BHSU News & Events

BHSU student presents to Northern Hills Rotary Club on study abroad experience

 
Courtney Gross, a BHSU student, presented about her recent Lithuanian travel experience to the Northern Hills Rotary Club with support of Dr. Jane Klug, BHSU Director Student Services. Gross said assisting international students at the BHSU Writing Center inspired her to pursue this study abroad experience.
 
Courtney Gross, a Black Hills State University English education major, speaks with the Northern Hills Rotary Club about her study abroad experience in Lithuania.
 
Courtney Gross met fellow international students while studying abroad in Lithuania.  In the future Gross plans to use her BHSU education and international travel experience to teach English as a Second Language.
Courtney Gross, a senior English education major from Brandon, S.D., shared her study abroad experience in Lithuania with the Northern Hills Rotary Club yesterday.

Gross’ trip abroad was inspired by her work with international students at the BHSU Writing Center.  

“At the Writing Center I helped international students with writing skills, listening, speaking, and even learning slang,” Gross told the Rotary members.  “I saw their courage in dealing with a new culture and the students inspired me to travel to Lithuania.” 

Black Hills State University partners with Vytautas Magnus University, one of six universities located in Kaunas, Lithuania.  Kaunas, the second largest city in the eastern European country, is known for its active, young, and ambitious population.  

Gross, a former BHSU cross country athlete who is involved in many campus organizations, fit right in.

“I took classes, tutored students, and experienced different teaching methods,” Gross said.  “But my favorite part of the experience was traveling to Poland with a group of friends I met in Kaunas.”

Director of Student Services at BHSU and Northern Hills Rotary Club President, Dr. Jane Klug, described Gross’ trip as the culmination of her college experience.

“This journey allowed Courtney to combine her passions of working with international students, English education, and making a difference on campus into a meaningful learning experience,” Klug said.

Lithuanian students studying at BHSU connected Gross with personal contacts before she left the U.S. which helped her to feel more comfortable upon arrival abroad.

“I was able to overcome any fear or vulnerability I felt with the shock of living in a new culture,” Gross recalled.  “Now I can handle anything.”

Gross answered questions from the Rotary members about the classes she took on campus, teaching styles of her instructors, and learning a new language.

Since returning to BSHU, Gross has continued working with the Office of International Relations & Global Engagement and the International Student Organization.  Her recent international experience will be beneficial for her career as Gross plans to teach English as a Second Language after graduation.
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