Graduate Student Earns Degree Abroad with G.I. Bill
Meghan Moorhouse made Belgium her classroom.
The now graduate of Drexel University School of Education’s MS in Global and International Education program, whose family had moved seven times within 14 years, found herself facing an assignment not listed on the syllabus.
In 2014, just a couple of weeks after Moorhouse enrolled in the program as an online student, she received word that her husband, an active duty Coast Guardsman, was unexpectedly given orders to Europe. Luckily, her degree program was designed to go mobile.
“I was very happy that I’d chosen Drexel’s online program, and from day one the online model fit well into my lifestyle and educational needs,” she said, citing the fact that Drexel also allowed her the opportunity to use her husband’s Post 9/11 GI Bill.
Moorhouse threw herself into being an international student, waking up in the middle of the night to take phone calls from another time zone for group projects.
“I got used to taking my laptop with me wherever we would go to use the Wi-Fi—there are pictures of me writing papers in some pretty interesting places!” she said.
As Moorhouse soon found out, being an American student abroad had its advantages—particularly when it came to seeing her classroom curriculum in action via her sons, Emmett and Colin. The two American boys enrolled in a nearby Flemish-language school. Their acclimation served as a tangible example of the type of things Moorhouse read and researched in class: the impact of culture in the classroom; academic achievements of international students; the challenges that non-native language speakers face in school.
“You learn about it in an academic perspective but experiencing it as a parent with your own child was amazing,” she said. “When they [her sons] went into school, they did not speak a word of Dutch, could not write in the language for the first four months. Then it sort of flipped after the first year. Ironically, my younger child—the first language he learned to read was Dutch.”
The Global and International Education program aims to arm students with the practical knowledge to become educational leaders in an increasingly connected world. The program examines trends and issues influencing education both in the U.S. and abroad within the context of diverse economic, political, cultural and community influences. Before graduating into an array of fields including higher education, law firms, international education associations, government agencies and more, students must complete a capstone requirement.
For her project, Moorhouse decided to look into the increasingly popular concept of a ‘gap year,’ and how US institutions respond to the unique needs and challenges facing students who have taken one.
Speaking of gap years, the Moorhouses embark on one of their own this summer. After her graduation and her husband’s retirement from the Coast Guard, Moorhouse and company will spend the next year traveling across Russia, Mongolia, China, New Zealand and Australia.
When they conclude their year of travel, Moorhouse looks forward to beginning a new chapter. She will start the job hunt and would love to work in a university setting, putting her educational administrative skills to use with study abroad programs, international students, and/or experiential learning programs.
“We are very excited about the adventures ahead!” she exclaimed.
Spoken like a true citizen of the world.
*GI Bill® is a registered trademark of the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs (VA). More information about education benefits offered by VA is available at the official U.S. government website.