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MUDEC Méinden Fall 2019 #5
MUDEC Méinden Fall 2019 #5
Miami UniversityJohn E. Dolibois European Center logo
MUDEC Méinden-Weekly news from the MUDEC community for the MUDEC community-#lifelongMUDEC

Fall 2019 #5 | September 23, 2019

A Note from Dean Thierry Leterre: 
A homecoming with old friends and new ideas
Miami’s campus in Oxford has become a second home to me, a home that I see transformed at each visit. Last week, as I was walking in a blazing 34°C temperature (that would be 94°F in the US.) I noted that parking rules had changed again. Except for the fact that it meant longer, and hence healthier albeit sweatier, walks for me, I had no definite opinion about the change. But I saw with delight many bike parking racks: I remember that, years ago, I made the remark to the leadership of the university that using bicycles was not, back then, encouraged. Due to the lack of parking spots, it meant mostly a fancy way to be issued a ticket.

Still, I realized with sadness that  despite such efforts, bicycles are far less popular than the newly appeared electrical scooters. My European side remains puzzled about this US. society which is so into sport, and so not into exercising naturally.

If Miami feels home to me, it is not because of the place only, but because being in Ohio means for me: great colleagues, alumns and friends. In particular, I had the privilege to see two former directors of MUDEC (it was then MUEC) Dr. Mason, and Dr. Teckman. They are forward-thinking leaders whose work has been foundational for our European program, and who continue to inspire my work. These conversations were auspicious as most of my meetings last week revolved about the future of MUDEC. If you are curious about what is ahead of us, here are a few clues: a clearer curriculum, specialized offerings for majors, extended options for housing. We are working hard on that.

I also met with a vibrant group of alumns in Columbus with whom I shared my vision for the future of study abroad. In a world where intelligent machines will have the upper hand, education will be about human intelligence, which is about thinking and acting in a diverse and creative world. That is exactly what living abroad can, and definitively must, provide.

And friends? They are the people I have just talked about.

Dean Theirry Leterre wearing a black suit with Miami pin smiling with trees in the background
Dr. Leterre is the Dean of MUDEC
Waht's Up this week


  • Class Field Trip Recaps
  • Faculty Profile- Jeannie Ducher
  • Spoticle Independent Study- Ali Borgerding  
  • SFC Spotlight- Elizabeth Bode
  • Ryan Dye- Director of Education Abroad Coming to Luxembourg!
  • SFC Picnic- Field Trip Fire Up Recap
  • Service Learning with Professor Briot
  • We are Families- Marco Antunes
  • Travel Misadventures- Baylee Davis 
  • Travel Photos  

Class Field Trip Recaps

Europe is their classroom and this past Wednesday each sprint class traveled outside of the classroom to visit different spots around Europe. These field trips give students a chance to experience their classroom concepts in real life. Take a look at pictures of students who traveled to Saarbrücken, Cologne, and Brussels last week.

Brussels, Belgium

students exploring brussels, belgium on education class study field trip Students shown from the back as they enter atrium in Brussels, Belgium Students shown outside main building in Brussels, Belgium
Cologne, Germany 
Students of Architecture looking through an indoor library Students sketching rectangle building in middle of big cornfield
Saarbrücken, Germany
Students of art class standing in front of bright pink banner that reads "Urban Art" students of art class standing in front of industrial painting all wearing blue hard hats
Faculty Profile
Meet Jeannie Ducher
Professor Ducher is the leader of the Education and French classes here at MUDEC, and is also the mother of student Alex Wieland-Ducher! Read on to learn a little more about her.
1. Tell us a bit about yourself. Where did you go to college and what did you study? Did you study abroad and if so where?
I earned a Master's degree in literary translation (English to French) from the University of Paris VII (Jussieu) before coming to the US and the University of South Florida as an exchange student - I wanted to improve my English so as to teach it in France.
2. How did you end up working for Miami?
After teaching French for a year at USF, I decided I liked living in Florida, and I got a job teaching Spanish and French in a private school in Tampa - it was a lot simpler to get a working visa at that time. After a while I went back to school for my doctoral degree at USF, after which I applied for an opening at Miami University as the Department of Teacher Education wanted to start a TESOL program. 

