Moraine Park students reap benefits and adventure from international education

by admin24. September 2008 19:00

“London was one of the most memorable times of my life. I enjoyed every minute of it. It’s great being able to see what else is out there besides Wisconsin.”


That’s what Michael Dellegrazio of Grafton, an Engine Research and Development Technician program student at Moraine Park Technical College, said about his adventure in England through the College’s twice-a-year London trips.


In order to develop a globally and multi-culturally competent workforce, Moraine Park offers campus activities such as Multicultural Day, internationalized courses, exchange hosting, and education-abroad opportunities for Moraine Park students and staff as well as businesses and community members.


According to the Wisconsin Department of Commerce’s Web site, the global exports of Wisconsin companies totaled $19,185,669,961 in 2007, representing continued growth in international commerce. Bobbi Laine, Moraine Park dean of general education, said that employees of tomorrow need international experiences to succeed in the global marketplace.


“Moraine Park is providing these experiences to better prepare our graduates to find employment and be successful in their chosen careers,” said Laine.


Since 2002, an exchange partnership has existed between Moraine Park and the Friedrich List and Peter Behrens vocational schools in Darmstadt, Germany. The German students spend a couple weeks in the U.S. each fall attending classes at Moraine Park, completing projects, touring local companies and visiting cities like Madison and Chicago. In the summer, Moraine Park students travel to the partner school in Germany, tour businesses, schools and cities, visit with state and local education administrators and reconnect with the German students they met the previous semester. This trip is also open to interested community members. For both groups, the exchange is an opportunity to learn or improve a new language, learn about other countries, and gain international contacts and experiences.


Moraine Park Culinary Arts program students have travelled overseas to enhance culinary skills and cultural awareness. As part of the exchange program with the Peter Behrens School, Moraine Park students attend classes, participate in social events and tour the city during their first week abroad. In the second week, they head for other parts of Europe such as France, Austria or Italy. According to Culinary Arts program instructor James Simmers, students have taken part in cooking seminars; experienced a variety of European cuisines; eaten at Stiftskeller St. Peter, Central Europe’s oldest restaurant (circa 803) in Salzburg, Austria; gone on brewery, winery and castle tours; and ridden a bullet A Moraine Park student and instructor prepare a recipe at Oliver's Art Cuisine in Frankfurt.train.


Trips to England are offered during Thanksgiving week and spring break, led by a Moraine Park instructor and open to alumni, community members, staff and students. The week-long overseas adventure is centered in London or at Harlaxton College, the British campus of the University of Evansville in Indiana. Activities include field trips to area businesses related to each student’s program of study and tours of cultural points of interest, famous landmarks and other popular destinations. Participants are enrolled in either Moraine Park’s Career Development course (available only to program students) or the International Study course that is available for one, two and three credits.


Moraine Park Barber/Cosmetology program instructor Danielle Domenosky led a group of students on a 2007 London trip. She feels that while international travel is beneficial to anyone, it is particularly advantageous for Moraine Park students because not only do they learn about other cultures but they also gain experience related to their chosen fields. That global perspective of a career can be attractive to employers.


London adventurers visited job sites related to their career path. “There were eight cosmetology students on the trip, so we were able to spend some time in the Vidal Sassoon Academy in London and learn how they do things,” said Domenosky. “There are different licensing laws in England, which I wasn’t aware of. There were students from Japan, Turkey and Norway, and it was an awesome experience to watch them work and talk with them.”


“The whole idea of international education is to open our minds and learn more about others,” said Laine.


“I would encourage any student to travel abroad while they’re still in school,” said Dellegrazio. “It really cultures you and opens up your world perspective.”


To see photos, testimonials and other information about the trips to England, visit


For more information about international offerings at Moraine Park, contact Laine at 920-924-3163 or