Former NYU Berlin Student Logan Verdoorn talks about his President’s Service Award

Logan VerboornA former student at NYU Berlin, Logan Verdoorn received a President’s Service Award this year for launching a cooperative theater program with students from NYU Berlin and a local high school. After graduating from Tisch, Logan decided to return to Berlin, where he now lives. He shares his experience:
This year, I won a President’s Service Award for my work creating a collaborative, multi-lingual theater cooperation between a group of students studying at NYU Berlin and a class from a nearby Berlin high school. The students did incredible and inspiring work over the course of the semester, enabling us to write and build a show that was performed as part of NYU Berlin’s Farewell Event. The final product included entirely student-produced monologues, scenes, dance, music, improv and poetry.
As much of an honor as it was to receive the award, I have never been much for accolades (says the former Tisch Drama student) and what interests me far more than gloating or grandstanding is sharing with you the conception, creation and implementation of the project in the hopes of describing what I learned about global education from the process and through working with such an amazing group of students.
The concept of the GNU is one that, while offering a great number of incredible opportunities and benefits, is not without its specific challenges, not the least of which being the difficulty for students to break out of the so-called “NYU Bubble” and branch out into the city and community in which they find themselves. This was one of the issues we were hoping to address with the original idea for a cooperation between the Kurt-Tucholski Oberschule (KTO) and NYUB. Berlin being the artistic metropolis that it is and I being the theater junkie that I am, theater seemed a perfect and obvious medium through which to begin such a collaboration and so it was.
Despite all my planning, I was entirely unprepared for and wholly overwhelmed by the students’ unending curiosity, astoundingly personal writing, and deep dedication throughout the entire process. Their passion for cultural exploration, their commitment to examining and adopting a new community, and their fascination with communication – whether lingual, physical, or otherwise – all helped to build a new, creative, exploratory lens through which to view the concept of Foreign. This is the type of self-examination and cultural outreach that can be the new face of the ‘Study Abroad’ experience in a society that is becoming increasingly globalized – an experience that I hope to continue supporting as the theater project progresses.

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