Michele Etling

International Experience Country:
Czech Republic
Cohort Year:
Home Institution:

University of Pittsburgh | Greensburg

Heinz Programming Area:
International Experience Summary:

Michelle Etling studied abroad in Prague, Czech Republic for eight weeks over the summer.  While she was there, she studied the relationship between psychoanalysis and art, international journalism within the Czech Republic and in Europe, and the Czech language and culture.  In the Psychoanalysis and Art course, she was able to learn about Freud’s theories of psychoanalysis and its involvement in all mediums of art relating to and outside of the Czech Republic.  She was also able to delve into the history of Czechoslovakia during communist oppression, learn about its current democratic society now as two separate countries, current issues within the Czech Republic, and aspects of the language and culture through both the International Journalism and Czech Language courses she took.  Along with the information that Michelle gained through her coursework at CIEE, she was able to participate in other academic excursions outside of Prague.  After classes or on the weekends, Michelle explored around Prague to discover more about the political, social, and economic aspects of the city while visiting many historic and beautiful sights.  She traveled around to other cities within the Czech Republic such as Konopiště, Český Krumlov, Telč, Kutná Hora, and Terezín to further her understanding of the country and its past.  While she was abroad, Michelle also traveled to Warsaw, Poland; Bern, Switzerland; and Paris, France to experience other cultures within neighboring countries.  Michelle is so incredibly thankful for her opportunity to go abroad and cannot wait for her next time in Prague. 

Community Engagement Experience Summary:

CEE Title: Knocking Down Walls: Campus Immigration—What it is and what you need to know!

Pitt-Greensburg’s CEE was a combination of a Panel/Roundtable Discussion with an information session in the beginning to initiate the topic of conversation.  With the topic of campus immigration, the other presenters and I wanted to first gather a general understanding of what the audience understood immigration to be.  Along with that tactic, we wanted to make this presentation more interactive, so we incorporated Post-It notes for the audience to write their individual responses to use as a reference throughout the presentation.  From there, we went into providing official definitions for immigration, immigrating, and immigrants.  Then, we went into giving our own separate definitions of campus immigrants and their presence on campus.  To further explain and reinforce our definitions of campus immigrants, the other VIH members and I explained how it felt to be an international student in our host countries during our study abroad experiences this past summer.  We each spent about a few minutes explaining how citizens treated us in different public settings, how people reacted to us being American, and how people thought about us and our kind.  After giving those explanations and examples to the audience, we then asked them another question regarding how they perceived campus immigration, referring to our definition, to be a local issue.  Another Post-It note activity followed this question to be used as a reference for the panel discussion towards the end of the presentation.  Once we covered all of the material on the Prezi, we transitioned our presentation to the panel discussion and introduced our panelists from the campus.  The five panelists led an enlightening conversation expanding off from what we talked about beforehand and went above and beyond what we expected.  Our panel session of the presentation lasted about 45 minutes and we had to cut the conversations short, unfortunately.  Even though we wanted to let the dialogue continue, we were exceeding our allotted time frame for the evening.  From there, we had one last Post-It activity in which we asked the audience members about what they learned from the presentation and what they plan on doing within the campus community to make it a better place for all students, especially campus immigrants.  We collected their responses and we plan on displaying it on campus for the whole community to see.