Students find benefit in studying abroad

Tiffany Brown traveled to China this summer, and hopes to expand her horizons further next year.

“In China, we climbed the Great Wall, visited the house of a master of kung-fu, took a dragon boat ride and visited four different cities,” said Brown. “The people were so friendly and treated us like celebrities.”

Brown recommends the study-abroad program to fellow students.

“It gives you a different opportunity to experience something that you can’t get from a book,” she said.halterweddingdresses “It shows you the world in a whole new light. I did not have a low point while there.”

Brown hopes to travel again.

In 2013, UDM students will have the opportunity to travel to Brazil, France, China and Italy as part of the study-abroad program.

“We are partnering with Marygrove for the France trip,” said Lara Wasner, director of Language and Cultural Training. “This is a great opportunity to work together and we hope that there are more opportunities to travel together in the future.”

The Brazil program, begun in 2005, has rotated through the College of Liberal Arts and Education, giving different faculty members an opportunity to teach, she said.

“The Italy program runs every summer through the College of Architecture,” she said. “I first visited China in 2010 and took ten students there last summer.”

Two obstacles – time and money – keep many students from participating, Wasner said.

“We want students to have an international experience at their time at the university,” she said. “Many students are not able to participate in the whole semester abroad, so the faculty-led trip is a great option, as students can learn and engage in cultural activities in the places that they are visiting.

“I do everything in my power to make this happen for students,” she added. “We have sponsorship forms, which helped one student pay for their entire trip. Financial aid can also be used. We want to make this happen for you.”

Last summer, Wasner and a group of students, faculty and alumni traveled to Cuba.

Shelly Payne was among them. She said the experience changed her life.

“In the beginning, I didn’t want to go,maggiesotteroweddingdress but my mom forced me,” said Payne. “I later learned that I have some Cuban lineage. I knew that Cuba existed, but I didn’t understand the whole essence of it. It is engrained in us not to like Cuba, but traveling there opened my eyes.

“The people are just like us so it made me wonder what the whole disagreement between our two countries was about,canadagoosecoat” she said. “The people were so friendly and I loved dancing at the Buena Vista Social Club.dropwaistweddingdress

With restrictions once again tightening regarding travel to Cuba, the program will not be running in 2013.cheapjackets

But Wasner said that she looks forward to running it again in the future.

Payne said that she plans on traveling to Brazil in 2013 and would also recommend studying abroad to anyone.

“I had no low points while in Cuba,” said Payne. “It was the experience of a lifetime. You don’t really gain a lot of knowledge if you are stuck in one place. It makes you a better person and a better teacher. If you do the trip right and go there for educational reasons and are open to opening yourself up, you will enjoy it.”

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New in theaters this weekend

An adult thriller ("Flight"), a karate epic ("The Man With the Iron Fists"), a factual drama ("The Sessions") and an animated romp ("Wreck-It Ralph") are among the titles arriving during this daylight saving time weekend.

The openings:

"The Details," with Tobey Maguire, Elizabeth Banks,learnkungfuinchina Laura Linney, Dennis Haysbert and Ray Liotta in an R-rated comedy about a family of raccoons that moves into a suburban yard and causes problems with people in the neighborhood. Jacob Aaron Estes ("Mean Creek") directed.

"Detropia," with co-directors Heidi Ewing and Rachel Grady ("Freakonomics") teaming on an unrated documentary about the city of Detroit and how it's struggling to become a manufacturing base.

"Diana Vreeland: The Eye Has to Travel," with the high priestess of fashion (1903-1998) the subject of a documentary. The PG-13 picture looks at the life of the designer, who was known as a controversial visionary with the ability to spot the strengths of photographers,canadagoosejacket publishers and personalities. Those she worked with and advised include Andy Warhol,uniformcostume Lauren Bacall and Jacqueline Kennedy. Lisa Immordino Vreeland, Bent-Jorgen Perlmutt and Frederic Tcheng co-directed.

"Flight," with Denzel Washington, John Goodman, Don Cheadle and Melissa Leo in an intense R-rated thriller about an expert pilot who prevents a passenger-filled jet from crashing and then faces criticism for possibly drinking and partying with drugs prior to takeoff. Robert Zemeckis ("Forrest Gump") directed.

"The Loneliest Planet," with Gael Garcia Bernal and Hani Furstenberg in an unrated thriller about an engaged couple who question their relationship during a long mountain trek with a guide. Julia Loktev ("Moment of Impact") directed.

"The Man With the Iron Fists," with RZA,ssuniform Russell Crowe, Lucy Liu, Rick Yune and Pam Grier in a $20 million action tale about a soldier of fortune who follows a shipment of gold to his village in feudal China. Quentin Tarantino served as a producer. Rapper-tuned-filmmaker RZA makes his directing debut with the R-rated picture,parkajackets which combines hip-hop music and kung-fu fighting.

