UW students from Cheyenne get experience in Nepal

Four students from Cheyenne were among 12 students in the University of Wyoming’s early childhood education program who gained insights they say will help them become better teachers during a three-week visit to Nepal this summer. Abbey Kercher, Jasmine Bustillo, Gabrielle Maas and Justine Johnson completed internships for their early childhood education and early childhood special education endorsements by teaching in classrooms in Kathmandu. This was the second group of UW students to make the trip to Nepal, following an inaugural visit by six UW early childhood students in 2014. Kercher, who has completed her early childhood special education degree, worked at Kathmandu’s Special Education Rehabilitation Center (SERC), the only one serving special-needs children in the country of nearly 30 million people. She spent time in multiple classrooms, sharing ways to keep track of goals and deal with challenging behaviors. [image: abby-nepal-2.jpg] “Through this experience, my life has been touched in many ways,” she says. “The people of Nepal can literally make anything that you can ever imagine out of things we throw away. The woman who started SERC has the biggest heart and the grandest vision for the children she works with and serves. She has shown me that will and determination can make a huge difference in the lives of others. Working with someone so inspiring has helped me to see that the sky is the limit, and that with determination and hard work anything is possible.” Bustillo, who has graduated with her elementary education degree, worked in a kindergarten-age classroom at Sanskriti International School. “Personally, I was proud that I was able to experience another country and culture firsthand,” she says. “Professionally, I was able to strengthen my cultural awareness and gain a perspective of early childhood education that I previously did not have. I enjoyed every moment I had in my Nepali classroom.” The trip was arranged by early childhood faculty members Samara Madrid and Nikki Baldwin, who accompanied the students as supervisors after leading the first group in 2014. The students participated in a semester’s worth of study and dialogue before going. Supporting the group were the Cheney International Center, the UW Outreach School, and the Department of Elementary and Early Childhood Education. #shortgo #news