Students create 'Digi-Shorts' to share experiences abroad

By The Beacon | April 2, 2014 10:44pm

McKena Miyashiro |

While in Nicaragua last summer, senior Kimberlee Turner, a secondary education and Spanish major, stayed far away from the luxurious beachfront property on the Pacific coast. Rather, Turner lived in the campo, or countryside, in a small brick house without running water. Although her host family lacked many modern luxuries, Turner was shocked to see how happy they were and took this as one of her biggest lessons from her service immersion trip.

To share the experiences of international exchanges and adventures like Turner’s, UP will host the first CISGO DIGI-SHORTS Digital Storytelling Festival on April 9 from 4:30 to 6:30 p.m. in Buckley Center 163.

Kate Regan, chair of the Collaborate for International Studies and Global Outreach (CISGO) and a Spanish professor at UP, hopes this festival will foster conversations about studying abroad and global awareness.

"The hope is that this is a fun way to get students engaged with international awareness,” Regan said. “Hopefully, it'll provide fuel for people to think about studying abroad who didn't, and then for those going, the possibilities of sharing their story in a digital format.”

Turner submitted a Digi-Short about her experiences in Granada, Spain and her service immersion trip to Nicaragua for three weeks. Her Digi-Short is a three-minute slideshow with pictures in these countries accompanied by her voice narration.

When traveling to Spain this past summer, Turner experienced culture shock from Spain’s leisurely sense of time and their customary paseo, or stroll, late at night. However, Turner said she was able to become fluent in Spanish by being immersed in the language.

After graduating, Turner is interested in teaching Spanish or ESL classes abroad.     "Coming back to UP and the U.S., I feel like these trips have helped me broaden my perspective," Turner said. "I'm able to recognize the differences that students bring into the classroom and I'm more open and able to incorporate that in my lessons."

Senior Lucy Grimm, a marketing major, submitted a Digi-Short about her six weeks in Cape Town, South Africa last summer.

Grimm took child development classes in the morning and worked with Africa Jam to help children in less developed areas. In her video, she wanted to highlight how devoted the leaders were to giving kids a safe place to learn and grow.

“You watch TV sometimes of sad videos in Africa of people starving and while it is important to see, I think it is important to show the people who are overcoming it and are keeping a positive attitude and making a difference,” Grimm said.

Seniors Corey Trujillo and Jordan Lum in the Donald P. Shiley School of Engineering also submitted a Digi-Short about their experience in the Netherlands last summer. Trujillo and Lum worked for the Culture Heritage Agency of the Netherlands (RCE) in Amsterdam to apply concepts of mechanical engineering to art conservation.

"Me and Jordan really saw how unique our experiences are. Most engineers are creative but they're unable to apply their skills in artistic ways," Trujillo said. "It's essential to innovative and innovation is tied to creativity."

The idea of a Digital Storytelling Festival started through discussion on globalization between CISGO and the different professional schools at UP. This event is supported by CISGO, the Office of Academic Technology Services and the Teaching and Learning Collaborative lead by Karen Eifler.

"The president and the provost have talked about digital futures and internationalization and this is one way to bring these two things together,” Regan said. “I think that we're linked to the world like we've never been before.”