A group of six Slovenian journalism students were immersed in American culture last week.
The group, from the University of Ljubljana, spent 10 days traveling from Chicago to Peoria to Indianapolis visiting news outlets and museums along the way.
“They come to America … to have a cultural experience,” said Janice Frazier, a communications professor who helps organize the trip. “They really get to see what we do in America and compare and contrast it to what they do.”
Slovenia is a country of about 2 million people located in between Italy, Austria and Croatia. Their university is the largest in Slovenia with about 64,000 undergraduate students.
“They were totally overwhelmed on their first day in Chicago,” Frazier said. “They said they’d seen Chicago in pictures and on TV, but that they couldn’t really experience it until they were there, seeing the vibes of the city.”
While in Chicago, the students toured a few media outlets, including Chicago Public Radio, and visited the Shedd Aquarium.
“They’re after not only education, but a taste of America, what it’s like to live here,” Frazier said.
On campus, they had lunch in CampusTown, a party to welcome them and visited a journalism class.
“We find student hosts for them to stay with while they’re in Peoria,” Frazier said. “While they’re in Chicago and Indianapolis, they stay at a hostel.”
The Bradley students who participated this year were Melissa Reiss, Jamie Rasmussen, Rachel Berg, Liz Healy, Zemaria Jeanty, Brett Angelico and Meredith Nocera.
The neat thing about this program, Frazier said, is that in the past, it worked both ways. The Slovenians came to Bradley in the fall. In the spring, a group of Bradley students ventured to Slovenia for the same experience. A 2010 spring trip for Bradley students in under review.
“As we all know, the world is getting smaller and smaller,” Frazier said. “I used to live abroad, I used to take students abroad. What they learn in a week is priceless. I’m a firm believer … that you cannot learn everything within the four walls of a classroom. You must travel and see the world.”
So while the Slovenians and Bradley students spend only 10 days abroad, the experience is well worth it for more than even the educational purposes, she said.
If the trip for BU students is approved, those interested can contact Frazier at firstname.lastname@example.org or Margaret Youung at email@example.com.