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Future social studies teacher getting to know globe personally
Monday, December 11, 2006

Asia is next on the list for
Catherine Riedesel's global plans.

Catherine Riedesel of Ripley, N.Y. has received a Benjamin A. Gilman International Scholarship in the amount of $5,000 to support her semester abroad studying at the College Consortium for International Studies in Bangalore, India.

Currently a junior at SUNY Fredonia, where she is majoring in social studies education, Ms. Reidesel’s plans for the spring semester are helping to fulfill a personal goal she has to visit every continent on the globe. She has already been to North and South America, Europe, and Africa.

The Gilman Scholarships are a program of the Institute for International Education, a non-profit organization partnering with U.S. and foreign government sponsors. The U.S. Department of State sponsors the Gilman Scholarships.

While abroad, Ms. Riedesel will be taking classes that deal mostly with the cultural aspects of India, such as Hindu Mythology, the religions of India, and Indian literature. She will also travel in-country, live with a host family, and do some volunteer work. Bangalore is located in the heart of the Indian “Silicon Valley,” and is the fifth largest city in India.

In applying for the scholarship, Ms. Riedesel said her plans were to ultimately use her knowledge in the classroom, after she has started her career as a social studies teacher. But more immediately, she intends to plan Indian cultural events at the summer camp where she works.

“My proposals were all quite simple with one idea being to use clothing I may bring back from India for costumes. Along with costumes always come questions, and I know my campers can be a very attentive audience,” she said.

“I also proposed doing an India themed program when I return to SUNY Fredonia in the Fall as a Resident Assistant in my dorm. I would include Indian music, food, traditional dress, and photo collages, and talk about some fun Indian facts such as gestures and phrases that have different meanings than they do in the U.S.”

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