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Showing posts from 2015

Year in Review

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January
The second half of my Fellowship year began in New York with a short stay in a hotel a few steps from Times Square. The weather was extremely cold with temperatures in the single digits and teens (I really like the US weather lingo). But despite such low temperatures and freezing winds my stay in NYC was amazing, just as the city itself, no matter what time of year it is.
This winter was fierce and long-lasting - it was only in the second half of April that it slowly gave way to spring.
February
In February I traveled to Washington D.C. and San Francisco, where I attended some conferences and to Nashville for a reunion with my friend Myra, who I hadn't seen for 8 years.
Bart and I continued our collaboration and led the second run of our successful Augmented eTwinning Reality online course for 219 eTwinning teachers from all over Europe.
March
My husband arrived for Spring Break and we traveled a bit more - to Washington D.C. and Baltimore and then across the US all the way …

Week 44: The "I Made It Moment"

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It’s been a phenomenal, once in a lifetime learning journey - my Hubert H. Humphrey Fellowship. It’s been an amazing year filled with friendships for life, laughter and joy, reunions and get-togethers, cheerfulness and bliss. But it's also been quite a challenging year marked by nostalgia, lonely nights, tears, disappointments and frustration. It's been a year of determination and perseverance. And courage. And  I made it happen.




Week 43: America Is Its People

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The question everybody asks me these days is what I like about the US most and what I'll miss most when I get home. I'm definitely going to miss the rich multicultural diversity of its people. For me, America is its people. Open-minded, generous, kind, helpful, supportive, warm-hearted, caring - people who have made my Fellowship year a once in a life time experience.




Week 42: Living in Virginia

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Week 41: Working in DC

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My working hours are flexible, I can come to my office on the 10th floor anytime between 8-9 am and leave anytime between 4-5 am. I like that because I don’t have to rush in the morning and worry if I’m going to be late even though I leave early, before rush hour really begins so I'm at the office at around 8. On the bus there are the same people every morning, most of them with their heads buried in their phone screens. The metro is more crowded than the bus, but early in the morning it’s not too bad. I like when the Yellow Train suddenly pops up from the underground tunnel to cross the Potomac River. The early morning view of the Jefferson Memorial and the Washington Monument is absolutely unbeatable. 
I get off at the White House.This area is a bustling business district with high-rise office buildings with lots of restaurants. Tens of thousands of office workers work there. When the weather is nice, everybody eats outside in the parks – sitting on the grass or on a bench, it …

Week 40: Shopping

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I've been in the US for 9 months now and people often ask me if it's cheaper or more expensive to live here in the US or back home in Croatia. Of course, there is no yes/no answer to this question, so here's a brief comparison of some of the bare necessities or so.

Clothes, shoes, accessories - you can find some great bargains every where every day, not only at sales. Actually, there are sales  almost all the time - next week for example, all the shops will have a three-day Memorial Day sale. If there are no holidays on the calendar then shop owners would just introduce a three-day kick off sale, whatever that may mean. Then there are outlets where you can buy some ridiculously cheap things, with discounts of 70%, like my new green bag below.

Fruit is much more expensive than at home, for example, 1 orange was 1 $ at one of the grocery stores this winter, whereas at home I can buy two pounds of oranges for 1 $. Milk is almost the same and so are the other groceries. Bread…

Week 39: Professional Affiliation

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After submitting all my class assignments, making the apartment ready for inspection, packing all my things (for some unknown reason there was much more stuff than when I first arrived in the US) and taking special, loving care of my newly acquired certificate signed by President Obama, I embarked on the second part of the Fellowship program - professional affiliation. PA is the culmination of our year - it is a professional development opportunity to meet and exchange information and share experiences with our American colleagues. 
I'm fortunate to be doing my PA at CoSN - Consortium for School Networking:



But CoSN is much more than that! CoSN is the amazing people who I have a pleasure to work with and learn from. They're all very knowledgeable, willing to share and very supportive. So over the next six weeks I'll be learning about educational technologies and the certification of education technology specialists, about global leadership and the digital leap, about connect…

Week 38: Signed by the President

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This is my last week at Penn State. I'm writing this post in my apartment where there's nothing there, except the inflatable mattress that I bought upon my arrival here in State College 38 weeks ago. It's been an amazing experience.

The highlight of the week was the Year-End Banquet, which started with a video message by President Jimmy Carter, who congratulated the Fellows on a successful completion of the program year. Dr. Michael Adewumi, Vice-Provost for Global Programs at Penn State University also congratulated us and Mayor of State College, Elizabeth Goreham, proclaimed that we are now citizens of State College.
Emily Heddon from the IIE awarded the certificates signed by President Obama to all the Fellows. Here's mine and I'm especially honored and proud to have received it. I'll cherish it forever.

It was a great honor to receive my Penn State Certificate from Dean Monk, who is the Dean of the College of Ed. 
Brinda gave a wonderful emotional speech o…

Week 37: Reverse culture shock

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The academic year is drawing to a close and our flights home have already been booked. These 8,5 months have passed in a flash. When we came over we talked a lot about culture shock and how to minimize its effects. Now they're telling us about the reverse culture shock and how to minimize its effects. I somehow don't believe that I'll suffer from  culture shock when I get back home - because it's HOME that I'm going to!



Some photos to debunk stereotypes

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Contrary to the beliefs and perceptions of so many people worldwide, American food is not the food you can buy at McDonalds, Burger King or Dunkin Donuts. American food is so varied as the country itself. Seattle's typical meal is totally different from Buffalo's typical  meal.  My favorite Bostonian clam chowder tastes completely different than its San Francisco variant.  American food is delicious and yummy! Here are my top 5 list and some mouth-watering photos:

1. Boston clam chowder in a bread bowl
2. Philly cheese steak
3. Soups - all kinds
4. Cranberry sauce made of fresh cranberries
5. Chocolate chip cookies
... or let it be top 7:
6. Cheesecake
7. Apple pie, or any other pie for that matter
... or 11
8. T-Bone steak
9. Strawberry shortcake
10. Blueberry bagels with Berkey Creamery cream cheese
11. Death by Chocolate ice cream