On May 16, a group of 15 UW-Stout students and professors, including myself, left the airport in Eau Claire and began our journey to Asia’s World City, Hong Kong, and later to what’s known as the Heart of Asia, Taiwan. The study abroad program, Travel Media Writing, was hosted by two university professors, Jerry Hui and Greg Schneider-Bateman.
The following post is the second of a three-part series of interviews with professors and students, along with my ideas, observations, feelings and reflections.
One night, Greg Schneider-Bateman walked the streets of Asia alone.
To him it felt great to experience this kind of independence, the kind that brought him back to memories from his collegiate years. He passed by a traditional Thai restaurant determined to grab a seat. The opportunity was available for him to enjoy a break away from heavier responsibilities, and his spontaneous independence helped build his confidence. Before we go too far, however, let’s start at the beginning.
Professor Jerry Hui reached out to staff inquiring recruitment possibilities for his prospective plans to go abroad. Hui requested another professor travel with him to teach a new course combination: Travel Media Writing.
Schneider-Bateman thought to himself, “‘I would, but I’ll see if anyone bites first.” He felt too new to the university staff but was interested in the idea of teaching a course on the other side of the world. The bait was still hooked, and Schneider-Bateman accepted.
The trip proved challenging.
Hui, having lived in Hong Kong and fluent in both Cantonese and Mandarin, the languages primarily spoken during our travels, could efficiently organize the itinerary and housing. He could help students communicate, returning lost items and translating dinner menus.
“I don’t like being useless. I want to make sure that I am pulling my weight and not putting everything on Jerry,” Greg added. “But that’s hard.” Problems could be solved more efficiently with Hui, and that was the unfortunate truth. Schneider-Bateman wanted more.
Earlier it was mentioned that Schneider-Bateman was brought back to a memory, which reminded him of an independence experienced in the past. Although it was his first time in Hong Kong and Taiwan, it wasn’t his first time in Asia.
Schneider-Bateman traveled to Japan during his collegiate years.
He was on his own, his first time in Japan. He walked the streets just as he did during our study abroad, learning and gaining independence.
After the end of Travel Media Writing, he went back to Japan for two weeks, as it was so close. “Things came back to me, and I don’t even know where they came from,” Schneider-Bateman added. He found that upon returning, past experience can be, even after 17 years, dug up within the depths of his memory.
“I really want to do this trip again, because I could just be so much more helpful,” Schneider-Bateman added. “I would know how to get around, the places we’re going, how to order food. (The trip) was such a learning curve.”
There is a first time for everything. Traveling a second time is what Schneider-Bateman hopes to pursue, and with an eager confidence, prospective plans are already being considered.
By Shannon Hoyt, UW-Stout PCEM major