This Academic Excellence Award winner, Alesa Yuodsnukis, dares you to speak some Danish! Read her interview, as well as her DIS Blog, to read just why this added to her already invaluable experience of working in a Danish school.
Name: Alesa Yuodsnukis
Home University: University of Rochester
Academic Program: Child Development & Diversity
DIS: What influenced your decision to choose your particular DIS academic program and why?
Alesa: Actually, I chose to study with DIS because of the Child Development and Diversity program. There are very few study abroad programs that allow for both an in-depth, challenging academic course load while also gaining relevant experience in the field. The program was also open enough to include students who aren’t education majors at their home universities (like myself), but also attracted learners who are truly dedicated to becoming practitioners that work with children. Between combining educational theory with practice and then collaborating with others who had vastly different backgrounds and experiences, I was really able to explore the topic of Children with Special Needs in a meaningful way.
DIS: What do you want to do in your future and after graduation? How have you been affected by your academic program in a way that changed your career path or perspective?
Alesa: After graduation I hope to participate in a teaching fellowship. I’d ultimately like to be an elementary school teacher in a high-need urban area. The classroom is where I know I’ll be consistently challenged and where I’ll have to use my academic experiences, my experiences working with children in various settings, and the pedagogical tools I’ve discovered throughout my semester at DIS every single day.
DIS: What would you recommend future students in your program do to maximize their experience?
Alesa: First, anyone entering the Child Development and Diversity program should consider taking Danish Language and Culture. Not only did it help me to discover important cultural differences that arose in my practicum site, but my most valuable interactions with the public school students occurred because I made an effort to speak their native language. Secondly, take initiative both in DIS classes and within the scope of practicum and study tours. If you have a question, ask it. If you have a brilliant idea, find a way to execute it. Ultimately, this might be a once-in-a lifetime experience, so it’s up to you to put yourself out there and get the most of it. Otherwise, keep an open mind and allow yourself to be challenged in ways you probably haven’t been before coming to DIS.