Posts Tagged ‘study abroad’

Bukit Bintang: The “Star Hill” Section of Kuala Lumpur (February 2014)

June 30, 2014


You have to visit Bukit Bintang at night.  It’s a busy hot-spot full of locals and visitors bustling between good restaurants and great shops.  This is where the night life is!  So the group took advantage of the weekend to visit the famous Pavillion Mall, still decorated for Chinese New Year.


Amazing Pavilion Mall


We're not in Kansas anymore, Toto!

We’re not in Kansas anymore, Toto!


P. Ramlee Street is named after a famous Malaysian actor, singer, and director whose movies put Malaysia (and Malaya, its former name) on the map.  There’s always so much going on in Jalan P. Ramlee!  But to get to that section, we had to take the crowded monorail. Watching Chase squeeze his 6’6″ frame into the monorail started us all smiling, and we soon had the whole car giggling with us.  But Chase, as usual, took it in stride.


No matter where we go, we always seem to end up at the Petronas Towers. At the top of this photo, you can see the famous towers, always a beautiful beacon for everyone in KL.



Jom! (Let’s get going!)

February 16, 2014

The 2014 cohort of the Wilkes University student teaching abroad program was packed and ready to go, here with our wonderful driver, Miss Beth Spencer of the Education Department.

Driver Beth

5 in the van

And here we are, waiting at the busy JFK International Airport.

Waiting at JFKReady for Takeoff

Chinese New Year Dinner

March 4, 2013

This is REAL Chinese food—and it’s really delicious!

We had traveled to Johor Bahru in the southernmost point of Malaysia, just next to Singapore, to do some professional development with the faculty of the JB Sri Utama Schools, when Dato’ Fawziah invited us out to share some great Chinese New Year food and customs.

Outside the Chinese restaurant in Hotel Mutiara

Outside the Chinese restaurant in Hotel Mutiara

Once inside, Dato’ introduced us to “Yee Sang,” the custom of tossing special noodles and foods together to bring good luck.

Yee Sang with Dato' Fawziah

Yee Sang with Dato’ Fawziah

This fun custom happens only at New Year, and we knew the Year of the Snake was already a lucky one for us!

The Wilkes student teachers toss those noodles high!  (The higher the toss, the more your prosperity.)

The Wilkes student teachers toss those noodles high! (The higher the toss, the more your prosperity.)

New customs, new friends, new places–that’s what study abroad is all about!

Puan Kamisah, Dato' Fawziah,  Puan Siti, Lyn Read, Gina Morrison, William Morrison

Dato’ Fawziah, Puan Siti, Lyn Read, Gina Morrison, William Morrison

Inside Batu Caves

February 18, 2013

We took our time in the heat, stopping along the way.  Finally, we reached the inside of the cave, which had temples and statues inside highlighted by shafts of light.  Words really cannot capture the feeling of being inside such an incredible work of nature, so here are a few photos instead.

Batu Cave Temple

Batu Caves 4

Batu Caves 7 Inside

Batu Caves light inside

Batu Caves looking up

Batu Caves Lord Shiva

Meet Our 2013 Student Teachers

February 17, 2013

Here are a few of our student teachers on the job:

Mr Cartier Scott

Mr Cartier Scott with Sri Utama Faculty

Miss Abby Kaster

Miss Abby Kaster with Sri Utama Faculty

Miss Jennifer Earley, Primary teacher

Miss Jennifer Earley, Primary Social Studies

Miss Amanda Coombs with her Kindergarten students

Miss Amanda Coombs with her Kindergarten students

Miss Stephanie Wilkie

Miss Stephanie Wilkie, Secondary English

Mr. Nick Barno

Mr. Nick Barno, Secondary Social Studies

Arrival in KL!

February 16, 2013

3. Arrival in KL!

Finally, we’ve arrived! We were greeted at the airport by our Sri Utama friends and our old friend Becky Gallaher–one of two student teaches from the 2012 trip who came back to work here as teachers! We were brought to Dato’ Fawziah’s residence at Sri Utama and given a warm welcome. Here we are, about 30 hours after setting off.