"The Sessions," with John Hawkes, Helen Hunt, William H. Macy, Moon Bloodgood, Adam Arkin and Rhea Perlman in an R-rated drama based on the optimistic autobiographical writings of California journalist Mark O'Brien. He is confined to an iron lung and, before age 40, plans to lose his virginity with the help of a sexual surrogate. Ben Lewin ("Paperback Romance") directed.

"Simon and the Oaks," with Bill Skarsgard in an unrated Swedish drama about a boy coming of age during World War II. Lisa Ohlin ("Waiting for the Tenor") directed.

"Sister," with Gillian Anderson ("The X-Files") in a drama about a 12-year-old boy (Kacey Mottet Klein) who steals items from the rich guests at a ski resort in the Swiss Alps and uses the items to support his troubled older sibling (Lea Seydoux). Ursula Meier ("Home") directed the acclaimed unrated import.

"War of the Buttons," with Guillaume Canet in a PG-13 import set in rural occupied France during World War II and following two rival boy gangs who put aside their differences to hide a Jewish girl from the Nazis. Christophe Barratier ("Paris 36") directed.

"Wreck-It Ralph," with the voices of Sarah Silverman, John C. Reilly and Jane Lynch in a PG-rated computer-animated title that has the villainous video-game character from the 1980s trying to change his ways and become a good guy. Rich Moore made his big-screen directing debut.

"Wuthering Heights," with James Howson in a gritty unrated retelling of the Emily Bronte classic about a poor boy and a relationship with his foster sister. Andrea Arnold ("Fish Tank") directed

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The Greatest Gay Bar in Straight TV History

Until just a few years ago, there were three main ways that a gay bar could be used in a sitcom. There was mistaken identity, in which straight guys who unwittingly found themselves in a gay bar were wrongly tagged as gay (see for example “Lamont, Is That You?” a 1973 episode of Sanford and Son). Then there was the they're as boring as we are approach, as in a 1977 episode of Maude where the liberal firebrand takes her bigoted neighbor to the local gay watering hole. Finally,womensjacket you had the accidental reveal−used, for example,canadagooseparka in “Emmet's Secret,ralphlaurenhoody” a 1995 episode of Grace Under Fire, when Grace and her boyfriend accidentally wander into a gay bar, where she spots her ex-husband's father who tells her he's in love with another man. These stories focused on straight people freaking out−even Roseanne's Roseanne Connor had a meltdown when a visit to a lesbian bar ended with her locking lips with Mariel Hemingway.

These days, thank goodness, straight characters are a lot less uptight−Parks and Recreation's Leslie Knope regularly hangs out at The Bulge, Pawnee's premier homosexual attraction−but this week's episode of Raising Hope (Fox, Tuesdays at 8 p.m.) was the best representation of a gay bar I've ever seen on a “straight” TV show. The characters' curiosity about “what goes on in those places” was genuine and sweet−and their unjudgmental joy of discovery incredibly touching. (It's been a good week for mainstream television broadening its audience's horizons. Last Friday Grimm aired an episode that I called “the best mainstream acknowledgment of our multilingual nation.”)

When naive single father Jimmy Chase (Lucas Neff) is embarrassed by his need for help in understanding what his fiancee, Sabrina (Shannon Woodward), and her gay friends are talking about, he decides to go to a gay bar so he will “know what their words mean.” His father, Burt (Garret Dillahunt) admits that he, too, is “super gay curious.” “I've always wanted to know what goes on in those places,” he says. “Who buys the drinks. Do they have a women's bathroom, or just twice as many urinals? If you say to the bartender, ‘I'm in the mood for some nuts,' what do you get?” Naturally, he decides to tag along.

Burt's initial disappointment−“I thought there'd be more hot pants”−is alleviated when he runs into two friends, wholesale flower vendors Steve and Guy. Jimmy asks all the questions−about glory holes, bears, and waxing−and improves his gay IQ. Burt, meanwhile, finds the absence of women liberating−he's so comfortable in the company of men, he even fast-dances.

Indeed, Burt's total lack of heterosexual panic starts to worry his wife,authenticcoat Virginia (Martha Plimpton). It's not that she's concerned that going to the bar will turn him gay. She's just disappointed that they're going to spend Halloween−which is, after all, “gay Christmas”− apart. Eventually, though, she dons a Charlie Chaplin costume and sneaks into the bar−after a long wait because “this place gets crowded when you're allowed to wear a mask”−so she can slow-dance with her man. This,halloweencostume inevitably, causes a little confusion when Jimmy and Sabrina see Burt making out with the little tramp. It's the TV gay-bar trifecta−mistaken identity, they're as boring as we are, and the accidental reveal−all pulled off without a shred of homophobia.

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