We will continue our series regarding upcoming trips by sharing a past newsletter article by 2013 Oaxaca, Mexico trip leader Jake Mattox:
“The 2013 summer program in Oaxaca, Mexico was even more amazing than I had thought it would be. The 3-week immersion was anchored by immensely enjoyable and successful daily classes in language and culture at the impossibly beautiful setting of the Instituto Cultural de Oaxaca. The daily treks between the Institute and our home-stays in this pedestrian-friendly city took us by too many artisan shops, interesting churches, produce vendors, and local eateries to ever be able to visit them all. The directors (Elaine Roth and I) and students gained immensely from the daily classroom lessons, the conversation hour, and the afternoon cultural classes provided.
We made lifelong friends—and second families—in our homestays and language classes. We explored the city and surroundings of Oaxaca as a large group and as pairs, learning to look, listen, and feel. (The 4-5 mile runs Elaine and I took with our friend and coordinator Carlos Brito led us through new parts of town, the central market, and even some rural settlements!) We encountered an incredible diversity of cultures, languages, and landscapes, as we traveled within the city and state of Oaxaca, to the pre-Colombian pyramids of Monte Albán and Teotihuacán, past some of the world’s highest volcanoes such as Popocatepetl (“El Popo”), to the beautiful colonial city of Puebla, and to the incredibly rich and vibrant Mexico City. In fact, our final few days in Mexico City provided many of the trip highlights, including an afternoon at Frida Kahlo’s house!
But it’s not just the locale; the trip is also about the participants. The students on this trip took care of each other, pushed each other to try new experiences, and worked both independently and collectively to learn as much as possible from this immersion in another culture. I thank my co-leader, Elaine Roth, and all of the student participants for a fantastic journey!”
Earlier this week the International Programs highlighted our upcoming summer trip to London and Edinburgh. In this blog we will discuss another wonderful travel opportunity, the trip to Florence, Italy. Florence’s rich artistic and cultural traditions have helped it earn and maintain a reputation as one of the world’s most influential cities. Founded by the Romans, Florence has also been hailed as the birthplace of the Renaissance. Florence is the largest and one of the most beautiful cities in the Tuscany region of Italy. Former trip leader Dora Natella notes that students on the Florence trip seemed to be struck by, “awe and have absorbed, almost by osmosis, the energy from the past.” This amazing trip to Florence focuses on photography and is open to all IU South Bend students regardless of their level of photography experience.
Students on this trip will have the chance to participate in photo sessions four days a week as they tour around this historical city and the picturesque countryside surrounding it. In addition, all participants will have access to a darkroom in order to process and print their own photographs. Aside from seeing the city through the lens of a camera, students will also have the chance to wander through the museums and art galleries that Florence has to offer and take the time to gaze upon great pieces of inspiring artwork. Trip leader Susan Moore wants to emphasize that, “the assignments are tailored toward individual students” no matter their experience level in photography. This is truly a once in a lifetime opportunity with one of IU South Bend’s most well reputed professors, Susan Moore.
In addition to experiencing one of the most beautiful and artistically important cities in the world, there are other benefits, such as earning college credit or gaining a fresh global perspective. Former IU South Bend student Sarah Demaege reflects that, “going overseas changed me as a person. I feel more relaxed and appreciate the little things in life.” There will never be an easier way to safely visit another country than to participate in a Study Abroad trip while you are in college. Sarah also emphasizes that IU South Bend students should not let this: “opportunity pass them by, it’s a wonderful experience that money can’t buy.”
Applications are available online and at the Office of International Programs. Any student desiring to participate in the program should contact trip leader Susan Moore or Director of International Programs Lisa Zwicker.
As another chilly spring semester begins, we in the International Programs office are shaking off the winter blues by looking forward to the trips that will be offered to students this coming summer. In this blog, we will discuss the opportunity to visit London and Edinburgh. With both cities playing cohost to the Study Abroad trip, students will have the chance to explore the very essence of English culture, writing, and politics. As the capitol of England, London is a focal point of western culture and politics. Throughout history, London has had no equal in Europe, or globally, as a cultural and political powerhouse. Just walking down the streets of London one can’t help but notice the seamless meld of the old and historic with the new and cutting edge. Edinburgh is much the same, while largely overshadowed by London, the city is alive with new energy traversing centuries old cobblestone streets. As the capital of Scotland, Edinburgh enjoys its place as a dynamic international city. Just last year, the city of Edinburgh played an important role in the push for Scottish independence.
The London/Edinburgh trip primarily focuses on the English language and political culture of these two iconic historical cities. Students will have two weeks to visit various classical sites such as the Shakespeare Theatre and Big Ben in London to Downing Street and the historical castles in Edinburgh. The goal of this trip will be for students to immerse themselves in the study of English and Scottish history, culture, and political systems. Students will then be able to demonstrate an enhanced ability to think critically in regard to English and Scottish thoughts and ideas.
In addition to experiencing two of the most historically important and culturally significant cities in the Western hemisphere, there are many other benefits to this trip. IU South Bend student Sarah Smeltzer reflected on one of the personal benefits that this trip afforded her when she noted, “After my experience traveling abroad, I realized that I am a much more independent person than I thought I was.” Many students who wish to travel or study abroad while in college feel as though they will not be able to manage being away from home for a prolonged period, let alone out of the country. This testimony shows that through study abroad trips like this, students are given a safe opportunity to grow and can develop a new sense of independence as a result.
Applications are available online and from the Office of International Programs. Any student desiring to participate in the program should contact trip leader Lee Kahan or Director of International Programs Dr. Lisa Zwicker.