Hannah Szymanik

International Experience Country:
Cohort Year:
Home Institution:

Waynesburg University

Heinz Programming Area:
Children, Youth, and Families
International Experience Summary:

Hannah Szymanik volunteered at Mary Queen of Peace Catholic School (MQPCS) in the Central Region of Ghana. Hannah taught English and math to a class of forty-one students ranging in age from 6 to 9 years old. Some of the topics Hannah taught included long and short vowel sounds, silent e, story comprehension, addition, currency, and telling time. Since MQPCS does not turn anyone away due to lack of academic performance, Hannah was also able to work one on one with struggling readers by teaching them helpful decoding strategies. Through Hannah’s partnering organization, ProWorld Service Corps, she was able to purchase needed items for the school with a special program budget. Clocks were purchased for all of the primary grade classrooms, children’s books were purchased for the library, and sports equipment was purchased to replace broken equipment. During the month Hannah was in Ghana, she also had the opportunity on the weekends to learn about Ghanaian culture and history. While visiting the Cape Coast Slave Trading Castle and Assin Manso, she saw firsthand the sobering and disheartening realities of slavery in African history. To experience a different aspect of the Ghanaian history and culture, Hannah participated in language classes, African drum and dance lessons, and a wood carving lesson. One of the highlights of the trip for Hannah was staying with a host family. She enjoyed becoming an active member of the household by helping with dinner and house chores, but most importantly she loved the welcoming family atmosphere and the cultural exchange through mutual respect for one another.

Community Engagement Experience Summary:

CEE Title: Get Connected

Hannah helped create Get Connected, an event that introduced Waynesburg faculty, staff, and students to customs and cultures from around the world.  Hannah and her team partnered with several organizations such as the Greater Pittsburgh Community Food Bank, Narimon Jewelry, International Justice Mission and Ten Thousand Villages to offer students insight into the similarities between global and domestic issues. Her team also invited a steel drum trio to perform Caribbean music, Muslim women from Pittsburgh to discuss Islam, and South Korean students to assist in Korean name art.