Traveling the world may be a once-in-a-lifetime experience for some students. For Daniel Ginchereau, a history and education major at Georgian Court, it has been life-changing. Not only did the junior recently spend a semester abroad as part of a prestigious program; it marked the second time he traveled overseas in 2018. The South Jersey native believes his time across the pond will enrich the lives of students he teaches in the future.
Daniel is also Georgian Court University’s first recipient of the Benjamin A. Gilman International Scholarship. He was one of 835 American undergraduate students from 310 colleges and universities across the United States who received the grant. He studied at St. Mary’s University, an institution just outside of London.
He received a $2,500 scholarship to apply toward his experience, and conducted a service project of his choice in exchange for the grant. He chronicled his travels abroad and communicated with special needs classes in his hometown of Marlton, New Jersey, along with a class in Brick, New Jersey.
“This semester was life-changing,” Daniel said. “England was magnificent! It is by far the most amazing country I have ever visited,” he said. The avid writer shared some of his enthusiasm in a blog post he wrote during an October 2018 descent into the former coal mines that were once a bustling industry in Wales.
An Excerpt from Wales: Thatcher and the Coal Miners
I explored many historical sites such as Tintern Abbey, Caerphilly Castle, and one of the last Welsh coal mines. I was part of a tour that was able to descend about 90 meters underground into the mines. We had to wear a helmet with a light on the top, like you would see in a movie, as well as an oxygen mask in case the chemical levels rose too high while we were down there. The mines and their inner workings, when they were open, was described by a former miner. The miner gave us a history of the mine and subjects ranging from the horses that were transported and lived underground to the children who were employed to open and close oxygen shielding doors. — Daniel Ginchereau
Daniel is no stranger to traveling overseas, thanks to GCU’s popular global education program. Over Spring Break 2018, he ventured to Poland, France, Germany, and Belgium along with Dr. Scott Bennett and Dr. Michael Gross. As a result, he is more comfortable exploring the world. Last summer, he also traveled to Capitol Hill to lobby in favor of the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) immigration policy.
A Life-Changing Experience Delivers New Perspectives
“I was so excited to do this as I work extensively with the special needs classes during the summers,” said Daniel, who—during the semester abroad—also traveled with a friend to Switzerland, France, Austria, Hungary, and the British Isles.
He enjoyed learning to ask locals about political issues, and said everyone was very kind to him.
“It is extremely enriching to hear the various perspectives from the locals about European issues,” said Daniel, who added that people overseas are quite interested in U.S. political issues. “I know that I will be forever changed by this experience,” he added.
Daniel is the secretary of the Student Government Association, a member of the History Club, treasurer of LGBTQ at GCU, a Mercy Collegiate Society member, Salt and Light ambassador, supplemental instructor, and TRIO-SSS tutor. He hopes to pursue a Ph.D. in Social Work or History and become a teacher. He plans to graduate in Spring 2020 and receive both his teaching certification and special needs certificate.
“I see this experience as enhancing my career for when I begin teaching history. It is one thing to know everything about history, but it adds so much more to be able to say that you have been there and have pictures to prove it,” Daniel said. “I hope that my global experience will allow me to convey some sense of the various European cultures that I encounter as well as enriching students with vast amount of historical skills and information that I am acquiring.”
Story contributed by freelance writer Kristen Fischer.