TAMIU Students Travel to Poland for Spring Break

TAMIU Students Travel
to Poland for Spring Break

At Spring Break, most University students seek out beach destinations, sunshine and relaxation. A group of Texas A&M International University students is instead undertaking a historic study tour of Poland as part of “Reading the Globe: the TAMIU Freshman Experience,” a campus-wide reading initiative.

The 15 students competed for the first-ever travel opportunity by submitting personal essays on this year’s selected text, Gerda Weissmann Klein’s “All But My Life.” Klein’s book is a memoir of a young Jewish girl’s Nazi enslavement in Poland and her ultimate liberation by American soldiers.

A faculty committee chose the top essays, with selected students awarded a paid trip to Poland to visit the setting of Klein’s book, including concentration camps and other places of historical and cultural interest.

TAMIU students participating include Sonia Alvarado, María Andrade, Andrea Bowles, Marco Buentello, Andrew Carranco, Diana Grace, Alexis Hurtado, Charlotte Jackson, José Lara, Anuron Mandal, Maritza Morris, Kaylene Rojas, Mónika Sánchez, Blanca I. Taboada and Victoria Villalobos.
Conchita Hickey, TAMIU executive director of the sponsoring University’s Programs for Academic Support and Enrichment (PASE), said “Reading the Globe” is a prototype of what will be an annual offering each Fall at the University.

“This is an exciting first installment and we are greatly encouraged by student, faculty and staff response to this program. This student trip is a remarkable opportunity for our students, and a number have never traveled beyond our region. When they return, they will become our program ambassadors and share their experiences with classmates and our community,” Hickey explained.

While on their trip, the students are contributing to an online diary on the University’s Web site that posts their impressions. The online diary is available on the University’s Web site, tamiu.edu.

In preparation for the trip, students conducted research on Poland and attended a special guest lecture by Danuta U. Gazdyszyn, Laredo Community College professor of dance, who is originally from Poland.

Funding support for the students’ travel was coordinated by the University’s Office for Institutional Advancement and has been underwritten by donors, including the Guadalupe and Lilia Martínez Foundation.

Klein visited Laredo and TAMIU in September, lecturing to a capacity crowd in the Center for the Fine and Performing Arts Recital Hall.

Her book was the basis for the Emmy-winning Holocaust documentary, “One Survivor Remembers.” Klein has appeared on "The Oprah Winfrey Show," "CBS Sunday Morning" and was featured on "60 Minutes" and "Nightline."

For additional information on “Reading the Globe: the TAMIU Freshman Experience,” please contact the University’s PASE offices at 3262134, visit offices in Dr. Billy F. Cowart Hall, room 206A or e-mail chickey@tamiu.edu

Journalists who need additional information or help with media requests and interviews should contact the Office of Public Relations, Marketing and Information Services at prmis@tamiu.edu