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Volume 13, Edition 6: April 2014

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UNCG students speak to North Asheboro Middle School AVID class about study abroad

On March 6, 2014, UNCG former study abroad students Kelly Morales and Jessica Straehle were invited to speak at an Advancement Via Individual Determination (AVID) class at North Asheboro Middle School in Asheboro, NC. They were accompanied by IPC Study Abroad Coordinator Angie Kapely. The AVID program is designed to prepare students in the “academic middle”—B, C, and sometimes D students—for four-year college eligibility. A voluntary program, AVID targets students who want to go to college and are willing to work hard to get there.

Jessica Straehle speaks to the AVID students about her time at the University of Strathclyde in Glasgow, Scotland

“I was actually really glad to see a program like AVID being implemented in middle school,” Jessica says. “I know I would have benefited from the type of guidance it offers, had this program been available when I was that age. I was thrilled to be a resource for the students.”

As part of the program, students are encouraged to begin planning for college and exploring the opportunities available to them at various colleges and universities. One of those opportunities is studying abroad. Kelly and Jessica spoke to the class about their study abroad experiences and encouraged the AVID students to consider studying abroad in their college plans. Kelly, an International and Global Studies major, studied in Montevideo, Uruguay, at the Universidad de Montevideo in Spring 2013, and Jessica, a Business Administration and Environmental Studies major, studied in Glasgow, Scotland, at the University of Strathclyde in Fall 2012. Both students gave a short presentation about their time abroad, followed by a Q&A discussion about studying abroad, other cultures, and preparing for college.

“I think it's important to get young people excited about studying abroad because in today's globalized society we are exposed to people from different cultures more and more. Part of the personal growth that occurs during a semester abroad comes from learning about other cultures and seeing beyond your own culture,” Jessica says. “My favorite part of the experience was when I asked the students where they would go if they could study abroad. They all responded without hesitation! Their enthusiasm showed me that they've put thought into it, and that they see studying abroad as a real possibility.”

UNCG study abroad students Kelly Morales and Jessica Straehle (back row, third and fourth from right) and IPC Study Abroad Coordinator Angie Kapely (back row, right) with the AVID class

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