ROTC cadets teach abroad

The Reserve Officer Training Corps (ROTC) cadets of UW-Whitewater had to go through months of long and thorough preparations before they were able to embark on a month-long journey abroad.

These preparations included receiving vaccinations, completing paperwork, taking required classes for the State Department and Department of Defense, learning how to teach English as a second language, and learning some of the language and customs of the countries they were traveling to.

The ROTC cadets’ trips abroad are part of a Cultural Understanding and Language Proficiency (CULP) program. The cadets’ job while being abroad included teaching English to other cadets and to children or school aged individuals, depending on which country they were in. The cadets visited South Korea, Thailand, Ukraine, Vietnam and Lithuania.

The cadets were also responsible for creating better bonds with the people in these countries.

The CULP program started at UW-Whitewater in 2009. UW-W first sent students to Ghana as a part of an internship program in 2011.

To get involved with the CULP program, the six  cadets submitted an online application to Cadet Command, and they were chosen after a selection process. The cadets’ trips were expensed through CULP internships.

Each of the six cadets had a different experience during his or her time abroad and was willing to share some memories and stand-out moments from the ROTC CULP program journey.

Toczynski

Michael Toczynski

Age: 20

Class: Junior, MS III

Hometown: Chicago, IL

Years in the ROTC: Third year

Country traveled to: South Korea

Name one experience that stood out to you on your trip?  I love to play soccer, and the Koreans are much more into soccer than the Americans are, so I felt right at home.  With speaking little Korean and them speaking little English, we did not have to communicate via words on the soccer field.  I have never experienced so much communication with so little words before and in such a positive environment, too.

Kumrow

Derek Kumrow

Age: 24

Class: Grad school, MS IV

Hometown: Random Lake, WI

Years in the ROTC: Second year

Country traveled to: Thailand

Why was this trip important to you? This trip was important to me because it was a once in a life time experience. I was completely on the opposite side of the world learning what it takes to become an officer in other countries’ military. I met people and experienced things that I would have never got the chance to do any other time in my life.

Pelc

Benjamin Pelc

Age: 25

Class: Senior, MS IV

Hometown: Florence, WI

Years in the ROTC: Three semesters

Country traveled to: Lithuania

Why was this trip important to you? I consider myself a very global person.  My father’s side of the family are immigrants from Poland to Israel, and my father is an immigrant from Israel.  I have family living literally all over the world. This trip only served to further increase my awareness of other cultures in the world, and due to our English teaching mission, helped me become more proficient at overcoming language barriers.

 

Liska

Raechel Liska

Age: 19

Class: Sophomore, MS II

Hometown: New Berlin, WI

Years in the ROTC: Second year

Country traveled to: Hanoi, Vietnam

Why was this trip important to you? It is always important to take time to acknowledge and understand others’ culture; but because I am an International Studies major, this trip really made everything that I was learning in school and being told applicable and real. My grandfather was in the Vietnam War. While I can never understand his experiences, this trip created another level for us to bond.

Kaiser

Daniel Kaiser

Age: 22

Class: Senior, MS IV

Hometown: Appleton, WI

Years in the ROTC: Second year

Country traveled to:  Lithuania

Why was this trip important to you? This trip made me aware of how different other cultures around the world can be. This trip has given me a tendency to think about things in a broader perspective. As future leaders, it is important for cadets to realize that policies that are made often have a father reaching influence than what first comes to mind. It is important to

look at all variables.

Edwards

Bryce Edwards

Age: 21

Class: Junior, MS III

Hometown: Sharon, WI

Years in the ROTC: Third year

Country traveled to: Ukraine

Name one experience that stood out to you on your trip: It would have to be the time me and my buddy discovered an underground art cafe. We were browsing an art store and the owner told us to go down a set of stairs in the back. Once down there, we discovered what looked like an underground dungeon turned into a cafe, complete with an authentic Ukrainian  Cossack playing

an accordion.

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