3. What has been your favorite memory of MUDEC so far?
I have made plenty of great memories since I got here. What sticks out the most in my mind, besides the collegiality and the relaxed atmosphere here in MUDEC, is the fact that I never know, when I meet someone in the street, what kind of language they will speak and what culture they come from. I like the freedom of it all.

4. What do you like to do in your free time?
I like to read fiction, swing dance and take in the culture, in whatever form it comes.

5. What is a fun fact about you that most people, and especially MUDEC Méinden readers, don’t know?
I have lived longer in the United States than in France, which means that I really am no longer more from one culture than the other... 

Lost in Europe? Try Spoticle!

Ali Borgerding

Amid the hustle and bustle of a day at MUDEC, several students take on internships and independent studies either within the château walls or beyond. In Ali Borgerding’s case, she conquers both. 
Having had the ambition to study in Luxembourg since being a junior in high school, Borgerding is taking her knowledge beyond the architecture classroom and digging deeper into travel, as she takes on an internship working on implementing Spoticle at MUDEC. Spoticle is a Luxembourg-based start up app that gives trusted travel recommendations.

“I wanted this internship so that I could mix it up amidst all of my architecture classes. It’s allowed me to mark architecture and travel locations, aligning my passions for both,” Borgerding says. 

In the Spoticle app, users can seek out their favorite places while traveling and pin it in the app. Those pins are called "spots", where the company's name comes from. A spot will include precise information including pictures, a web link, directions, and a short description. Hosts can pin anything ranging from restaurants, hostels, entertainment centers, beaches, and everything in between. Users also have the capability to group different spots to create a guide or travel itinerary, adding adding additional spots as they go. Guides can be public or private and can be shared among users. MUDEC is already using guides for the Study Tours.
“Since Spoticle is a Luxembourg start up, most of the spots have been local to the Luxembourg area. However, it is our goal to expand this app and begin marking places in and around Europe. If any of you have been somewhere that you highly recommend, I encourage you all to share it with me so that I can pin it,” Borgerding adds.
The overall objective of the project with Spoticle is to create a series of spots and guides created by MUDEC students which can be shared with future students. A great way for students to pay it forward!

Borgerding’s experience in her first few weeks as a MUDEC student has proved to be amazing, but also stressful. Traveling constantly has taught her independence and perserverance. 

“As I am sure many are aware, traveling doesn't always go as one expects it to go: but you never get lost, you only find new ways to get to a destination,” Borgerding says. 

When asked what advice she would give to a prospective MUDEC student she says: “Just do it! You learn so much about yourself in a way that no other opportunities offer.”

And we have to second her on that one.

MUDEC Students: Each Spoticle recommendation will get you one LUX 335 point, and you can earn up to a maximum of 10. To send in a recommendation, fill out the Google form which can be found in the MUDEC Google Drive. 

Student Faculty Council Spotlight- Elizabeth Bode

Now that the SFC is in place, each member is excited to get started. Over the next few weeks each member of the council will be presenting their role and what they wish to accomplish with their time on SFC.
Liz Bode headshot with black background
Hi everybody! My name is Elizabeth Bode and I am the Semester Legacy Project Coordinator. My role consists of leading the yearbook design and creation as well as handling our semester t-shirt for the end of the year! I will be collecting photos, memories, stories, and so much more throughout this semester so that we can really remember our amazing time here at MUDEC. I am so looking forward to being able to help students, staff, and family members really appreciate their experiences for a lifetime.

Feel free to submit designs/ideas for the t-shirt and yearbook as the creative process has already begun and I’d love to know what YOU want! I can’t wait to make a legacy with you all!
Meet Ryan Dye 
We all know our beloved Kerry Strader, but did you know that her boss will be arriving on campus soon? Ryan Dye is the Director of Education Abroad at Miami, and will be coming to Luxembourg next week! He is very excited to see firsthand a program rich in history at Miami. Read on to learn a little more about him. 

