Curious to hear what students have to say about their experiences studying globally? Keep reading!
In fall 2015, Joey participated in an SIT Study Abroad Program entitled “Geopolitics and the Environment,” based in Ulaanbaatar, Mongolia. This program enabled Joey to fulfill his dream to travel to a place that he “hardly knew of,” and that “was not fully incorporated into the global capitalist system.” It also provided seminars, fieldtrips, experiential learning, and home-stays that supported both his anthropology and political science majors.
Anthony had the opportunity to learn the isiZulu language, live with four families, and deepen his knowledge of South African culture. “The program allowed me to do more than observe; rather, I became part of a different culture and experienced firsthand the perks and problems people face living in a nation that has undergone arguably the most dramatic transformation to democracy in history.”
Amanda, through her SIT program, was interested in examining the human costs of the conflict, and the ways that local communities are fostering peace, economic development, and sustainable reconciliation.
After a course in the Acholi language and some topical seminars, Amanda embarked on an independent research project that focused on Acholi women’s perceptions of peace and reconciliation. Her research among members of two women’s groups employed anthropological methodologies, such as semi-structured interviews, participant-observation, and focus-group discussions.
During his time there, Aiden lived with a host-family with whom he shared three meals a day, and took all four of his classes in Spanish. Aiden experienced deep cultural immersion and developed his Spanish language skills far beyond what they had been. As Aiden puts it, "I'd like to think that studying abroad complemented my experience studying anthropology in Gettysburg really well. Not only was it interesting to take anthropology classes in another language, but I think anthropology prepares you well for the whole process of going abroad, of going somewhere new and being able to analyze and appreciate your time away from home."
James studied the Chinese language as well as China’s cultural diversity. He focused on minority relations in Yunnan Province through a seminar as well as his own anthropological research on the Dai people. Dai people are the only Chinese group to practice Theravada Buddhism, which was of great interest to James, who is intrigued with religion.
For his research, James travelled to the southern Yunnan province where Dai people live, and remained for a month to conduct an ethnographic study using such methods as participant observation and semi-structured interviews.
I chose to study in Israel because I'm a Middle East and Islamic Studies minor, and felt that I didn't know enough about the country. Israel is in the news so often, and I knew that living there for a semester would be an invaluable experience that would give me a more nuanced and informed perspective on the Israeli-Palestinian conflict. Besides that, I wanted to study abroad in Israel to learn about all of the aspects of the country that have nothing to do with the conflict.
The cultural experience in Japan was amazing. I learned so many things and experienced things I would not have if I had stayed in America, and I became more adept in hearing and understanding Japanese language. I also made many lifelong friends with whom I now I talk to on a daily basis.
Growing up watching anime and seeing Japanese culture and language undoubtedly stimulated my interest. I’d think to myself, “I wish I could watch this without subtitles and understand everything.” In high school, I took a class that helped me realize that each country depends on another, and became interested in Japan as a country and in its relations with America.
I chose this program because of its intense focus on Classical Studies. I was able to study with 35 other dedicated (and intimidatingly intelligent!) students who all had similar interests in the Ancient Romans and Greeks. The program is quite competitive, and is recognized in the world of Classics for its academic rigor and prestige. I was ecstatic when I was accepted.
Samantha Poteste ’15
Lutheran College Washington Semester: Washington, D.C.
Why study in D.C.?
I know from working at the Center for Global Education that going abroad is a great experience, but I am so glad that I ended up doing a domestic program instead. I worked almost full-time doing work that I loved, and the experience not only helped confirm my decision to go into social work, it also made me really excited to start doing what I need to do to get there!
While at Gettysburg, I’ve taken a number of courses in French and Francophone studies as well as courses in Arabic and Middle Eastern studies. I’m also a globalization studies major with a focus on women, gender, and immigration. As I planned to study abroad, I looked for programs in countries that offered these languages and cultural studies, and the combination of these two programs (SIT Tunisia and IAU Aix-en-Provence) allowed me to trace the paths of immigrants from the Maghreb into France.
17 countries, 4 years
Erin O’Connor ’15
Interdisciplinary Studies major
Being in an unfamiliar country can be an intimidating experience, but for Erin O’Connor ’15, it’s a passion.
Since enrolling at Gettysburg College, O’Connor has traveled to 17 countries over the last four years. Her studies have brought her to Denmark, Morocco, Trinidad and Tobago, Poland, and Turkey. Her thrill for travel has sent her to Germany, Austria, France, Hungary, Sweden, Norway, Czech Republic, Ireland, and Luxemburg. And her music has resonated in China, Singapore, and Nicaragua.
As a Spanish major, the most rewarding aspect of this experience has been the opportunity to take the skills I have learned from my time at Gettysburg beyond the walls of the classroom, and immerse myself in my passion. I believe that the best way to learn a foreign language is by pursuing it in every aspect of your life and not being afraid to step out of your comfort zone, and embrace challenges with a positive attitude.