While most students spent Interterm inside a classroom in the quiet city of La Verne, a select number of University of La Verne students experienced education in a whole new light thousands of miles away.
Students who spent their January abroad visiting the Great of China, the historically rich Myan ruins near Belize and eating tasty gelato in Italy agreed that it was a rewarding part of their college experience;
Molly Morin senior liberal studies and sociology major studied in China a country full of tradition. The trip abroad offered Morin an opportunity to experience a culture different from her own.
“I was really able to learn more about the culture; and to really see the cultural differences for myself was really interesting,” Morin said.
China differs greatly from America, not only in language, but also in manners and customs. The culture shock, while hard to deal with, proved to be an interesting lesson for Morin.
The Great Wall of China was her favorite part of the experience because it was so breathtaking.
“I would definitely recommend this trip to others,” Morin said.
Italy, a country full of great history, gave sophomore chemistry major Sareen Zinzalian an educational and cultural experience unlike any other.
“I’ve always wanted to go there. I love how there is history everywhere,” Zinzalian said.
Although the two weeks spent in Italy were full of life lessons, Zinzalian’s favorite part of the trip was the food, especially the gelato.
“It’s an educational experience, and it’s really great to be in a different culture,” Zinzalian said.
Biology students Aubry McSweeny, Melinda Fairman and Allison Marsh, felt that the tiny country of Belize, a classified third-world country with villages and run-down buildings, was an experience that changed their perspectives.
They agreed that the most shocking part of the trip was not the living conditions, but the attitudes of the families.
“The Mayans are really happy people,” Marsh said. “They have barely any material possessions at all, and they have a genuine thrill of life.”
Despite the impoverished state of the country, beauty and wonder could be found a few miles away in Takal, Guatemala, at the Mayan ruins and pyramids.
“It gives you so much more than just learning it in a textbook,” McSweeny said.
All of these countries, while very different, offered students at ULV experiences, opportunities and perspectives that cannot be taught in a classroom.
“I think that [in California] we get caught up in our own little, narrow way of life,” said Philip Hofer, Director of the International and Study Abroad.
Natalie Croyt can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org