Showing posts with label Study Abroad. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Study Abroad. Show all posts

Friday, September 8, 2023

Traveling to Europe with Rural Communication Students

Hi everyone! It's September and summer and officially over! :(

Summer is one of those sacred times of year for faculty to determine the next steps of their faculty career. From my dear colleague who is focused on his retirement to new faculty members who are focused on their new research agenda, everyone is focused on renewal. Our department faculty members usually travel to work at state parks, volunteer in the community, and participate in professional development activities.

This summer, we traveled on a study abroad experience to Scotland, Ireland, and England. This was an incredible journey with 17 students from our university. I have not traveled outside of the country for a year and the students were filled with excitement from the end of the spring semester. 

The trip to Europe was long and uneventful. We traveled with EF Tours and it was definitely an adventure. Many of our rural students have never traveled outside of the country before this adventure and they learned many new skills along their journey. I was proud of their progress.

During the study abroad experience, I also had an opportunity walk a mile by myself in Ireland. Previously, I have ALWAYS traveled in groups - large groups and small groups. However, when most of the attendees wanted to participate in an activity together and I had to travel back to the hotel to pick up an item - I had the opportunity be independent. I walked by myself across the city to the hotel. This prepared me for another big adventure that I had this summer. Summer 2023 was filled with solo adventure travel for this female faculty member.

We also had an opportunity to view the Book of Kells in Ireland. It was a great experience and the library that housed the book of Kells (the Bible) was one of the most beautiful libraries I've ever visited.

This was my second time to visit the palace in England. There is always a crowd at Buckingham palace and the students enjoyed snapping pictures with the statues.

Who am I kidding? I enjoyed snapping pictures as well! It was crowded and it was definitely an adventure.

I've only heard about it on YouTube from flight attendants, but Primark lived up to its reputation. The clothes were inexpensive, high quality, and were gorgeous! I was very excited to buy professor clothes at Primark!

Overall, we had a great time. The students enjoyed themselves and I did as well. I learned a lot about European culture and I added two additional countries to my list. In fact, I added THREE new countries to my list (more about that later). Another day, another post. ;)

Let me know if you have any questions about traveling with students. They are a trip - literally! I cannot remember the last time that I laughed so hard. Traveling with rural students enables them to be themselves while experience a whole new world.

Until next time!

J. Edwards


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Dr. Jennifer T. Edwards
Professor of Communication
Executive Director of the Texas Social Media Research Institute & Rural Communication Institute

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Monday, December 19, 2016

Searching for a Long-Term Academic Relationship (LTAR)

Relationships change, friendships evolve, and values are reaffirmed. The past sentence defines my life for the past six years. When I began my academic career, I had a core group  of academic friends at the institution. However, when lives changed and mindsets evolved, our academic lives drifted apart.

Thinking Back to the Sorority Days

I have to remember that this was a similar experience that I encountered with some of my sorority sisters after college. We had a lot in common when we saw each other each day and were completing college together, but when we began our career paths we discovered how different we truly were.

Focusing on Today

So, the differences. Yes, they are definitely evident now. I am no longer on the tenure track, I am almost an associate professor and my academic value systems changed from a faculty research focus to a student research focus. Everything that I do now focuses on helping our students navigate college while integrating high impact educational practices from their first-year to their senior year. 

Thinking Beyond Your Department

Just because you share an academic discipline and work on project together does not guarantee a long-term academic relationship (LTAR). A LTAR is strengthened when we participate in those high-impact relationship building activities like study abroad, text messages sent to encourage one another, a spontaneous coffee/tea invitation for a 30 minute walk around campus, and a telephone call just to let the other academic know that you are thinking of them.

Encourage Others by Thinking Positively

My past academic relationships have been VERY transactional and research and project-based. Now, I can say that these relationships are based on common experiences (away from the university) and shared (encouraging) conversations. We also encourage one another by discouraging any negative conversations about other people. These conversations can taint your views of others and the time that you spend gossiping can be allocated to conversations about family or classroom innovation ideas.

I am much happier since I realized that relationships in my 30s need to be long-lasting and based on common experiences and common mindsets, not purely transactional. Sometimes you just have to let friendships wither away, this can make you open to new (and better friendships).

Have a great day and keep thinking positively! Thanks for visiting the Millennial Professor Blog!


Dr. Jennifer T. Edwards
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Tuesday, January 13, 2015

2014 Open Doors Report - Institute of International Education

One of the areas that I work with on a daily basis is the International Programs area. I am a strong advocate of study abroad programs and I am always looking for innovative ways to help all students experience a study abroad program. In addition, when students chose to study in the United States this experience enriches the international student's life and GREATLY IMPACTS the students located at the university.

One report that I continue to monitor is the Open Doors report. Here's the link to the latest report:

Sincerely - @drjtedwardsTSU