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Out & About in Cleveland

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Fundraiser for U.S Senate Candidate Ted Strickland, Happy Dog Takes On The World: The Challenges of Studying Abroad

On Tuesday evening, September 6th, we attended a fundraiser for U.S. Senate candidate former Ohio Governor Ted Strickland held at the lovely home of Mr. David and Ms. Barbara Wolford in Moreland Hills.

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We arrived a few minutes early so got to spend some time socializing with several people including Ms. Charlene Nevans who taught Ms. Rose Wong's daughter when she attended Mercer School quite a few years ago and Ms. Linda Striefsky who is an old friend of Ms. Margaret W. Wong.

One of the other attendees, Ms. Fran Dryer was part the group "Patriots for Change" which hosted a program at the Chagrin Falls library where Ms. Wong spoke about the problems with our current immigration system and the need for immigration reform.

Another concerned person we spoke with was Dr. Edward M. Barksdale, Jr., the Surgeon-in-Chief for Rainbow Babies and Children's Hospital although inner city empowerment is an important vocation of his and he devotes a lot of time to it.

We were glad to see Governor Strickland again (it has been a few months) and we admire the dedication of his aides like Mr. Michael Hart who we communicated with about attending this fundraiser.

We had to leave a little early, though, to get back to the Detroit-Shoreway area of Cleveland to attend our second event for the night which was a "Happy Dog Takes On the World" gathering at (where else?) the Happy Dog on Detroit Avenue.

The topic for the night was "The Challenges of Studying Abroad" which consisted of the moderator, Mr. Tony Ganzer of WCPN interviewing four students who actually did study abroad for a semester and they were Ms. Kathryn O'Malley (Baldwin-Wallace student who studied in Ecuador), Ms. Damaris Ruiz (Kent State University student who studied in Geneva); Ms. Jaimee Miller (CWRU student who studied in the Netherlands); and Ms. Andrea Lau (CWRU student who studied in Jordan).

The program was introduced by Mr. Teddy Eisenberg, City Club Content Coordinator, who said that prior to the time of institutions like the City Club a lot of meaningful public dialogue took place in places like restaurants and bars so it was only appropriate that this conversation take place at the Happy Dog.

Among the subjects discussed in the course of an hour were what motivated the students to want to study abroad IMG_4326and how tough was it to raise the necessary funding; the challenges faced by them as women in the countries that they studied in; how the people they got to know perceived the United States; how did their experience affect the way that they felt about U.S. foreign policy; and did they now plan to change their career paths.

As for the latter point, while not changing their majors, they wanted to incorporate their study aboard experience into their future studies. Above all, they developed more empathy for the people they met and the countries where they got to live for a while.

We asked about how they now felt about the immigration policies of the United States. Among the replies that we got were that we should be more open to accepting refugees and that our policies have not always affected other countries in ways that are positive for them. Along these lines, much concern was expressed about the racist populism that is spring up in quite a few countries including our own.

 

Above all, however, all of them felt that their study abroad experiences were invaluable and even though there was a certain risk involved (it varied with each country), these students believed that growth requires discomfort and unless one is willing to step out of his/her comfort zone "no wisdom will be gained."

By:

Michael Patterson 

Community Liaison,

Margaret W. Wong & Assoc. Co., LLC

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