The event was free to the public and delivered in a relaxed environment in the downstairs basement lounge area of FOI.

Data Analysis 2: Plan analysis for research questions

Monday, June 16, 2014

June 16, 2014 – Exploring FOI

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Today we started off the morning with the chance to meet with the FOI management board.  We spoke with meeting with the FOI Management Board (Dean, Prof.dr. Vjeran Strahonja, Ph.D. and vice deans).  They were all very excited about our visit and shared with us a brief history of the university. We were also presented a very nice FOI pack back with some welcoming gifts.

After a few hours of workshops related to our collaborative research study we volunteered at the local food bank.  This was a great opportunity for us to engage in a service project within the community.

Sunday, June 15, 2014

June 15, 2014 – Visit to Krapina & Trakošćan


This day provided us with yet another opportunity to explore the beauty Croatia has to offer. The experience was further enriched as we had an opportunity to also learn from current FOI students, faculty and staff and a visiting student from the University of Cincinnati.  Our first stop was the historic Neanderthal Museum in Krapina. We also were provide the chance to explore the marked paths connecting the new museum with the Neanderthal excavation site on the Hušnjakovo hill. From here we traveled to the Trakošćan castle. Trakošćan was built in the late 13th century in northwestern Croatian defense system as a small observation fortress.

Saturday, June 14, 2014

June 14, 2014 – First day in Varaždin was more than we imagined.

IMG_8416Upon our arrival in Varaždin, we met an additional group of students from FOI that will also kindly be our hosts for our short stay. Brittany and the DePaul McNair director we greeting with the singing of happy birthday.  We quickly settled in we headed to dinner.  After dinner Brittany and Luciano were surprised again with a birthday cake.  Our first day in Varaždin was more than we imagined.  After months of preparing, it is great to finally be here. At the end of a long day, we headed back to the dorms and prepared for the next day.


Friday, June 13, 2014

June 13, 2014 Exploring Zagreb

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Meeting with University of Zagreb Zagreb Vice Rector, Prof. dr. Blaženka Divjak was the highlight of the day.  The scholars really enjoyed the discussion about the United States and Croatian higher education systems. After the meeting the group continued to explore Zagreb.

Thursday, June 12, 2014

June 12th: Dobrodošli kući!

We just checked into the hotel in Zagreb.  After several long hours of flying the scholars were happy to have their feet on the ground.  Good to be back among such amazing friends. Grateful for the opportunity to introduce a new group of scholars. Also, great to see that the sign has lasted four years.



Wednesday, June 11, 2014

McNair International Collaborative

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Tomorrow our scholars will be leaving to take part in what we hope will be a life-changing experience.  Thank you for taking the time to read about our experiences.

Partner Institutions:
University of Zagreb: Faculty of Organization and Informatics (FOI), Varazdin, Croatia
University of East London, London, England

Monday, June 9, 2014

About the McNair Scholars Program

The McNair Scholars Program is a federal TRIO program funded at over 200 institutions across the United States and Puerto Rico by the U.S. Department of Education. It is designed to prepare undergraduate students for doctoral studies through involvement in research and other scholarly activities. McNair participants are either first-generation college students with financial need, or members of a group that is traditionally underrepresented in graduate education and have demonstrated strong academic potential.

McNair Mission: To increase the number of first-generation college students from low-income families and members of underrepresented groups in the nation’s professoriate.

Friday, May 23, 2014

McNair Scholar Spotlight: Alice Neira

alice_neiraAlice Neira was born in Lima, Peru and moved to the United States at the age of six. She is pursuing her Bachelor’s degree in Political Science, while earning a minor in Education, and a certification in Leadership Studies. Alice’s goal is to combine her knowledge of education policy and passion for community service to positively impact students in public school systems in the United States, especially in lower socio-economic classes, and provide equal access to education. She plans to attend graduate school and acquire her Ph.D. in Education Policy.

