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School of Education Students Travel to China to Learn about Issues Facing Schools Around the World


April 2, 2018

Sometimes your studies can take you to places you’ve never imagined. Just ask Yendri Longoria and Katelyn Alderfer. Thanks to the School of Education’s Charles Imbesi Scholarship, the two had a chance to travel to China to attend the Third Global Teacher Education Summit where they met with educators from around the world to discuss issues facing schools in their respective countries.

Longoria, a BS/MS student earning her master’s in Global and International Education, and Alderfer, a PhD student, met on the first day of the conference at Beijing Normal University, and quickly found out they have much more in common than they thought. Alderfer is a teacher by trade with experience teaching in Philadelphia, and Longoria sharpened her teaching skills through field experiences and student teaching while completing the bachelor’s in elementary education portion of her Drexel degree.

Through the conference, the two new travel buddies found that many of the hot button issues facing K-12 education in the United States are also critical issues in many other countries around the world. In her report on the experience, Alderfer remarked that “even though we might all come from different countries and different backgrounds, it seems that everyone in the world is dealing with the same issues when it comes to education. We all struggle with testing becoming more important than the students themselves, globalization and the lack of students’ preparedness for it, and equity.”

In addition to attending the conference, Alderfer had the opportunity to present her dissertation research which looks at how teachers are using social media to voice their dissent on educational issues and the strategies used by educators to act in an activist role. Attendees, particularly those from China were extremely interested in learning more about her research since Alderfer’s primary area of research was gathered via Facebook, which they said is banned in China.

The trip was not complete without a little time spent sightseeing. Longoria, Alderfer, and their two assigned student guides visited the Forbidden City and the Great Wall, and had a chance to check out the food scene in Beijing.

Longoria, who plans to start her career in teaching upon graduation said the experience was something she will never forget. “I never thought I would go to China but I did and it was an amazing experience. If you are interested in education and looking to see how education is in China, just go. It’s a once in a lifetime thing.”

The Charles Imbesi Scholarship is named for Drexel University Global and International Education Alumnus Charles Imbesi that provides funding for Drexel students to travel to China for educational purposes.