Seated l-r: Nick Barno, Jennifer Earley, Amanda Coombs, Stephanie Wilkie, Dato’ Fawziah Abdul Karim, Cartier Scott, Abby Kaster.

Standing l-r: Becky Gallaher, Nadira Hassan (Dato’s daughter), Gina Zanolini Morrison (student teaching supervisor), William Morrison, Nawwar Hassan (HR Director & Dato’s daughter), Matthew Bryant (Dato’s son-in-law), Puan Siti (Registrar), Kate McGurk (who also came last year and is now a Sri Utama teacher).

2013 Cohort Gets Ready to Go!

February 10, 2013

The great thing about doing a program the second year is that we’ve learned a few things and acquired a few more helpers along the way. Here are the new students that were selected to go to Sri Utama School in Kuala Lumpur during January–the 2013 COHORT!

They are getting some pre-travel training here from–guess who?–our two student teachers from 2012 who are now employed as faculty members at Sri Utama: BECKY & KATE. How lucky are we to have these two home on Christmas break to show the next group the ropes!* Student Teachers 2013

* Blog Stu Listen 2

* Becky & Kate


February 18, 2012

Hindu temple inside Batu Caves

After spending a wonderful weekend on the east coast of Malaysia, we had no idea that there might be another once-in-a-lifetime event right around the corner: Thaipusam.

Throngs of devotees climb the steps into Batu Caves, behind the giant gold-plated statue of Lord Murugan, for Thaipusam.

Thaipusam is the Hindu festival that is very popular in Malaysia.  During this festival, which fell this year on 7 February, many Hindus make a pilgrimage to Batu Caves on the outskirts of Kuala Lumpur to offer thanks to Lord Murugan for granting them some favor.  Before they begin the pilgrimage, they will have fasted and prayed and meditated for about six weeks, in order to cleanse themselves and make a worthy offering.

On the day of Thaipusam, or even the night before (which is what we experienced), devotees will travel to Batu Caves to carry a kavadi and offer prayers in thanks for something good that has happened during the year. Many devotees will shave their heads, carry cow’s milk  or special kavadis up the 272 steps to the temples inside of the caves, some of them entranced, their flesh pierced with hooks and skewers–all in gratitude for the blessing that has been granted to them.

Hindu devotee carries a kavadi to the temple

To see this incredible festival, were driven to Batu Caves, back in Kuala Lumpur, before we going back to the Sri Utama KL Campus. Thaipusam was simply an incredible experience, unlike any to be had in America, and many photos were taken for memories in years to come.

Another devotee during Thaipusam

All in front of Lord Shiva

After climbing the steps, we pause at the deepest part of the cave in front of the statue of Lord Shiva.

Overall, this weekend was an unforgettable, enriching, once-in-a-lifetime experience, for which we are very thankful.

Felicia going back down the steps

Settling In

February 14, 2012

Luckily, the day after we arrived was a public holiday (Federal Territory Day, February 1) for the residents of Kuala Lumpur, which gave the students some time to sleep and get acquainted with the Sri Utama campus.  Waking up to a clear, sunny day on the beautiful KL campus, the students truly understood what a great opportunity they had been given.

Becky, Kate & Katy

The following two days, Thursday and Friday, were spent meeting with, observing, and assisting their cooperating teachers with classes.  A few of them were asked to teach classes, a challenge they enthusiastically accepted—even with jet lag!


Most important of all, they began to get acquainted with the teachers and the

Sri Utama teachers and students gather for an assembly

students in their classes.

En Route

February 11, 2012

The adventure begins....

Our small group left the Wilkes University campus on 5:00 a.m. on Monday, the 30th of January. Northeastern Pennsylvania gave us a cold and blustery send-off as we loaded up a van and a car and drove to John F. Kennedy Airport in New York City. We had spent the first two weeks of our semester preparing for this trip. The student teachers had attended daily lectures and information sessions about student teaching responsibilities and requirements, augmented by six hours of orientation on travel tips and Malaysian culture. The students were eager to make this trip to Sri Utama International Schools in Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia.