Participant Expectations
As part of this Group Project Abroad, you are required to:
  • Participate in pre-trip orientation program (these modules)
  • Participate in all in-country activities (language program, site visits, reflection/curriculum meetings, and other activities)
  • Complete a curriculum project for teaching about the UN MDGs based on in-country experiences
  • Participate in all post-trip activities (fall semester-long online support course)
  • Give one presentation (professional development, conference presentation)

Important Travel Information
  • Packing List

  • Group Contact Information

  • Health Insurance
Each participant will be enrolled in a short-term health and accident insurance plan while abroad (through HTH Worldwide) and processed by Michigan State University’s Office of Risk Management and Insurance. For explanation of HTH Worldwide coverage, please refer to “Insurance Pamphlet Summary." See below.

As the program is finalized, we will include information on this page. Check back before our departure dates.

Curriculum Projects
The goal of the curriculum projects is to provide materials for teachers (in the U.S. or abroad) to teach about the UN Millennium Development Goals. As such, it will consist of both content knowledge materials and pedagogical resources and strategies along with adaptation/modification guidelines to expand its use across content areas and grade levels. The specific project is up to you - whether it looks like a content unit, a collection of lesson plans, a website, learning modules, etc - as long as the basic goals (content, pedagogy, adaptations) are present. More information on these projects will be provided in-country.

There will be two tasks for this module.

1. Team Building Activity - "Six degrees of separation"
Six degrees of separation is the theory that everyone and everything is six or fewer steps away, by way of introduction, from any other person in the world, so that a chain of "a friend of a friend" statements can be made to connect any two people in a maximum of six steps. It was originally set out by Frigyes Karinthyand popularized by a play written by John Guare. Six degrees of separation
external image 250px-Six_degrees_of_separation.svg.png

Instructions: How many degrees of separation are between us? Look through everyone's profiles on the wiki (see the links under Participantes in the navigation bar to the right) and find connections to six (or more participants). We started to do this in our face-to-face meeting, but the technological difficulties hindered our activity a little. Take this opportunity to read other people's profiles. List your connections below.

Gerardo (ps. I cheated a little because I know things about you that you may not have included in your profiles :)
- Ashley and I have both lived in Peru (though I'm super jealous she went to Machu Picchu and I haven't yet!)
- Lauren's methods instructor is my very good friend and colleague Justin Detmers
- My great-grandmother's last name is Muñiz, like Jamie's
- In the fall, I will be attending the National Council for the Social Studies conference in St. Louis, MO, where Maureen works.
- Edgar and I will both be in China at the same time in the next couple of weeks
- Amy and I both go to the same church - All Saints Episcopal in East Lansing.

Amy Kilbridge
1) Gerardo will be in St. Louis where Maureen works in the fall for a conference and so will I. I'm going to the USBBY (United States Board on Books for Youth) conference
2) Lauren grew up in Deerfield, Illinois and I met my husband at a wedding in Deerfield, Illinois
3) Ashley's favorite authors are Barbara Kingsolver and Isabel Allende and they are both favorites of mine.
4) Danielle made plans to go to Kenya that got cancelled because of violence there. I was also making plans to go to Kenya before the violence broke out.
5) Sharon worked in the Development Alumni office at Woodstock School and I worked in the Development Alumni office at DePaul University in Chicago.
6) Heidi grew up on a dairy farm and my Mom grew up on a beef cattle farm where I still visit regularly.

Heidi Korth
1. Danielle is from Green Bay and I went to St. Norbert College and lived in De Pere, just south of Green Bay.
2. Amy and I both like gardening.
3. Bridget, Ana and I studied in Spain.
4. Maureen coaches cross country. I coached cross country for 2 years.
5. Ashley and I both have part-time jobs.
6. Kalee loves Jason Mraz and I saw him perform in New York City.

- Edgar grew up on the US – Mexico border and my mother grew up in McAllen, TX, right on the border.
- Heidi has spent time on the US-Mexico border studying border issues and I have taken student study groups to the border five times in the past seven years
- Ashley manages the money and maps in her marriage, as do I! She also loves Barbara Kingsolver, one of my favorite authors.
- Bridget went to Grand Valley and I have a good friend who teaches anthropology at Grand Valley
- Gerardo’s parents were missionaries. Mine were Presbyterian missionaries in the Middle East (Iran and Lebanon)
- Amy has grown kids. Mine are 18 and 24, and it is a whole new sweet stage of life.