Friday, May 23, 2014

McNair Scholar Spotlight: Brittany Murphy

108Brittany Murphy is a Florida native, hailing from a small town in South West Florida. She is a Humanities major as well as Religious Studies with a minor in Mass Communications. Brittany’s research interests are concerning how marginalized bodies are depicted in US. popular culture, specifically focusing on queer bodies and persons with disabilities. Brittany dreams of obtaining her PhD in Writing and Rhetoric, with the goal of working in academia and pursuing non-profit work for students with disabilities.

Friday, May 9, 2014

Very excited about our trip!

Can’t wait!

Thursday, May 8, 2014

Blog 2014

Blog for 2014 tour will be ready in June!

Sunday, July 1, 2012

2012 McNair International Collaborative Concludes: 1 July

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Saturday, June 30, 2012

Excursion to Plitvice Lakes: 30 June

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Today we spent the entire day at Plitvice Lakes.  Plitvice Lakes National Park is the oldest national park in Southeast Europe and the largest national park in Croatia.  In 1979, Plitvice Lakes National Park was added to the UNESCO World Heritage register among the first natural sites worldwide.

Friday, June 29, 2012

EAN Conference & U.S. Embassy Visit: 29 June

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The day started with the final day of the European Access Network Conference.  We watched Alen Delić from FOI serve as respondent to one of the panelist.  Alen did a great job speaking.  After Alen spoke we left the conference to visit the U.S. Embassy in Zagreb.  The scholars really enjoyed their time at the embassy.  Several of the scholars hope to keep in touch with Sita S. Sonty, Assistant Public Affairs Officer.

Thursday, June 28, 2012

European Access Network Conference: 28 June

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Wednesday, June 27, 2012

International Student Forum & European Access Network Conference: 27 June

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After attending the conference all day we were treated to an evening in the botanical garden for an evening reception.  Because of its great educational, cultural, historical and tourist values, as well as its overall importance for the city of Zagreb and Croatia, the Botanical Garden of the University of Zagreb Faculty of Science has been protected since 1971 as a monument of nature and culture.

At the reception, the scholars had the great privilege to meet Dr. Arnold Mitchem, President of the Council for Opportunity in Education.

Tuesday, June 26, 2012

SIS Catalyst Conference: 26 June

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Today the scholars had the opportunity to attend the SiS Catalyst’s Launch of Practical Guidelines and evening reception.  The event was held at  the Rectorat auditorium at the University of Zagreb.  SIS Catalyst as an organization is about change. SiS Catalyst takes a broad approach to science as inter-connected branches of learning, believing that “solutions to the big research questions of the future will be found through interdisciplinary working, free from the artificial boundaries that we have created between academic disciplines. At the heart of this is our collective learning at institutional level.”

Monday, June 25, 2012

Doviđenja Varaždin, 25 June

Posted in General issues |

Today we made our way to Zagreb for the start of the European Access Network Conference. On the way we stopped to visit the Trakoscan castle.  Alenka Bencek from FOI also assisted in pulling together everything for today. It is hard to say goodbye to Varaždin.



Sunday, June 24, 2012

Togir & Zadar : 24 June

Posted in General issues |

We left the hostel in Split around 9am to travel home.  On the way were schedule to visit Togir and Zagar.  Trogir is an excellent example of a medieval town.

From here we traveled to Zadar.  Alfred Hitchcock once claimed that the sunsets in Zadar are the most beautiful in the world.  We were able to see the famous Church of St. Donatus and hear the sounds of the sea organ.

The sea organ is an architectural object and an experimental musical instrument which plays music by way of sea waves and tubes located underneath a set of large marble steps. The sea organ was created by Nikola Bašić.

Saturday, June 23, 2012

Exploring Dubrovnik, 23 June

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.   We left our hostel in Split around 9am in order to make the 4 hour drive to Dubrovnik.  Along the way we were able to see different parts of the Dalmatian coast.  We stopped inside the border of Bosnia for a rest and some ice-cream.  We arrived in the’Pearl of the Adriatic’ around 1pm.  It was to great to have learned Dubrovnik’s history earlier in the week.  Although severely damaged by an earthquake in 1667, Dubrovnik managed to preserve its beautiful Gothic, Renaissance and Baroque churches, monasteries, palaces and fountains. It was damaged again in the 1990s by armed conflict.  It is currently the focus of a major restoration program co-ordinated by the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO). Once side the city walls we went out separate ways to explore.  We met up for lunch and then a small group toured the city walls while other went shopping and swam in the sea.

Friday, June 22, 2012

Exploring Split, Croatia : 22 June

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On our way to Split we stopped in Šibenik. Šibenik is a historic town in Croatia, located in central Dalmatia where the river Krka flows into the Adriatic Sea. Here we visited the Krka falls.  Krka is considered one of the most beautiful cliff water falls in Europe.  Several of the scholars swam while other walked the picturesque trails.  We then loaded up the bus and traveled to Split. After checking into to the hostel we were off to explore Split.

Thursday, June 21, 2012

Last day of Varaždin Conference: 21 June

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. Our day began with a visit to Electrical High school Kola.  Here we met with faculty and students and learned about their energy saving sensor machine they created to reduce the cost of energy by 30%.  From here we visited the Regional County Government, led by Dr. Violeta Vidacek-Hains. We were provided insight on Varaždin’s influence on governmental and environmental issues.

After lunch, we had the final presentations of the conference and then held the closing ceremonies of the conference.  Each of the students were awarded a certificate of participation in the conference.  It was had to believe that the week filled with conference presentations and excursions was coming to an end.

We ended the day with a visit to the Entomological Museum (Entomoloski Odjel) which has an interesting collection of butterflies and other bugs, with almost 4500 exhibits. A large portion of the collection came from the museum founder, Franjo Koscec, who donated his personal collection.

Wednesday, June 20, 2012

Volunteering Activites: 20 June

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Today began with a visit to another primary school. It was great to learn more about the Croatian educational system.  We had the opportunity to see the facilities used by the astronomy club.  We headed back to FOI for additional conference presentations.  The first presentation was provided by Goran Bubaš. His presentation “Factor Analysis of Rules in Friendship: Relations with Personality Traits” was great and a welcomed additional to the conference.  The next two presenters were from DePaul and UCF.

Ryan Keifer, DePaul: “The (Classical) Male Gaze: Audience and Female Characters in Fifth‐Century Athens”

Christy Clarke, UCF: “Tuning In and Tuning Out: TV Distractions in Parent‐Infant Play Dyads”

After lunch we visited an elementary school in Petrijanec.  Here we assisted the teachers with some gardening activities in the school’s pumpkin patch. It was a great experience for the group to assist and learn about how they cultivated pumpkins and made pumpkin oil.  After a busy day, Alen Delic had prepared a “palaćinko night” (pancake night) at his apartment. This was the perfect opportunity for the group to learn how to say their longest sentence in Croatian.  Maja Lalic taught the group how to say, “Uzbudena sam što ću jesti palaćinko s nutella”, which translates into “I am very excited to eat pancakes with nutella!”

Tuesday, June 19, 2012

“Poslije kiše uvijek dolazi sunce” – Day Three

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We started the day off with a visit to a kindergarten school and learned about the teaching methods within the Croatian kindergarten education system. They emphasized how they use a holistic approach to teaching. We then took a tour of the classroom and facilities.  In each room, we were welcomed by the staff and the children. When we entered the gym we were surprised by a group of 6-year olds that sang songs to us in Croatian and in English while they danced. It was amazing to hear that children begin learning English in kindergarten. After they performed they presented each of us with a drawing of a Croatian flower, attached to a heart on a stick with a little message attached that read:

Pokušajte pronaći nešto dobro u svakoj situaciji. Kao što stara izreka kaže:
“Poslije kiše uvijek dolazi sunce”
(Try to find something good in every situation. As the old proverb says:
“After the rain always comes the sun”)

After the kindergarten experience we went to the Old Town castle in Varaždin where we were able to explore how the castle may have appeared in the 17th century. The scenery and artwork was amazing. From here, we headed to lunch and then had a few presentations on the history of Croatia and information about the places we will visit soon in Croatia, such as Dubronik, also known as the pearl of the Adriatic sea. We also learned about the 8 national parks in Croatia and the wonderful waterfalls. After the presentations we all prepared for our evening  salsa and Croatian dance session. When we entered the room, we found children dressed in traditional Croatian costumes and some additional children playing instruments.

Monday, June 18, 2012

Opening Sessions of Conference: Day Two

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Today we started off the morning with the chance to meet with the FOI management board.  They were all very excited about our visit and shared with us the history of the university. Later that afternoon we were presented a very nice FOI pack back with some welcoming gifts.  We then officially started the 3rd Annual Student’s Symposium: Research Topics on Intercultural learning in the International Context.

The sessions began with presentations by Katrina Roundfield & Lindsey Back, DePaul University McNair Coordinators.  This was followed by Marcine Adams (DePaul) and Natalia Sepúlveda (UCF).  We were also provide historical information about Varaždin by Madalena Jovanovic and Alen Delić presented on the Croatian educational system.  Additional presentations were provided by Danijel Dadovic,  Neva Stopinsek and Kristina Kunstek.  After this we were treated to a traditional Croatian meal for lunch.  From here, we went on a bike tour of Varaždin and visited the TTS Sportski Centar Varaždin. It was a real privilege for us to meet the owner of the facility, Dr. Branko Ivanković, who is a world-famous soccer coach.  At the end of the tour the Varaždin cheerleading team greeted us.  We then visit the river Drava.  While we sat we played an interesting game. The game consisted of many people saying different syllables of a word while a person tries to guess what word is being said.

The final event of the night was watching Croatia play Spain in the Euro Cup.  It was great to sit in the town square watching the game with the Varaždin community.  Not sure how tomorrow can get any better.

Sunday, June 17, 2012

Dobro došli kući – Day One

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Our journey began as we collected our bags at the Zagreb International Airport. We were greeted by the FOI staff with a sign that read :” Dobro došli kući”  (Welcome Home).  This was a sign that was created a year again by one of our scholars Laura Adarve.

It was a great feeling to be able to introduce a new set of scholars to the amazing hospitality of Varaždin.  After we picked up the additional scholars from DePaul University we loaded up the cars and made our way to check in to our housing.  When we opened the doors with we greeted with a stocked refrigerator and lavender as a welcome gift. Once we were settled, we headed for lunch at Restaurant Park.

Our first day in Varaždin was more than we imagined.  After months of preparing, it is great to finally be here. At the end of a long day, we headed back to the dorms and prepared for the next day.

Saturday, June 16, 2012

Bags are packed and we’re ready to go……

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The day has arrived and we are leaving to take part in what we hope will be a life-changing experience. Croatia here we come.





Wednesday, May 30, 2012

Additional Highlights: Varaždin, Croatia

Posted in General issues |

What distinguishes Varaždin from other Croatian cities is the extraordinarily rich monumental and artistic heritage that is contained within its beautifully preserved Historic Core. Within the relatively small area of the Old Town are preserved palaces, important public buildings, Baroque, Rococo, Classicist and Secessionist houses and villas and one of the oldest City Halls in Europe.

Wednesday, May 30, 2012

Varaždin, Croatia

Posted in General issues |

The City of Varaždin is located in the North of Croatia on the southern bank of the River Drava. What distinguishes Varaždin from other Croatian cities is the extraordinarily rich monumental and artistic heritage that is contained within its beautifully preserved Historic Core. Within the relatively small area of the Old Town are preserved palaces, important public buildings, Baroque, Rococo, Classicist and Secessionist houses and villas and one of the oldest City Halls in Europe.

Thursday, July 14, 2011

13.7.11: McNair ISI Closing Ceremony

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Today the scholars received certificates for their completion of the McNair International Summer Institute hosted by the University of East London. During the ceremony, scholars had a chance to hear from the Pro Vice Chancellor John Shaw and speak with representatives from the U.S. Embassy.  Each of the scholars were also provided an opportunity to share how this international experience with impact their future.  It was great to see such a great turnout from UEL faculty and staff.

Thursday, July 14, 2011

11.7.11 & 12.7.11: Independent Scholarly Research

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On Monday and Tuesday the scholars continued working on their research projects.  It is hard to believe that this is our last week.  The four week experience is almost over.  Once back in Orlando, the scholars will complete their summer research project.

Thursday, July 14, 2011

9.7.11 & 10.7.11: Exploring London

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Today we visited the London Eye. We spent the day enjoying the British experience of queuing. As Alma described it, “the line was a serpentine monster that seemed to stretch for centuries!”. The rest of the afternoon was spent getting lost in the city and exploring the vast greens spaces in London. On Sunday, Lucie and Alma went exploring and visited the Tower of London, quite a few churches and cathedrals and a guided tour of haunted London.

Thursday, July 14, 2011

8.7.11: Higher Education Funding Council for England

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Our last official meeting took place at the Higher Education Funding Council for England’s (HEFCE) Centre Point location in London. We had an opportunity to speak with Clair Murphy and Vicky Waite, both Senior Higher Education Policy Advisors working in widening participation. We were further introduced to the English education system—a system currently undergoing major changes and entering into a pivotal stage in its history. The educational environment is changing into a consumer’s market; student fees are increasing from 3,000 pounds to 9,000. HEFCE’s funding is being cut by 60 percent. The meeting was thought-provoking and it will be interesting to see how this situation plays itself out in the coming years.

Thursday, July 14, 2011

7.7.11: “Our graduates are gorgeous! You should really have one!”

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Today we heard two equally amazing presentations. Femi Bola is so very vibrant and passionate about her role in the UEL community as the Director of Employability. It was apparent that she truly cares a great deal about each and every one of her students. “Our graduates are gorgeous! You should really have one!”, she proclaimed. And in reality it was quite true, her students were very focused and confident, ready to make their own contributions to their communities. It was great to see all of these research interns being supported by UEL.

The second presentation was given by Dr. Caroline Dunmore, UEL’s Researcher Development Manager. She was a wealth of information and the scholars could not stop taking notes. We provided us with additional resources that will serve invaluable as the scholars continue to prepare for graduate school.

Thursday, July 14, 2011

6.7.11: The Olympics and the Place of Aspiration

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Today we had two amazing presentations. Dr. Iain MacRury presented on the Olympics. “Sport, The Olympics and Widening participation”  The scholars found it interesting to learn how the Olympics leaves its mark on the host city.  Dr. MacRury also provided us with the history of the Olympics and it impact on widening participation. It was also interesting to learn that the U.S. Olympic support team will be housed at UEL.

The second talk was given by Dr. Gavin Brown, Lecturer at the University of Leicester. Dr. Brown, a geographer, discussed the importance of spatial planes in his talk entitled “The Place of Aspiration”.

Thursday, July 14, 2011

5.7.11: Further Exploring Widening Participation

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The presentations today provided some additional context to widening participation issues in the UK. Professor John Storan started us off by sharing with us about how his childhood experiences shaped his educational career. The scholars appreciated getting to know him better and were able to understand why WP is so important to him.

Additional speakers for today included: Dr. Beverley Crooks – Widening Participation Officer, Brunel University and Susan Hayday – Director of Workforce Learning Strategy, Foundation Degree Forward (fdf).

Thursday, July 14, 2011

4.7.11: The 4th of July and Research

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As the scholars mentioned, it was quite strange spending the 4th of July away from home and family. The UEL Continuum staff did a great job of making us feel at home. We spent most of the day reflecting about last week’s FACE conference and discussing how the scholar’s research projects were progressing. The scholars spent the rest of the afternoon and early evening in the library.

Sunday, July 10, 2011

3.7.11: A Day of Rest

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Today everyone rested. Lucie and Alma went to Petticoat lane market. It hard to believe we have already been away from UCF for two weeks. Two more weeks until we are back in Orlando. Next week is filled with additional workshops about the UK education system and independent scholarly research..

Sunday, July 10, 2011

2.7.11: Exploring London

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Today we explored London and took the tube to Portobello market. Alma read a book the entire day and Esteban danced his way across London. We walked along the Thames River and saw Big Ben, the London Eye and the Tate Modern. We crossed the London Millennium Footbridge and visited St. Paul’s Cathedral before making our way home.

Sunday, July 10, 2011

1.7.11: Last Day in Scotland

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Today was our last day in Scotland. It was a sad to say goodbye. We everyone was so friendly, especially the two University of Glasgow graduate students we met (Margaret and Amina). Before we left Glasgow we ate at a local restaurant and visited some of area vintage shops. Esteban and the scholars from the University of Kansas tried the highly recommended hagus. After a short flight on Easy Jet – we were back home in London.

Sunday, July 10, 2011

30.6.11: FACE Conference Day Two

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Today we participate in a round table discussion entitled “Listening to Learners: McNair Scholar’s experience of U.S. outreach and student support programs”. The entire hour and a half was filled with questions and discussion about the McNair Scholars program and the experience of scholars. It was interested to learn that the UK did not have any programs similar to the McNair model. Many of the delegates were very eager to create a similar program on their campuses.

The evening ended with yet another fabulous dinner. This was followed with participation in a traditional Scottish dance called the Ceildh (pronounced kay-lee). It was an unforgettable experience.

Sunday, July 10, 2011

29.6.11: Arriving in Glasgow, Scotland

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Today we headed to Glasgow, Scotland for the Forum for Accessing and Continuing Education (FACE) 2011 Annual Conference. Once in Glasgow we made our way to the campus residences. We put our luggage in our rooms and headed over to the conference. As newcomers to the FACE, we had the opportunity to attend a welcome session facilitated by the executive chair of FACE, Professor John Storan. It was nice that the scholars also had opportunity to attend the European Access Network conference because it introduced them to some of the issues that currently exist within the different education systems.

The evening finished with an amazing dinner at the Glasgow civic chambers. We had the opportunity to meet a government official. She personally interacted with us (the McNair scholars) and spent a lengthy bit of time answering our questions about the sights and history of Glasgow. The setting and the food were was absolutely amazing.

Saturday, July 9, 2011

27.6.11 & 28.6.11: Day One & Two of the McNair ISI

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Today was the first day of the McNair International Summer Institute (ISI) at the University of East London. The session started with welcoming remarks from Professor John Storan, director of Continuum and co-director of the International Summer Institute. He led us on a tour of the UEL campus and talked with us about the UEL history and its connection to the community of East London.

One of the first presentations provided us with an overview of the English educational system. The UEL library staff followed with the next presentation. They provided an introduction of the resources and databases best suited for each of the scholars. After lunch the scholars went back to the library to collect articles for their research projects.

Saturday, July 9, 2011

26.6.11: Visiting Brunel University & Amber

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Today we traveled 45 minutes on the train to Brunel University. The McNair scholars from Kansas, Jessica and Emily, joined us. Amber was waiting for us at the train station. It was great to see her and hear about her time at Brunel. She provided us with a campus tour and then introduced us to a place called Nandos for lunch. The scholar enjoyed hearing from Amber and being provided with an opportunity to ask any questions they had about life as a graduate student. The second part of the day was spent exploring London.

Saturday, July 9, 2011

25.6.11: Welcome to London

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Welcome to London, England! We arrived by train in the morning and made our way to the University of East London (UEL). Upon our arrival we were greeted by the UEL McNair ISI staff and two McNair scholars from the University of Kansas. After a brief orientation we picked up some groceries from the local market and spent the rest of the day getting settled in. Tomorrow we will travel to the other side of London to visit Amber Dukes, one of our McNair alum who is studying at Brunel University.