1. Tell us a little bit about yourself. Where did you go to college and what did you study? Did you study abroad? If so, where?  
I grew up in a small town in southern Michigan. I had a pretty idyllic childhood!  I am the oldest of five kids; I have three brothers and one sister. My Dad was a football coach at a small college and my Mom taught third grade. I spent Saturday mornings in the fall on the sidelines watching my Dad coach. I went to college at the University of Notre Dame, where I studied Classics and Theology--not very practical but the books I read and the seminars I participated in gave me a lifelong appreciation for the liberal arts. My junior year, I studied abroad at Notre Dame's program in London.  It was my first time on an airplane! I lived in Kensington with 3 flatmates and went to class a block from the Ritz Hotel. My London semester inspired me to study British History, and I did so at Northwestern University. My PhD. dissertation was on Irish immigration to Britain, which afforded me the opportunity to live in Liverpool, England for a year.  

 2. How did you end up working at Miami and how did that lead you to becoming Director of Education Abroad?
After earning my PhD at Northwestern, I was hired to teach European History at St. Ambrose University in Davenport, IA. After seven years as a History professor, I was asked to become the Director of International Education there, and during my 12 years as Director I traveled to over 20 countries. After 19 years at St. Ambrose, I decided it was time for a new challenge and was hired in February 2019 to become Miami's Director of Education Abroad.

3. I know that you are going to be in Luxembourg. What are you most excited about and what has it been like for you to coordinate such a program with rich history? 
I've heard so many wonderful things about Luxembourg and about MUDEC from my colleagues, students, and alumni. I also read John Dolobois's fascinating memoir, Pattern of Circles. I'm most excited to see some of the places I've heard and read about, especially the chateau. MUDEC has such a rich history; and it is with great pride, excitement and humility I join a long list of people who have done their part to support MUDEC.

4. What do you like to do when you aren't on the job?  
Growing up in a football family, I remain a gym rat.  You can find me at the Rec most mornings by 6:30am. I also really enjoying walking, hiking, biking and watching my beloved Liverpool FC.

5. What is a fun fact about you that most people, especially MUDEC Mienden readers, don't know? 
I never drank coffee until I became Director of International Education at St. Ambrose and took a trip to Zagreb, Croatia. Croatians love to spend hours at cafes drinking strong coffee. When my host learned that I was not a coffee drinker, she was appalled and became determined to train me into a coffee drinker. She took me to a cafe in Zagreb and served me increasingly stronger cups of coffee for hours. By the end of the afternoon, I was a devoted coffee drinker, and I remain one to this day! 
fire with students making smores in the background
Field Trip Fire Up 
The students of MUDEC had an amazing evening this past Tuesday while making s’mores and playing sports throughout the night! As the weather began to turn into Fall, everybody needed a little taste of home and this event was a perfect fix with a fun, new twist. The ingredients for the s’mores were authentically Luxembourgish, as we used European chocolate, “Chamallows” marshmallows (pink and white), and a saltier graham cracker. Students got a great combination of “home” and “here” with this event all while eating some amazing food!
Students in a huddle playing football in the backyard of the Chateau
Students Engage with their Communities
Through Service Learning
Professor Philippe Briot

