Monday, October 14, 2013

Study abroad gives students experiences that extend beyond the classroom

Jennifer Adams (left) and Kelsey Holmes added a global element to their OU-C educational experiences.

By public relations student writer Mallory Laird

An information session regarding study abroad experiences offered by Ohio University will be held at 3 p.m. on Oct. 17 in OU-C’s Bennett Hall room 105. Representatives from the university’s Office of Education Abroad will be on hand to share information with students and faculty as well as answer questions. Information on the Office of Education Abroad, including the various programs it offers, is available online at

As two Ohio University-Chillicothe students discovered, studying abroad offers an opportunity for learning that cannot be gained in the classroom and gaining a global perspective that is beneficial in their future academic and professional pursuits. As one travelling student put it, the experience “was worth every penny.”

 “Studying abroad has not only enriched my college experience, but my life as a whole. I was able to learn so much about myself and my abilities. You come back to the States as a changed person, in a very good way,” said Jennifer Adams, who studied abroad in England.

Fellow OU-C student Kelsey Holmes, who has taken study abroad trips to Italy and London, said, “The whole experience is life-changing. I was definitely very nervous.  Previous to my first study abroad trip, I had never been out of the country or flown before, so doing two new things at the same time was very, very scary for me. In the end it ended up making me a more independent person.”

A change in perspective is a benefit of studying abroad. “I view things completely differently than I did prior to studying abroad. Being immersed into different cultures brings a new perspective to how you view things. I have found that I can bring my study abroad experiences into classes other than art history and give a whole new meaning to what I am learning,” Holmes said.

Both individuals had an interest in an international experience for personal and academic reasons. As Chillicothe Campus students, Holmes and Adams were able to tap into the resources offered by the university’s Education Abroad program.

“I decided to study abroad because it was something I had always thought about doing. Being a regional campus student, however, I didn't know that the option was available to me. One spring quarter a representative from OU Education Abroad was on campus. A friend and I talked to this representative for quite a while and suddenly the possibility of studying abroad was opened to me. Another reason I decided to study abroad is because my major is art history. Looking at a book is one thing when you're dealing with art but being able to experience it in context is another experience entirely,” Holmes said.

Adams also elaborates, “Being a regional campus student I never thought an opportunity like this would present its self to me. I had always wanted to travel the world and this was my chance. I had many friends who had also studied abroad who highly recommended this experience to me.”

They both faced the challenges of adjusting to new surroundings and cultures, which is a large part of the study abroad experience.

“Adjusting to a country that speaks English was not too terribly hard. The hardest part was watching for the cars going in the opposite direction that you're used to! Learning and adjusting the London Underground was not as complicated as it would seem,” Holmes said.

Options are available to make these invaluable experiences affordable.

“A very good friend told me that she would pay back every penny of her student loans from studying abroad with a smile because it was well worth the extra cost and I find that to be true as well,” Holmes said. “What I think a lot of students don't realize is that financial aid can be used towards a study abroad trip to make it more affordable. There are also education abroad and program specific scholarships that can be applied for to help cover the cost.”

Holmes plans to teach in the future, and the study abroad experience will help her in her career.

“My plans after studying abroad include using my experiences to help teach others. My long term goal is to be an art history instructor on the college level. I think that is so important for someone that is planning to teach art history to study abroad and to have a personal experience with art pieces that they will be teaching others about.”

Both Holmes and Adams highly recommend studying abroad to other students.

“Absolutely. I highly recommend study abroad opportunities,” said Adams. “I would definitely recommend other students to study abroad.”

“It is an unforgettable experience that can add so much to a college education,” Holmes said.

From Russia to the United States, OU-C student follows remarkable journey to college

OU-C student Alexandra Getty’s remarkable journey that has included two continents, three states, a few time zones and enough experiences to last a lifetime before she even enrolled in college.

Getty, 19, a sophomore communication studies major, is a Russian by birth. Born in the town of Vladmir, Russia, she was raised in a Moscow orphanage before being adopted by Juliet and Robert Getty, university professors from Denton, Texas. She and her adoptive family, which also includes an older brother, later moved to Colorado when Alexandra was a sixth grader. When she was in the second semester of her senior year of high school, they then settled in southern Ross County, near the Pike County line in 2012, where they live on a farm that includes two horses.

“Since I was so young when I left, I have no real memories of Russia,” Getty said. “I had hearing problems at the time, so I did not talk much as a young child. Therefore, I never understood Russian and did not have to learn a second language.”

“I was so young that I do not remember having to blend in with my adoptive family,” says Getty, who was adopted on Christmas Day. “It was sometimes rather difficult. As a child, you do not understand why your birth mother gave you up, and there is always a biological connection you have to your mother that sometimes bothers me.”

Despite her successful adjustment, there are lingering uncertainties.

“Probably the biggest struggle I had was the unknowing – not knowing anything about my biological mother or my original family. I know I have brothers and sisters, but I have no idea where they are. It is definitely a weird feeling.”

Alexandra sometimes ponders what might have been.