1. Sharon Seto and I both are International Baccalaureate teachers.
2. Amy Kilbridge and I share Michigan as a place of residence past (Amy) and present (me).
3. Similarly to Ashley Warren, my school’s program requires language teachers to use the target language 90% of the time (in and out of the classroom). We have taken that a step further and any teacher, who has Spanish-speaking experiences or would like to learn more, use Spanish, too. Actually, our students have been superb advocates for the use of Spanish. Our physical education teacher is learning Spanish because students insist on using it in every way possible during her classes. Thankfully, she is a risk-taker and loves learning, so she is open to this challenge.
4. Heidi Korth and I have both studied in Spain and spent time in Mexico.
5. Also, Kalee Crist and Ana Perin are both compañeras of Spain study experiences. And I am so looking forward to spending time with all of you “Spain” people. In my circles of friends, no one has Spanish-language experiences from Spain, and often tease me about some of my vocabulary.
6. As with Amy and Sharon, I too have grown children but I 'm not sure I want to tell everyone how old they are. (Ask me later.) And yes, it is a marvelous stage of life.
7. Sharon and I also have "Presbyterian" connections in common: I spent ten years, first as a secretary then as an office manager, in a Presbyterian church (not the best years of my life, but I did learn a lot about people).

Ashley ;)

1. Gerardo and I lived in Peru (I lived on the border of Magdalena del Mar and San Isidrio), and I have traveled around Belize, where he lived previously. I also briefly visited Puerto Rico (Old San Juan) for 3 days...and Gerardo is from PR.
2. Sharon's parents were Presbyterian missionaries and Bridget worked at a Presbyterian church before teaching...and my husband Matt currently works part-time at a Presbyterian church.
3. I had a friend in college named Maureen who we all called 'Mo'...just like Maureen M! She and I have also spent time in Lima. In her travels abroad, Maureen has lived with a host family and she described her experience as amazing...and I can say the same!)
4. Heidi and I have part time jobs after school / on weekends to supplement our BIG teacher salaries =P En serio...I am really grateful to have a job...but grad school and student loans are expensive!!! Felicitaciones on your upcoming graduation, Heidi!
5. Amy listed these hobbies: "yoga, bike riding, travel, cooking, gardening, theatre, big cities, good restaurants, sitting in cafes, and learning new things." We will get along, Amy! I love to do all of those things ;-)
6. Kalee is going to be a first time Aunt! Woohoo! Felicitaciones! I LOVED becoming an aunt. I have two nephews, Trey (2) and Gabe (3 months) I will listen to all of your stories and look at all your pictures!


1. Bridget, Halee, Heidi, Edgar and I have all had study experiences in Spain. Edgar and I were actually there together!
2. Jamie spent a summer in Cuernavaca teaching a class on Sor Juana. Just this past semester, I took a class on Latin American literature, and Sor Juana was one of the authors we studied.
3. Sharon has worked at an IB diploma school since 2006. In 2007, I began attending an IB high school and graduated in 2011 with my IB diploma.
4. Our first meeting was Jamie's first time using Skype. Even though I'm 19 and should be a bit more tech-savvy, I won't have used Google Hangout until our second meeting later today!
5. Edgar and I are in the same year of the Global Educators Cohort Program at MSU and are both studying Mathematics and Spanish.
6. Hopefully like everyone else, I am super excited about this project!


1. Kalee is a first year teacher as well – yes! And loves Ben and Jerry’s Half Baked, which I just ate late night! J
2- Gerardo, Sharon, Danielle, and Lauren all have Social Studies/Geography connections and I am certified to teach Social Studies as well.
3. Jamie has worked at an orphanage in Mexico and I spent a ten months volunteering at an orphanage in Tijuana.
4. Ashley mentioned spending time in Honduras and I spent 5 months there and not liking the ‘f’ word (fluent!) Same for me - Virtual high five! (I also learned the word papanicolaou a few years ago and was recently informed that the word in Spanish is true to the last name of the guy who came up with the procedure! There’s your fun fact for the day J)
5. Heidi has two brothers and a sister just like me – she says she is close with her family, as does Amy, and I am as well!
6. Maureen said she attended her host sister’s wedding (Awesome!) and I attended a wedding of a family member of one of my students when I was volunteering in Honduras. It was the first time I ever rode in the back of a pick up truck in high heels and a dress!

Lauren Smith

  1. Anna, Edgar, and I are all in the Global Educator's Cohort.
  2. I have been to Spain like Halee and Heidi. I went back in High School for a language program and spent most of my time in the South
  3. Sharon is working at an IB school and my internship placement for next year will be in an IB school here in Lansing. I have already been observing and working with students in the school for two years and am excited to be there again.
  4. Gerardo was born in Puerto Rico and I just came back for at trip to Puerto Rico. I went with a group of friends for spring break. It was great!
  5. This is very obscure but I love Sharon's story about the gyoza, momo, and potstickers. I love all three, they are delicious and I was just as confused as you were. East Asia is my area of interest so I was aware of the tensions as well.
  6. Bridget is currently working on her graduate degree at Indiana University. My entire family is from Indianapolis and I am the first in my family on both sides not to have attended that university. This includes my younger sister who is a freshman there this year. Still, I have a special place in my heart for the cream and crimson.

