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Mount Union Students Attend the Ohio Foreign Language Association Conference

August 10, 2006

Ashley Cowoski, Rahmaiah Dysle and Elaine Sustersic were awarded the University Pre-Service Teacher Scholarship to attend the annual conference of the Ohio Foreign Language Association from March 30-April 1, in Toledo, Ohio.

Pictured (L-R) are Ashley Cowoski, Rahmaiah Dysle and Elaine Sustersic.

The conference was held in the Toledo Seagate Convention Center. 'It was comprised of workshops that were three hours long. There were also one hour sessions that were free,' said junior, Elaine Sustersic, a Spanish major with minors in education and international studies.

Sustersic attended two workshops. One was how to take study abroad into the classroom, which Cowoski also attended. 'There are different ways you can incorporate your study abroad experience into the classroom. You can have a virtual trip to class, postcards, a simulation of a market day or simulation of an airplane trip. You can also exchange money,' said Sustersic on things she learned at the workshop.

Sustersic also went to the Dana Corporation in Toledo for her other workshop. 'It was a look into the Hispanic automobile industry. I learned about the history of the company and took a tour. It was really nice to hear the speakers,' said Sustercic.

Ashley Cowoski, a junior Spanish major and education minor, attended a workshop that showed different teaching techniques. 'It was a good opportunity to interact with people in the teaching field,' said Cowoski.

All three attended the awards lunch on Saturday where scholarship money and awards were presented.

'There were also exhibits set up with tour companies and text book companies that we could all look at,' said Sustersic. 'I enjoyed learning from the other teachers.

'It was a nice experience to get to see what the conference was about before I start teaching,' said Rahmaiah Dysle, a senior Spanish major and multiage education minor. 'I learned a lot. I received a ton of great ideas, a few I have used already in my student teaching experience. I also have a lot of simulation and object ideas that I would like to make over the summer for my first teaching job.'

'The conference was great because you learned that there are a lot of things you can do. There were a lot of people there that cared about foreign language as much as I do, which was really encouraging,' said Cowoski.

Cowoski wants to be a middle school Spanish teacher. 'There are more games you can play with children in middle school, and it is easer to learn a foreign language at a younger age,' said Cowoski.

Cowoski has been learning Spanish since she was in the eighth grade. She recently went to Costa Rica. 'It was amazing. It was life changing. At first I was really scared to go. The family I was with didn't speak any English. I went in the summer so it was different to go to school all year round. The family life was different than what I am used to. The night life was different too. I went to school with American students, so that made it easier,' said Cowoski.

Dysle studied abroad in Costa Rica. 'I was very homesick but learned to like it and ended up being very sad to leave. The greatest difference was the transportation. A car was a great luxury. I walked almost everywhere or at least to the bus stop' said Dysle.

'It was one of the scariest things I have ever done; however, it was so rewarding that I do not regret a minue of it. I would recommend it to anyone. It also gave me a great appreciation for culture and diversity,' said Dysle.

Dysle's advice to anyone thinking about studying abroad is, 'Take the opportunity to travel or study abroad if it is available. It's a great chance and adjustment but worth the time, money and changes.'

After graduation, Dysle plans on getting a job teaching Spanish, most likely at the high school level.

Sustersic also wants to be a Spanish teacher. 'I'm studying to teach kindergarten through twelfth grade, so I don't know what grade I will teach. Usually foreign language isn't taught in earlier grades, so I will probably teach high school,' said Sustersic.

This past fall she went to Allcante, Spain. 'I really enjoyed it. I was on the beach. It is a smaller city, not as big as Madrid. The University is beautiful. There are a lot of students there, more than at Mount Union. It is also more spread out, so I had to take the bus to class,' Sustersic said.

'The family I was staying with had an American girl, so that was nice,' said Sustersic.

'I wanted to travel Spain first before I went anywhere else,' she said. I traveled all over Spain. Each region is different and has a different dialect,'

Sustersic has an internship working in the Washington Center in Washington D.C. She hopes to be in the Embassy.

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