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Volume 11 Edition 4: December 2011 Emily Holmes, Editor

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Students share about Finland at Peeler Elementary School

Peeler Elementary School

Jessie Hill and Ella Koski with kindergarten students and teachers at Peeler Elementary School on October 14, 2011

Jessie Hill, a UNCG student who studied abroad at the University of Oulu, Finland, wrote:
My name is Jessie Hill, and I am a senior majoring in Human Development and Family Studies. Last Spring I studied in Finland as an exchange student.  I chose Finland because it has the best education system in the world, and I wanted to learn about Scandinavia.  It was the adventure of a lifetime!  Also, I received the Gilman Scholarship which allowed me to travel on school trips to Russia, Sweden, and Estonia and gave me the opportunity to travel throughout much of Europe after my semester in Finland alongside my new international friends.  As a recipient of the Gilman Scholarship, I did a follow-up project to promote international education in my community.  Part of this project was to educate an elementary school class in Guilford Country. With the help Ella Koski, a Finnish exchange student, I presented a program to a kindergarten class at Peeler Elementary School.  We both talked to the kids about the Finnish culture, the animals, its cold climate, the people, and the long months of darkness.  Ella taught the children how to say hello, "hei," and goodbye, "hei hei," in Finnish. The children were eager to learn about Finland and many of them asked questions or had comments while they were making the blue and white flag of Finland.  At the end of the day we walked out of the classroom hearing 25 enthusiastic "hei hei’s!"  This was a great way to share my knowledge about Finland, a place where I learned so much and a country which I learned to love.

Ella Koski, an International exchange student from the University of Oulu, Finland, wrote:
My name is Ella Koski, and I am an exchange student from the University of Oulu in Finland.  I arrived in Greensboro in August 2011 to spend the semester studying education at UNCG, as well as work as an intern at the International Programs Center.  I came to North Carolina to learn about the US culture and the education system, to meet new people, and, honestly, to spend some time in a warmer climate.  So far my stay here in the U.S. has allowed me to meet some amazing people from the U.S. and all over the world. It is difficult to imagine that already in December I will have to say goodbye to UNCG and all my wonderful new friends. 

Last spring Jessie Hill spent a semester at my university, and now that I am visiting her university, she contacted me to do a presentation about Finland and Finnish culture. Jessie and the international Programs Center organized for us to go to Peeler Open Elementary School for the Performing Arts to visit a class of kindergarten students.  Since I am studying to become an elementary school teacher, I eagerly accepted the chance to visit an American classroom and share about my country and culture.  Together with Jessie we talked about the four different seasons, the dark winter and the bright summer, the animals, and typical foods in Finland.  In addition, we of course introduced the most famous Finn in the world: Santa Claus.

We also taught the children a few words in Finnish—in Finnish when you meet someone you can say "Hei!" (Hello), which is pronounced like “Hey”, and when you leave you say "Hei hei!" (Goodbye). Not too difficult is it? At the end of our visit we made Finnish flags with the students and got to see some amazing pictures of reindeer, lingonberries, and Santa.  The children were truly wonderful and one of my favorite parts was when we heard all the happy “hei hei”s when we left the classroom.

Evelyn Wilson Simpson Award Recipient Meets the Simpson Family

Simpson Scholar

Simpson Award recipient, Victoria Basile, with relatives of Evelyn Wilson Simpson

On October 19, 2011, Bill Wilson, son of Evelyn Wilson Simpson who established the Evelyn Wilson Simpson Study Abroad Fund, attended the School of Nursing Scholarship Luncheon in the Cone Ballroom along with his sister, Marianne, and his cousin, Carolyn. The luncheon was to honor donors that have contributed scholarship money for various projects and initiatives at UNCG.

Evelyn Wilson Simpson established the Study Abroad Fund in 1984 in memory of her mother, Annie Dixon Wilson. Mrs. Simpson graduated from UNCG in 1921 with a major in French and a minor in Spanish. She went on to complete a Master’s degree at UNC Chapel Hill and then to teach at Salem College before having the opportunity to study at the Sorbonne in Paris. Mrs. Simpson had always wanted to study in France but did not have the opportunity until the president of Salem College learned of her desire and offered to fund her studies at the Sorbonne so that she could fulfill her dream. Thus in 1927, Mrs. Simpson boarded a ship bound for France and traveled for eight days before reaching her destination. This trip became the first of many that Mrs. Simpson would take in her lifetime to France and other parts of the world.

The experience that Mrs. Simpson had at the Sorbonne led her to believe in the importance of study abroad for students planning to teach foreign languages, and she was grateful for the assistance that she had received from the college president that made the journey possible. Therefore, the Simpson Study Abroad Fund was established to support UNCG students that study abroad and take part in intensive language study with the goal of eventually becoming teachers or working in an educational environment. It is awarded on the basis of financial need to a junior, senior, or graduate student who is teaching or preparing to teach a foreign language at any level in the American school system.

Former Simpson awardee, Victoria Basile, was able to meet the Simpson relatives at the luncheon.  Basile studied abroad in spring 2011 in Caceres, Spain, with the help of the Simpson Award. Basile, a Spanish major at UNCG with a K-12 licensure, plans to obtain a second degree in International and Global Studies. Basile shared stories of her experience abroad with the Simpson relatives and enjoyed letting them know how the award contributed to her ability to travel and take part in a range of cultural activities.

Previous editions:
- Vol 11, ed 3: November 2011
- Vol 11, ed 2: October 2011
- Vol 11, ed 1: September 2011

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