Wisconsin Guard cadets part of international exchange
Two Wisconsin Army National Guard Soldiers participating in the Reserve Officer Training Corps (ROTC) program at the University of Wisconsin-Whitewater were among six cadets to spend a month abroad recently in a cultural exchange program, teaching English as a second language to military cadets in other nations.
Cadet Derek Kumrow, 24, of Random Lake, Wis., is a member of the 829th Engineer Company. The business graduate student taught English through the Cultural Understanding and Language Proficiency (CULP) program. He described the trip as a once-in-a-lifetime experience.
"I was completely on the opposite side of the world learning what it takes to become an officer in other countries' military," Kumrow said. "I met people and experienced things that I would have never got the chance to do any other time in my life."
Cadet Daniel Kaiser, 22, of Appleton, Wis., is a member of the 1st Battalion, 105th Cavalry and also is the ROTC cadet battalion commander at UW-Whitewater. The sociology and criminal justice senior taught English to cadets in Lithuania, and said the trip raised his awareness of the differences between cultures.
"As future leaders, it is important for cadets to realize that policies that are made often have a farther reaching influence than what first comes to mind," Kaiser said. "It is important to look at all variables. This trip has given me a tendency to think about things in a broader perspective."
Other cadets visited Hanoi, Vietnam; the Ukraine, and South Korea. Besides teaching English, the cadets were charged with creating better bonds with residents in the countries they visited.
To prepare for the CULP trip, cadets had to complete courses through the State Department and Department of Defense, learn how to teach English as a second language, learn some of the language and customs of the nation they would visit - and, of course, receive vaccinations.
UW-Whitewater launched its CULP program in 2009, and first sent students to Ghana in 2011 as part of an internship program.