W&J student studies experiential learning in Chilean classroom

Created: July 5, 2018
Last Updated: July 9, 2020

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WASHINGTON, PA (July 5, 2018)—Washington & Jefferson College (W&J) junior Victoria Metz ’20 is one of 112 students taking advantage of travel opportunities through W&J’s Magellan Project this summer.

Victoria, an education major, traveled in May to Santiago, Chile, where she observed and assisted in classrooms at Nido de Aguilas, an international English language-based Pre-K-12 school. Students from as far as Italy, Saudi Arabia, and China were in classes Victoria observed, and she even met a teacher at the school from Cranberry, Pa., with whom she discussed W&J.

“Originally I wanted to study abroad because I wanted to major in Spanish, but unfortunately it didn’t fit in my schedule, so [Associate Professor of Spanish] H.J. Manzari set me up with a contact at the school in Chile,” Victoria said. “It was kind of the perfect opportunity to do Spanish and something for education.”

As Victoria is working on certification in special education and pre-k through fourth grade, she chose to work in classrooms at the elementary level while at Nido de Aguilas. She observed teaching methods based around projects in which students were encouraged to create projects to show their understanding of the curriculum. She noted in particular she was impressed with a fifth grade assignment called The Great Brain Project that had the students performing research and creating a presentation for the class akin to a TED Talk.

“It’s a very different atmosphere than what you would see here [in the United States],” Victoria said. “Here in a class when a student is misbehaving, a teacher might say, ‘Don’t do that because of this,’ but there, the teacher would stop a student and say, ‘Do you think that was a good idea?’ or ‘Why would you do that?’ It’s definitely more reflective thinking and not just, ‘Here are the rules, follow them,’ so that was interesting to see.”

Experiencing an international classroom opened Victoria’s eyes to all the opportunities she could have with her degree around the world, and she’s considering working internationally after graduation and would like to pursue a Fulbright teaching assistantship in the future.

“My experience reminded me why I decided to come to W&J because there are so many opportunities that are only available here,” Victoria said. “I feel proud to say that I go to W&J and the school gave me this opportunity.”

About the Magellan Project

Established in 2008, Washington & Jefferson College’s unique Magellan Project extends liberal arts learning outside the classroom by providing scholarship funding for students to spend the summer pursuing independent projects and internships in the United States and abroad. Learn more about the Magellan Project here.

About Washington & Jefferson College

Washington & Jefferson College, located in Washington, Pa., is a selective liberal arts college founded in 1781. Committed to providing each of its students with the highest-quality undergraduate education available, W&J offers a traditional arts and sciences curriculum emphasizing interdisciplinary study and independent study work. For more information about W&J, visit www.washjeff.edu, or call 888-W-AND-JAY.

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