Loved hearing students at an American college talking about their international counterparts in discussions about The Summer Help. Many of the Americans had worked side-by-side with “the summer help” students at Wisconsin Dells (the largest waterpark in the U.S.), but didn’t know much about them. Now, after watching the documentary, they do.
The screening was held at a hidden gem of a school, Edgewood College in lovely Madison, Wisconsin on Feb. 27th, at the invitation of Political Science Professor Nick Spina, a former colleague of mine from the American University in Bulgaria where we were both professors for a few years (I taught filmmaking and journalism). During the day, I met with three different classes (Social Science Research Methods, Intro to International Relations and Intro to Cultural Anthropology) and the event at night, The Social Science Documentary Film Series, was sponsored by The School of Arts and Sciences, School of Business, Center for Global Education, the Alumni Office and the Social Science department.
We discussed many aspects of the J-1 visa program, including the many businesses that rely on the international student workers also known as “work and travel” students (or WAT), as well as the opportunities for cultural exchange.
I have to say that I enjoyed the wide-ranging discussions about tourism, business, immigration, international students, DACA and international visa programs. I think it’s important to have these conversations, especially now as many visa programs (including this one) are being considered for elimination under the current U.S. government. Please contact me directly (firstname.lastname@example.org) if you are interested in hosting a screening at your educational institution or organization. I hope to do more educational screenings like this one in the near future, especially because this topic is currently in the news almost daily.
Special thanks to Anna Cohai, a former student of mine from AUBG who did “work and travel” for several years at the Wisconsin Dells. She reluctantly came up on the stage for the Q & A and continued to share her stories with students after the screening. She certainly added quite a bit to the discussion and I appreciate her participation.
Stay tuned for announcements about some more upcoming screenings!
Yours in Docs,
melody gilbert…filmmaker/educator …www.frozenfeetfilm.com (links to all her docs there).