A central part of the Institute’s mission is to provide you with experiential, hands-on learning as part of your studies.

Why the Institute: Working With and Within Communities

My name is Miranda Meyer, and I’m a dual degree international education management, and public administration student. I did my independent study in Managua, Nicaragua, and we were working on a monitoring and evaluation for the Rachel and Jackie Foundation for their teacher training program. It works to provide access quality and relevance to education for people in rural Nicaragua.

So I was able to go down in January for ten days and work with people on the ground about what the monitoring and evaluation program would look like and the whole plan. So I worked with the onsite director, I met with some teachers, I met with fellows, and fellows are locals that work in the area.

They’re not politically or religiously affiliated, so they’re able to really have the best interest of the community at heart. I was able to work on, I did surveys, I did questionnaires. We set up things like computer literacy programs for University professors in Managua to actually go out into the field and do these trainings.

And they themselves were, wow, this is a whole different Nicaragua that I have never gotten to see before. I think the thing that surprised me the most was that I was able to actually implement what I have been learning at school perfectly. The most challenging part was trusting my own intuition and going down and feeling confident about what I was saying and, in a way, feeling pressure because they knew that I was this grad student.

Where as a lot of the fellows, for example, they’ve only received a second grade education or fourth grade education. So they looked to me like, she’s wise, she has all this schooling, where in reality I was actually learning more from them because they had all this experience that I didn’t have.

I like going into the communities, working with the fellows who are the leaders there and asking what do they need? What do they want from their community? And really pulling together resources from within the community to better themselves. So I will be working with Rachel and Jackie Foundation to go back to Nicaragua in June.

To continue working with the fellows on expanding and implementing this across Nicaragua. I think this is ideal, especially for someone who is in the international education management public administration field. Because it’s a perfect combination of nonprofit work, international work, and bridging the cultural divide of the cultural gaps.

Unlike classroom-based graduate programs, our experiential learning approach allows you to apply practical skills in your field of study before you graduate. Not only do you gain professional experience, but you are exposed to relevant networking opportunities that often lead to jobs after graduation.

Find out more about some of the experiential learning and study abroad options available.

You can also view a selection of past experiential learning projects posted by students. Many of the opportunities are eligible for funding.

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