To continue a long treasured tradition at MUDEC, Service Learning makes its 5th annual appearance led by Professor Briot. Service learning provides students with a broader and deeper understanding of course content in SOC 337, fosters their sense of civic engagement,and sharpens their insights into themselves and their place in the community. The concept is a simple one: students provide service to their community and the community provides an educational experience for the student. Below are some words from Professor Phillipe Briot.
Hello everyone! My name is Phillipe Briot, and I am a french and sociology professor here at MUDEC. We originally started service learning because we felt that students should be more involved in the community and that it would be a great addition to students’ European experience. We know that students have connections with their host families, but not so much with the greater community, unless they have outside internships.
This program has been running for 5 years now with nearly 40-60 students that volunteer. They claim that they learn more from the experience than just sitting in class. Service learning is a main component of our sociology classes, but is also offered as a credit for students not enrolled in class. We connect topics from the sociology classes with experience in the field such as multiculturalism, and different educational systems. In one of our volunteer activities, students travel to a theraputic horse farm where they connect with others dealing with mental illnesses. Students get the opportunity to learn from others’ experiences. It will open your eyes to the culture of Luxembourg, and I believe that volunteering is the only way for students to experience the culture through the lens of actual citizens.
The volunteer programs that are offered through service learning include places such as:
  • 7 Maison Relais (day care centers)
  • Service de la Formation des adultes (The Ministry of Education in Luxembourg City)
  • Epicerie sociale (a social food pantry in Esch-sur-Alzette)
  • Mutferter Haff, the Theraputic Farm Mutfort (a horse farm that employs people with pyschiatric disorders in order to support them in their efforts to integrate into society
  • Differdange International School

    To learn more about other MUDEC student engagement initiatives visit our website!

Student Engagement
Service Learning is fun learning! Check out this throwback video of students from last spring volunteering at the horse farm: 
Students singing Old Town Road at the horse farm
We Are Families- Marco Antunes
To continue in our series of interviews with MUDEC host famlies, meet Marco Antunes.
Marco Antunes with three women and a small boy all posing for a selfie
1. When did you first start hosting MUDEC students and what got you interested in doing so?
We started this adventure in January 2019. One of our neighbors told us she had been doing this for 30 years. We were seduced by the concept, the exchange of culture and ideas, and it was a way to discover new places. It was also, for us, an opportunity for our son to open the door to a different world, a different way of life.

2. What are your favorite memories of hosting MUDEC students?
Oh the memories we have are full! We laughed so much on our first meeting with Crici. and students and their friends who came in the evening to barbecue at home, The meals were a mixture of the two continents and the discussions ended very late at night. We believe that if the two parties (host family and student) are really willing to link one can live really great moments!

3. What are the challenges that come with hosting students?
Well, I had to learn to let go. I like everything to be neat, clean, and in its place. I had to learn to live with students, or to live like students, and to laugh. There are not necessarily big challenges to overcome, and I found things are done very naturally.
4. What advice would you give to a family thinking about hosting students?
I would recommend the MUDEC council would be present to create a real exchange with the student, to keep him more comfortable. But be available and there when they need it. We had a lot of friends of our students telling us that throughout their return, they had only once seen their host family. We find it sad and unfortunate because the exchange loses some of its meaning.

5. What would you tell to a prospective student MUDEC who does not know whether they want to do study abroad with a host family in a program rather than one that has apartments or dormitories for students?
We believe that being with a host family helps the student get to know Europe, at least Luxembourg, and its people and their way of life. It is an exchange that is rewarding and creates beautiful links (our first student Clare comes to our marriage, for example). And it allows for advice on where to go out, eat, and cities to visit. The downside of the apartments is that they are more isolated from the culture and then you do not discover things as a student who is guided by the locals!

Travel Misadventures
Baylee Davis

A sure-fire way to ruin a weekend trip to Strasbourg:
Stop, drop and roll. This is a simple set of instructions that have been drilled into the heads of most adults since elementary school. But when the time comes to actually consider what to do during a fire, what happens when the mind goes blank? 

During the first weekend of traveling, some friends and I went to Strasbourg, France after the Trier discovery tour with the wholesome idea of exploring a city with flavors of both Germany and France. We aimed to eat some exquisite food, drink wine straight from the Alsace wine region and obviously take some cute photos--which we did. 

Until Saturday night when we got back to the Airbnb after a long, balmy day in the city and briefly fell asleep just to be woken up by the electricity going out at approximately 12:30a.m. Jordan opened the window to allow some fresh air but all that came billowing in instead was black tar smoke. She woke me up in a panic screaming for me to get out of bed and get out of the building as fast as possible, “there’s a fire!” 

