Kierstin Brown

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

University of Pittsburgh | Greensburg

Heinz Programming Area:
International Experience Summary:

Kierstin Brown spent the summer in Prague, Czech Republic studying psychology, Czech language, and volunteering in a Czech-English nursery. During her time studying psychology, she learned about psychoanalysis and its relation to art as well as the psychology of the transition from Czechoslovakia’s communist past to the current democratic society in the Czech Republic. Kierstin also took the opportunity to take a Czech language course for four weeks to acquire basic Czech language skills, which she used to converse with locals daily. She learned how challenging and exhilarating it can be to converse with others in a language other than her own. Kierstin also used her new language skills to converse with the headmaster and students in the Czech-English nursery, Indigo Kids. Indigo kids is a private nursery for children ages 2-6 where students are taught in both Czech and English. Kierstin assisted the children with learning English vocabulary and playing games in English to enhance their English speaking skills.

Community Engagement Experience Summary:

CEE Title: Poverty Abroad: What are the Global Factors?

The Pitt Greensburg 2015 Vira I. Heinz Cohort’s CEE was a workshop based on the issues of global poverty as well as varying degrees of poverty around the world. Their goal was to bring awareness of global poverty to their local community. They wanted to address that poverty is often thought of too lightly and should be thought of as an important issue that affects people worldwide. The workshop took place on a Wednesday evening, attracting over 30 attendees. The Cohort began the workshop by discussing their own experiences during their time abroad. The workshop featured a panel discussion with two well-versed Pitt Greensburg professors making up the panel. The professors were asked to voice their knowledge and opinions of why global poverty is an issue, what factors contribute to global poverty, and how those factors contribute to U.S. poverty. Attendees of the workshop were able to ask their own questions throughout the panel discussion relative to the professor’s knowledge and opinions on global poverty as well as the Cohort’s abroad experiences with global poverty. Toward the end of the workshop, the Cohort facilitated a discussion in which attendees were able to speak of their own experiences with poverty in the U.S. and abroad. The discussion opened up the conversation to the idea that poverty does not look the same worldwide and varies in degree. At the conclusion of the workshop, the Cohort and workshop attendees expressed how they were going to take the first steps in addressing the issues of global poverty- through educating themselves and bringing awareness to others. Overall, the Cohort was able to deepen their campus community’s awareness of the global issues and varying degrees of poverty worldwide through thoughtful reflection of their abroad experiences and informational discussion.