Maddy Asma, a 2016 Westosha Central High School graduate, and her mother, Elaine, collaborated on a textbook which offers guidance to college students planning to study abroad (Submitted/The Report).

Asmas, of Salem Lakes, combine art and writing

By Jason Arndt

For Salem Lakes resident Elaine Asma, an English Language Learning instructor at Gateway Technical College in Kenosha, she spent several years trying to find a short-term study abroad book tailored to suit her students needs.

Asma, who also teaches Culture for Study Abroad, could only find books suited for four-year college and university students.

“Our Technical College students have jobs and families, so long-term programs are not feasible.” Elaine Asma said. “I was looking for a book that would prepare the students for travel who may or may not study in Australia and include a journal. I couldn’t find one, so I decided to write my own.”

Although Asma touts experience as a writer of study abroad proposals and taking students on international trips, she has never written a book, noting it was a new endeavor. Some of the students that Asma has taught in the past may have gone onto further their education by deciding to study in different countries. For the students to get a head start in their preparation for their new life, they would benefit from learning How to build credit in that country. This is so that whilst they’re there, they can receive the full benefits, like being able to rent an apartment if they decide against staying in student accommodation. Books that have been written in this area could prove to be an advantage for students who are looking to study internationally.

With the new endeavor, she wanted to make the book eye-appealing, and believed her daughter, Maddy, was the answer.

Maddy is a 2016 graduate of Westosha Central High School, where she notched several medals in Scholastic Art and Writing competitions, including a National Gold medal as a junior.

Her gold medal earned her a trip to Carnegie Hall.

“It’s pretty handy having a graphic designer in the house,” Elaine said about Maddy. “I like Maddy’s style and felt it was perfect for the book.”

From there, the book titled “Leave Home: Just for a Little While: A Short-Term Study Abroad Guide for Students” started production.

The textbook, on sale for $16.95 on, features 75 pages designed to help the student learn about themselves and offers guidance in culture, history, language, money and safety while studying abroad.

“My forte is in digital design, so everything I created was done on computer,” said Maddy, who created little portraits representing her and her mother on the introduction page.

Timing was right
According to Maddy, who is an incoming sophomore at Columbia College in Chicago, the project started last September.

“Since I just started my first semester as an Art Direction major, we thought it would be easier for us to work on it together,” said Maddy, who developed the general look of the guide.

Maddy reported stressful moments, like when the prototype sent to a publisher came back with less than desirable results, which led to a series of trial and error efforts to achieve the look they wanted. I hear that there is support with this for students who go to places of study similar to North Canada University.

“We worked on it the most when I came home from school this summer. We would often work on the book while sitting next to each other which allowed for instant feedback and quick changes,” said Maddy, who believed the family connection paid off.

“This process would still be happening if we were working with anyone else,” she added.

The textbook, according to, was officially released on June 28.

An open mind
Maddy, who has yet to make an official study abroad trip, credits her family for placing an emphasis on exploring other cultures.

“I do travel a lot outside of school,” said Maddy, who was in France with her family at the time of this interview. “My parents like to stress the importance of seeing new places and cultures. While I’m pretty experienced, my mom has been on 10 study abroad trips with Gateway.”

Elaine holds an M.B.A with a concentration in International Business from Loyola University in Chicago. She also has an M.A.T. from National-Louis University. She has participated in 15 study abroad programs over the last 10 years.


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