Quickly we packed some of our stuff up, two people from the group had already gone outside and now it was just Evan trying to get my stubborn self to leave. Eventually we make it to the hallway--keep in mind, we were on the sixth floor of a building with a winding wooden staircase and one exit--and find ourselves engulfed by thick smoke. I cannot even begin to stress how difficult it was getting down those stairs. We had to use one of our hands to feel along the wall while the other was covering our noses and mouths and just push through the light-headedness and fear until we made it out the exit. 

The scene outside wasn’t much easier--crowds of people watching, police officers and firemen trying to understand the situation, my distraught group huddled on the sidewalk in pajamas and one single baker who saved the day a myriad of times. He gave Elizabeth his shoes so she could walk around, he opened up his bakery at 1:30a.m. when it started raining and provided everyone water, he gave a random man the shirt off his back and he took a bucket and some water and started attempting to put the fire out himself.

At the end of the day, the experience was entirely traumatic. But it is always nice to be reminded that there are still selfless people in this world and the baker is a phenomenal example.
Baylee Davis and friends in Strasbourg Fire in laundry room with soot

Independent Travel Photos 

Take a look at where our students journeyed to this weekend!

Octoberfest in Munich, Germany 

Four girls in dirndls at Octoberfest image of building with red flowers lining the windowsills in Munich, Germany Alec hoelker and Julia Arwine in traditional dress posing for a photo at Octoberfest
Three girls in dirndls at Octoberfest in Munich, Germany Girl in traditional German hat at October fest

Brugge, Belgium 

Shot of buildings in main square of Brugge, Belgium Alli Brooks posing next to buildings in cobblestone street in Brugge, Belgium Main Square of Brugge Belgium

Hiking in Luxembourg: Mullerthal Trail 

Mullerthal Trail waterfalls Girls posing atop a mountain with landscape in the background
Odds and Ends

~Birthdays This Week~ 

Wishing a very Happy Birthday to:
Hannah Straub wearing white dress standing on a cliff overlooking the oceans of Portugal
Hannah Straub- Sept 27th
Ellie Winebrunner posing in front of a coffee shop in Trier, Germany wearing a cheetah print skirt
Ellie Winebrunner- Sept 29th
We wish you the best birthday yet! Cheers to another wonderful year! 
This Week's Schedule

Monday: Classes

Tuesday: Classes

SFC Euchre Tournament at 19:00!
Wednesday: Classes
Thursday: Classes

Friday: No Classes

ARC 404 class trip to Amsterdam!
Staff Absences: Assistant Dean Manes (Friday)
Château & Administrative Hours

Château Hours

Monday-Thursday: 8:00-22:00 Friday: 8:00-17:00                Saturday- Sunday: Closed

Administrative Hours

Monday-Friday: 8:00-12:00 and 13:00-17:00

MUDEC Méinden Audience Participation-Tell YOUR Story!

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MUDEC Méinden is the newsletter by the MUDEC Community for the MUDEC Community. You can update your profile, or subscribe directly if you are not currently subscribed, at MUDEC Méinden subscriptions.
If you ever miss an issue of the MUDEC Méinden, you can always find previous issues on the MUDEC Méinden web archive.
Audience participation is what makes this newsletter special, so if you would like to contribute an article or have any other ideas or suggestions, please write to us at 
Recurring columns where we are looking for contributions, or where we will be looking for contributions once we start, are:
1. We Are Families (Host Family interviews)
2. Travel Misadventures (MUDEC students and alumni sharing their travel mishaps) 
3. MUDEC Changed My Life (Alumni stories about what MUDEC did for them)
4. Mir Wëlle Bleiwen Wou Mir Sin (Luxembourgers who studied in Oxford and never came back from the US)
5. MUDEC Mergers (do I need to explain?)
6. MUDEC Alumni Newsletter Takeovers (a MUDEC class takes over an entire edition of the newsletter and makes it their own!)
7. It's a Small World After All (random MUDEC or Miami encounters from your time at MUDEC)
Don't be shy, we want to hear from you!

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