“Sometimes I wonder what would have happened if I had grown up in Russia and had not been chosen for adoption,” she said. “I cannot imagine. I know it would have been difficult to live over there. I probably would not have had the opportunity for an education.”

Getty has been a well-known student on campus, mainly through her work as a cashier in the Hilltop Café, located in the Stevenson Center Learning Commons.

Many of her classmates and co-workers are unaware of Getty’s international roots.

“Most of the time, it does not come up in conversation right away,” she said. “When people ask ‘Where are you from?’ that is a very complicated question for me. Most of the time, people do not initially believe me or it is a shocker for them. I always have photos of my adoptive parents n St. Peter’s Square if I need to prove it.”

For Getty, most of the cultural differences she realizes are those between western states and her new home in southern Ohio.

“Overall, people in Colorado are more active and love nature and wildlife,” she said. “We were also much more isolated from people when in Colorado.”

Getty and her family lived in the town of Bayfield, in the Four Corners region that is located in southwestern Colorado. Because of moving to Ohio during her senior year, Getty graduated from Southwest Colorado E-School, an online high school.

Because of her globetrotting ways, the OU-C student is able to adjust more easily to changing situations and is not afraid of change or relocation.

“From my experiences, I can acclimate to change very well. There are pluses and minuses of each situation I have been in,” she said.

Getty is not certain of her career plans, although she previously worked with political campaign events in Colorado and has maintained an interest in planning and organizing events. Always open to change and looking for a challenge, she also plans to take some classes on the Athens campus of Ohio University to experience that atmosphere.

Upcoming Trick or Treat Extravaganza stresses value of community service

By public relations student writer Mallory Laird

The Human Services Association (HAS) of Ohio University-Chillicothe will sponsor the Eighth Annual Trick or Treat Extravaganza (TOTE) from 6 p.m. to 9:30 p.m. on Oct. 25 in OU-C’s Shoemaker Center. Admission is $2 or a donation of a coat, jeans or four canned goods per person.

In keeping with the organization’s emphasis on community service, HSA is sponsoring the event to support the social service agencies of the Good Samaritan Network and the Children’s Clothing Bank, according to HSA Co-President Aaron Chaney.

“The mission of the Human Services Association is to support social service agencies through volunteerism, awareness campaigns, and help with networking. At times, the Human Services Association has supported agencies by sponsoring small fund raisers,” program coordinator and associate professor Barbara Mahaffey said.

Participating in the TOTE helps to prepare OU-C students for their future careers, especially those in the Human Services Technology program.

“We have the opportunity to meet and network with social service workers, and students learn skills that will help them when working in careers in the field,” Mahaffey said. “The students learn how to plan and organize awareness campaigns. They also promote more opportunities for potential clients to meet social service workers and promote healthy and safe activities for all ages and diversities.”

Brandy Diehl, an HSA member who is a student leader of the event, enjoys the helping people, which is what draws her to this academic major and the trick or treat event.

“The reason I got involved with this organization is because of the community service done by the groups of members that we have,” Diehl said. “I love helping people. It is the whole reason that I am taking the classes that I am taking. It is an awesome feeling to do something good for someone. Trick or Treat Extravaganza is all about helping the children have a safe and fun Halloween. This is what the Human Services Association does for the parents and children who attend our annual event.”

The Human Services Association also sponsors other community service-related activities. “We have also sponsored car shows for the Ross County Mental Health Association, and all of the money earned supports a Human Services Technology scholarship for $500. They have given either one or two scholarships to students each year since the early 1980s,” Mahaffey said.

Organizations, businesses, agencies and interested persons are needed to sponsor treat tables, game prizes, bounce houses, activities and arts and craft supplies for the Trick or Treat Extravaganza. The treat table sponsors are to bring sealed bags of store purchased candy and arrive at the Shoemaker gym after 5 p.m. the day of the event.  Further information about the event can be obtained by contacting Mahaffey at (740) 774-7287 or by email at

Shoemaker floor gets new, modern look

A bad situation has a nice outcome, with the gym floor in the Shoemaker Center sporting a new, more modern look that, in many ways, resembles the Convocation Center on the Athens campus. A leaking roof in late August allowed moisture to form under the surface of the maple court.

The floor was then stripped to bare wood and the surface was cooled, allowing the moisture to dissipate. Once the moisture level was lowered to 10 percent, the floor was completely refinished and restyled, and 67 boards were replaced.

“This is one of the best-constructed floor in the area, and we wanted to take good care of it and return it to its original condition,” Director of Facilities Dave Scott said. “With the moisture damage, we took advantage of the opportunity to give the gym floor new life. The Shoemaker Center is used by our athletics teams and for numerous area events, and we want it to continue to be a source of pride.”

Vendors can reserve space for antique and craft show

The date of the ninth annual Community Antique and Craft Show at the Shoemaker Center at Ohio University-Chillicothe is scheduled from 9:30 a.m. to 3 p.m. on Nov. 16. Vendors who wish to display items can reserve space for $35 by contacting George Beck at (740) 779-9260 or

Food will be served, the event will include a raffle, and admission is free to the public. Proceeds benefit the Ohio University-Chillicothe softball team.