May 23, 2017

Education majors from Susquehanna University recently embarked on a new Global Opportunities (GO) experience.

GO Chester: Education in England gives students a glimpse of what it’s like to teach and learn in a different country.

“This experience is going to give them a wonderful opportunity to look at the education system in the states with new eyes,” said Valerie Allison, associate professor and chair of the Department of Education, and program director of GO Chester. “And hopefully they’ll be able to think more critically of why we do things the way we do and whether that’s in the best interest of society and its students.”

Susquehanna’s GO program requires students to study off campus in a culture different from their own, either in the U.S. or abroad. Ninety percent choose to study abroad for two weeks or as long as a semester. Students choose from more than 100 programs on six continents based on their area of interest.

Susquehanna was among the first in the nation to require every student to have a meaningful cross-cultural experience, followed by scholarly reflection. In a time of geopolitical and economic complexity, cultural competency in the workplace is an essential skill.

The GO Chester program facilitates an exchange between students from Susquehanna and students from the University of Chester, located in Cheshire, England, near the English border with Wales.

Natalie Wilson, of Liverpool, and Rebecca Cromwell, of Manchester, both in the second of a three-year teaching program at the University of Chester, recently observed elementary classes within the Selinsgrove Area School District.

They sat in on a recent pre-GO class, during which they shared some insights from the time they spent in American classrooms.

“They’ve been very friendly,” Wilson said of Selinsgrove’s first-grade students. “We’ve had some one-on-one time with them and have read stories with the students.”

Eleven Susquehanna students departed from the U.S. on May 13 for Cheshire. There, they will work directly with students from the University of Chester and local schools, observing classroom spaces, leading activities and completing a practicum experience. They will also experience English history and culture with trips to Liverpool, Manchester and Wales.