Caley Blankenbuehler

International Experience Country:
Cohort Year:
Home Institution:

Waynesburg University

Heinz Programming Area:
International Experience Summary:

Caley Blankenbuehler began her adventure in Madurai, India volunteering at a private, Catholic school called St. Ann’s Nursery and Primary School through Projects Abroad. There she learned a great deal about English Language Learners while teaching English and math to three to nine year old students. She learned how to give directions in a clearer way and realized that using fewer words when describing an object is best. Caley observed the classes being taught at St. Ann’s during her first week. Then she was given the opportunity to teach five or six classes a day. The relationships between the students and Caley grew stronger once they started teaching each other different hand clapping games such as Tom and Jerry, Miss Merry Mac and Down by the Banks. The relationships between the teachers and Caley also improved. She discussed with the teachers the differences between the American and Indian cultures, including differences in climate, foods, and family and marriage customs. Caley was able to have a homestay experience with an Indian family. Through the homestay experience, her weekend travels in India, and the teachers at St. Ann’s, Caley learned a lot about the Indian culture. She even donned a saree on a few occasions.  Then an opportunity arose for Caley that would allow her to travel to Sri Lanka. In Sri Lanka she stayed with a host family, traveled the country on weekends, and taught at a public, Buddhist Primary School called Sri Parakrama teaching English. There she learned about the Buddhist religion and was able to develop relationships with the students and the teachers at the school. At Sri Parakrama, Caley learned one of the most valuable lessons of her trip: words are not always needed. Sometimes a smile and a wave are all that is needed to make a friend.

Community Engagement Experience Summary:

CEE Title: Out of Sight, Out of Mind: The Hidden World of Human Trafficking

Our CEE, Out of Sight, Out of Mind: The Hidden World of Human Trafficking discussed human trafficking both here and abroad. Numerous times human trafficking is viewed as a problem in other countries, but human trafficking also occurs locally in our own neighborhoods and communities. Our goal was to educate the Waynesburg University community about human trafficking both here and abroad and the different forms human trafficking can take on, such as domestic labor, forced slavery, and sex trafficking. Our CEE had two parts. The first part involved an interactive exhibit that took place throughout three rooms. It took attendees about 20-45 minutes to walk through the interactive exhibit. The first part of the exhibit was an introduction to human trafficking and the forms it can take on. The participants received a biography of someone who had been trafficking and were able to read short stories of victims in the form of a Twitter wall. The second part took attendees into a second room where they were able to discover more information through posters, interactive displays and other items. In this second room, participants were also able to follow their person’s biography that they received in the first room. Along the way, they also discovered facts and general information about human trafficking. The third part of the exhibit involved an organizational fair where participants were able to interact with different organizations and individuals and discover ways to get involved to help end human trafficking. The second part of our program involved a concert with P.W. Gopal, an entertainer and advocate against human trafficking.