Maureen "Mo"

1. Much like Danielle, Ashley and soon to be Kalee, I am a proud Aunt! I have four nephews and believe it or not, a great nephew! :) (I became an aunt at 6)
2. Like Amy, I value face-to-face interactions and family. Sounds like we have many similar interests too!
3. Jamie spent time living in Mexico during college too! (Viva Mexico!) I am also a big music fan and would also cry if I lost my iTunes ;)
4. Kalee and I both majored in Spanish and Elementary Education. I also did my student teaching in an elementary setting and then jumped to secondary education like you. I am in my fourth year teaching and can do remember my struggles as a first year teacher. It gets better! Can't wait to talk to you more!
5. Like Ashlely, I agree that I don't like to use the phrase "fluent" with students as there is always something more to learn as a non-native speakers. It helps them realize that learning is a life-long process! Among other connections, she has also been to Peru and love to travel too! Are you my long lost sister? haha
6. Like Heidi, I also teach Spanish enjoy running and watching/playing sports. I am in my second year coaching HS Cross Country :)

You all sound so interesting! Can't wait to meet you!

Danielle Demeuse

1. Heidi and I are both Brewers fans. I live in south central Wisconsin, so probably pretty close by.
2. Kalee is also from Wisconsin. I, too, am an aunt - I have one older sister and two nieces (who were in the picture with me on my page.
3. Gerardo - I am interested in pursuing my graduate work in global education.
4. Amy - I also only have a little Spanish speaking skill and am hoping that this course will expand that ability for me. I will be doing some prepping before we leave as well.
5. Edgar - I LOVE being in diverse settings. It is what has guided me toward my current position in Beloit. I couldn't image any other kind of environment for my life.

Kalee Crist
1. I am the same age as Sharon’s daughter Dorien and Ashley.
2. Although I am not certified to teach the subject like Danielle, I did take several psychology classes in college and love learning about the brain and how it works. I also have a brother-in-law who has a social studies degree but is still looking for one of those “highly-coveted” teaching positions. Keep your ears open! J We are also both from WI.
3. Like Amy, I would rather socialize with people in person than online. (However, I do have a facebook account.. J
4. Like Edgar and Maureen, I really like to dance. I took a Flamenco class like Maureen when I studied abroad in Seville, Spain-although I did not perform in any shows! J
5. If given the chance, I would be interested in teaching abroad for a little while like Anna.
6. As Gerardo stated it best, I am also really excited for the “opportunity to get to know teachers from around the US and establish connections with teachers abroad.
Can’t wait to meet all of you!

2. Curriculum project ideas
Begin thinking about your own curriculum scope and sequence and identify areas where you will be adopting the material from our projects in Costa Rica. These are preliminary ideas to help you have a starting point of what topics you will pay more attention to and how they might fit in your curriculum project. Post your ideas here: Curriculum Projects

Gerardo - In my methods course for secondary social studies pre-service teachers, I will include a unit on teaching global issues and focus it around the organizations implementing the MDGs in Costa Rica and compare/contrast these activities with other countries. As such, I will be looking closely at the comparative components of the modules and our meetings with officials in Costa Rica.

Maureen- I helped create a middle school International Club after school. We are hoping to extend the program to the high school level. The MDGs would be a great framework for the club for the high school level. We currently fundraise for Heifer International. We could use the MDGs as a springboard to discussing global issues. As for my classroom, I would like to create a unit for April, ( National Service Month) about the MDGs in Costa Rica. We host an International Festival in April and I encourage my students to volunteer and learn about other cultures. I plan to have a Costa Rica booth with all kinds of information from what I learn this summer! Can't wait!

Danielle - Before the beginning of my second year, I had the opportunity to redesign the World History curriculum with some of my colleagues to actually make it global history, rather than just Western Civ. (which is what it had been prior to my arrival, even though it was called "World History"). We really wanted to ensure that the course was survey of the different strands of social studies that allowed the students to develop an understanding of the human experience and how it plays into the world that we live in. We have made it possible to actually reach the modern times with the course and I have developed a project with another World History teacher that looks at global issues. The students are able to select a nation to do a case study on and research specific issues that are being faced there. It is obviously a little more in-depth than that, but I am hoping to bring the UN Millennium Goals into the mix somehow. Allowing the students to research the current efforts that are being made to impact current issues, by organizations like the UN, will open their eyes up to the potential for change - which is an idea I like to make them aware of. A lot of my students needs to see the possibilities of this life, in a world that can at times seem unyielding in their own personal bubble.


1. Lauren, Anna, and I are current students of Michigan State University.
2. Ashley will celebrate her anniversary via sky, June 27. The same day that I will be turning 21 years of age!
3. Like Maureen, Bridget, and Anna I too have been in Spain.......P.S I studied abroad to Spain with Anna, where I first meet her and unexpectedly we will be traveling to this trip together again.
4. Nicole mention about volunteering in an orphanage in Mexico, I volunteered in an orphanage in Puebla, Mexico as an alternative during my spring break last year.
5. Similarly to Jamie, I lived in Mexico as well. However, I lived there four years and attended school up to four grade then moved back to Palmview, Texas.
6. Like Kalee and Maureen, I love dancing. in high school, I was actually in a performance group were we used to have a show every spring and we would performe a Flamenco section.