Every year Hobart and William Smith students study abroad on six continents, taking part in coursework, internships, service work and cultural experiences while there. This year, the students studying in China, Korea, Japan, Hong Kong and Vietnam are blogging about their experiences in “Asiapod.”
The project was the result of collaborations between Juliet Boisselle, instructional and resource technologist, and Doug Reilly, program coordinator at the Center for Global Education. Students participating in the project were given an iPod Touch.
The Asiapod initiative is a mobile language learning project funded through a larger three-year grant from the Freeman Foundation aimed at enhancing teaching and research in Asian Studies at Hobart and William Smith. It provides students studying abroad in China, Japan and Vietnam a collaborative forum to share reflections on intersections of culture, language learning and technology.
“Asiapod is one of the most exciting projects I’ve been privileged to work on at HWS. It combines mobile technology and online publishing with study abroad, and in that respect it’s pretty revolutionary,” explains Reilly. “The field of study abroad has been very slow to adapt to these technologies, but Asiapod is guaranteed to help fix that. I’ve been incredibly impressed with the quality of writing we’ve been getting on the blog, and I think it really reflects the powerful kinds of experiences our students have abroad.”
Alexandra Miller ’12, an Asian languages and cultures major, is studying in Japan this semester and calls it an “eye-opening experience.” She says the blogs are beneficial because they are globally accessible and an easy way for friends and family to keep in touch with them and find out what students in Asia are doing in their respective countries.
She notes the Asiapod project also helped bring HWS students studying in different countries closer together. “We are able to see how one another are doing, comment on similar topics, and compare how different the societies are where we are currently living. I get to learn, even through small snippets of students’ lives, how another country’s society works and what kind of lifestyle the people are living.”
Gennady Julien ’13 is in China and says, in addition to helping feed his desire to tell everyone about his experiences, the blog has helped him frame his own thoughts on those experiences.
“The blog has helped me focus in on certain aspects of my thought process and the culture around me that I want to understand better,” he explains.
The Asiapod blog can be found at http://asiapod.org.
In the photo above Morgan Williamson ’12 (left) vistis the Golden Pavilion in Kyoto, Japan with friends. Williamson is currently studying abroad in Kikone.