Daily Archives: September 8, 2015

UWF students explore China

1.Opening ceremony

Photo courtesy of UWF website

Iqueena Hollis

Staff Writer

Twelve UWF students visited China this summer for the first time in UWF history through a program funded by the Confucius Institute Headquarters in Beijing, China. Students were afforded the opportunity to explore and go sightseeing in Beijing, Chongqing, Chengdu and Shanghai, and attend Chinese language classes at Sichuan International Studies University (SISU) in Chongqing.

All travel, boarding, meals, cultural trip expenses, classes and textbooks were covered by the scholarship from the Confucius Institute. Students were only responsible for round-trip airfare.

On May 12, the students departed from the states and arrived the next day in Beijing, where they were escorted to their lodging at the China University of Geosciences International Hotel.

While in Beijing, students were accompanied by a guide who escorted them to the site of the 2008 Summer Olympics, the Confucius Institute, Tiananmen Square and the Forbidden City.

During their last day in Beijing, students traveled to see the Summer Palace and the Great Wall. After three days in Beijing, students flew to Chongqing and spent 10 days there, making it the largest part of their two-week trip. While in Chongqing, students took Chinese language classes at SISU and visited historic sites, cities and museums such as Hongyadong, Ciqikou, and the ancient Buddhist rock carvings in Dazu.

“One of the most memorable parts of my experience in Chongqing was the culture shock,” Matthew Todd said, a senior majoring in International Studies. “Not just in the way they do things, but also because of their beliefs.”

For instance, at SISU, Todd says many of the students’ classmates were from different countries that look down on homosexuality, and in some cases it is illegal and punishable by death in their country.

“I felt like I was stepping back into the closet and hiding my sexual orientation after finally revealing myself to my friends and family at home,” Todd said. “I didn’t want my classmates to ignore me or outcast me while I was alone in a different country, so when they asked me questions like where my girlfriend was, I just played it off or changed the subject. That experience has made me happy to say I am from a country that is so accepting of people of different sexual orientations.”

During their stay in China, students also took the HSK, a Chinese language assessment test. All participants passed and received certification in the Chinese language.

“It’s a great resume builder because it puts them a step above all other applicants for any job they may apply for,” Roslyn Brown said, administrator for the Confucius Institute on campus. “It is also very helpful to the students in their careers because most of them that went on the trip are International Studies majors.”

Before departing from Chongqing, students boarded a bullet train to the city of Chengdu where they spent the night. While there, students had the opportunity to visit the Chengdu Panda Base, the world’s largest housing of pandas, before returning to Chongqing.

Back in Chongqing, students took a short flight to their final destination: Shanghai. Here, students were able to explore more of the modern side of China as well as more historical sites such as the Oriental Pearl TV Tower, the Bund area and Shanghai People’s Square Museum.

In order to qualify for this opportunity abroad, students must take and pass at least one semester of a Chinese language class at UWF. A maximum of 20 students may participate in this trip each summer.

CHI 1100 (Chinese I) is offered every semester from 4 – 5:45 p.m. Tuesdays and Thursdays, and 11 – 11:50 a.m. Monday, Wednesday and Friday. CHI 1101 (Chinese II) is offered every semester from noon to 12:50 p.m. Monday, Wednesday and Friday.

“I want students to know about this program because so many of them choose to take Spanish or French, and then they get to travel to those countries but they have to pay thousands of dollars to go,” director of the Confucius Institute Dr. Kuiyuan Li said. “If they take Chinese language, not only will it give them leverage in an applicant pool for a job, but they get to explore another country almost completely for free.”

For more information on scholarship opportunities and/or classes please contact Dr. Li at (850) 474-2287 or kli@uwf.edu.

The Irish experience: studying abroad

Lackagh Bridge, Ireland Photo courtesy of Kerry Sandell

Lackagh Bridge, Ireland
Photo courtesy of Kerry Sandell

Emily Doyle

Staff Writer

This summer, University of West Florida theatre, art and music students took a life-changing study abroad adventure to Dublin, Ireland, where they expanded their minds and delved into the world of the arts.

They embarked on their near month long experience May 28 and returned June 21 with a whole new life perspective. Senior theatre major Josh Thomas said, “I can’t describe how amazing Ireland was for me. I can’t explain how it changed me. But as a student, and an actor, the time I spent in Ireland changed my life forever, and I’m so glad I took the risk and went on that adventure.

“I met some wonderful people, and learned so much from them.” he said. “The experience is invaluable and is a treasure that I won’t ever forget, and I’m so grateful to have been a part of that.”

UWF has rich and thriving study abroad programs for students of all majors. With the theatre students participating in the “Irish Experience: Emerald Coast Meets the Emerald Isle,” they were able to experience learning opportunities unmatched in this area.

The students’ headquarters while in Ireland was at the oldest Catholic college in the country, Carlow College. It was here that they began their daily journey to explore more about the country and their own personal artistic identity.

Music professor Howard Reddy, who joined the students on the trip, said, “The experience also included a dynamic and engaging touring itinerary throughout Ireland providing primary research for ‘Friel’s Dancing at Lughnasa’ (a play set in Ireland in 1936) for the theater students, and invaluable opportunities to create for the art students.”

Senior theatre major Christopher Warren said he learned about the opportunity through friends and his department head Charles Houghton, who gave him the information he needed to know about audition times and additional information about the trip.

“I think this trip would be majorly beneficial for other students.” Warren said, “This trip was one I will never forget, it was challenging but also very rewarding. I learned a lot more than just about my craft in musical theatre; I learned about myself as a person and a member of the human race.”

For students who wish to travel abroad, but feel this goal is financially out of the question, scholarships are available.

If you are interested in getting a small taste of what these students experienced while abroad, you can come support the Art Department in their Gallery Show, Sept. 8-12 in TAG, the Art Gallery in the Center for Fine and Performing Arts. The opening reception is from 5-7 p.m. Sept. 11, and “Dancing at Lughnasa” will be in the Mainstage Theatre at 7:30 p.m. For more information and updates about the show visit the departments Facebook page. The tickets are free for students with a UWF ID.

Uber drives toward UWF

Tristan Lawson

Staff Writer

You’ve probably heard the name Uber has been has had its name-dropped in many popular songs, television shows and movies within the last few years.

Uber is hot out of the gate on the New York Stock Exchange, and the name has been in newspapers in cities all across America with good and bad publicity – even right here in Pensacola.

Uber is a technology company that created an application for smartphones, which lets you tap into its network of rides for hire in an instant. Essentially, get a ride anywhere you want to go within minutes.

Since its creation in 2009, the company has revolutionized how we see the future of public transportation. Jobs like the ones Uber provides aim to put extra money in your pocket and hope to appeal to those with a few hours to spare a day and a car to put on the road.

How does Uber impact the life of students at UWF, and why they are choosing Uber over public transportation and traditional taxi services?

“It’s better than taxi’s. It’s cheaper, and generally the people that drive tend to be more optimistic and friendly,” said Zachary Whiteford, a sophomore studying anthropology.“It definitely makes it easier to get from downtown to here (campus).”

Being new to town and not knowing your way around, limited parking, a night out with no DD (designated driver) or just not having a ride of your own might all be reasons you might need a taxi… but what makes people choose Uber instead? The answer seems to be the convenience and ease of use that the app provides.

Brook Teracka, a freshman studying athletic training, has used Uber on Pensacola Beach. She needed a ride one day and tried it out. “It could make things safer for people who are out drinking,” she said, saying that it is “the perfect DD”.

UWF is not the only university in America experiencing the transportation revolution on campus. “From a college student’s perspective, Uber Technologies may have become the most important app I will ever use,” (Why Uber Has Changed College Campuses, Jennifer Prushan, 2015) says Jennifer Prushan in her story about how Uber has benefits for the lifestyle of college students.

Tanner Bowen, a junior studying exercise science, had never used Uber before, but knew exactly what it was and how it worked. “Parking is usually packed all the time. For people who live a little bit off campus they could probably use Uber to get here and get in and out faster,” she said.

And while the cost might not balance out right now, it is a growing trend.

“Growth also comes at a time when millennials are increasingly ditching the idea of owning a car.” According to Nenad Tadic, in her piece “Uber Lyft” (Car services targeting universitie’s.).” In more urban environments, many college students are opting for choices like such as taking public transportation, riding a bike or using services like Uber rather than dealing with the complications and expenses involved with owning a car.

At the moment, however, in Pensacola and at UWF, we have a ways to go before the campus is an Uber hot spot. Chip Chism, the head of Parking and Transportation Services on UWF had this to say about Uber: “If they didn’t have cars, didn’t want to use mass transit and didn’t have a friend (with a car) and needed a way to get somewhere, I can see that need.”

But Chism said he didn’t think Uber would alleviate the parking issues on campus. “I wouldn’t see how it would, unless they are going to call Uber and have them drop them off on campus. However, if that were the case, we would encourage them to use the three bus stops on campus, and it stops 13 times a day.”

“I had a friend whose car broke down on campus in the middle of the night and I had to come get them, but if they knew Uber existed they could use it at that point,” said Megan Marx, a junior of in legal studies. When asked what other reasons people might want to use Uber, she replied, “The safety of students. Say you’re on campus and you walk home because it’s past the time for the trolley, you can call an Uber and get home instead of walking home in the middle of the night on a city street or waiting for a city bus.”

A another issue with traditional taxis is the cost. Steven Pearce, a sophomore of fine arts, has never used Uber but has used traditional taxis. “Twice from my house to glow-rage on the beach it was expensive, about 60 bucks round trip.”

Often times Uber uses what it calls “surge-pricing” when you travel into highly congested areas, while taxis are technically not allowed to do this as it is considered price-gouging. So the argument that Uber is cheaper than taxis is still up for debate.

But with cost set aside, the majority of Students students agree that it is nice to have the option. And there was not a single person interviewed who did not know what Uber is… so if that tells you anything it is in the consciousness of the modern college student and only time will tell if it has the impact on our campus that it is having on the rest of the world.