By Sarah Cornett – Editor-In-Chief
It is no surprise that with 85 percent of all students studying abroad at least once, Centre’s study abroad programs are growing.
This past CentreTerm semester though, it seemed like the trips grew even more in number and in exotic location.
In fact, this year the trips appeared to reach all across the globe with groups traveling to New Zealand, China and Thailand, and England for various courses.
A group of 34 students traveled to the North Island of New Zealand. Led by Professors of Chemistry Dr. Joe Workman and Dr. Kerry Paumi, the class was a Natural Science course focused on studying volcanoes and aptly titled the “Physical Science of Volcanoes.”
The group stayed in three different locations, one for each week, including Auckland, Rotorua, and Turangi. For each location, the group studied a different volcanic structure and debris.
The nature of the trip itself required a great deal of hiking, walking, and climbing for the students.
“We ended up hiking up at least ten volcanoes,” junior Grace Anne Martin said. “In Auckland we hiked Rangitoto, which is a volcano that has a black sand beach. In Turangi we did our longest hike on the world famous Tongario Crossing. The hike was 19 kilometers and took around seven hours to complete. On this hike some of the people were able to climb up Mt. Ngarauhoe, a.k.a. Mount Doom [from the Lord of the Rings movie trilogy].”
As a senior, Nick Niehaus couldn’t have asked for a better trip. “It was a fantastic experience and a need-to-add-to-bucket-list type of experience,” Niehaus said. “It was the most beautiful place I have ever been to and I would encourage anyone to travel to New Zealand in general.”
CHINA AND THAILAND
The study abroad program that got perhaps the most attention this CentreTerm was the trip to China and Thailand. The students first spent a week in Shanghai, China, and then continued to three different cities in Thailand: Bangkok, Ko Samet, and Chiang Mai.
The course, called “Buddha in the Big City,” included an Asian Studies portion as well as a Politics portion. As it was her sixth time in China and her second time in Thailand, sophomore Kiera Bowman took the class as an Asian Studies course.
“We studied a lot about the Buddha’s life,” Bowman said. “We visited several temples and observed people praying within the Buddhist faith.”
The trip received a lot of attention at this time due to the nature of the location. While the group was in Thailand, the country declared a state of emergency due to growing levels of unrest and riots.
“It was difficult to be in the middle of an unfamiliar city while it was experiencing violent protests,” junior Danny Miller said. “Although I never felt unsafe, it was unsettling to hear of, say, a bombing a few blocks from where we had eaten dinner one night.”
Through all of it, though, the group considered the trip to be a hit.
“I love everything that is China,” Bowman said. “I would definitely recommend this trip to other people because our group was a success and I can’t wait to go back.”
For the theatre fanatics, CentreTerm provided a perfect study abroad trip. Professor of Dramatic Arts Tony Haigh led a course across England entitled “Introduction to Drama and Theatre.”
Students on the trip visited a sampling of English cities, including London, Stratford-upon-Avon, Marple, Manchester, Leeds, Oxford, and York. In total, the group was fortunate enough to view 15 professional plays.
“The rewarding part of this experience was the great variety of plays we saw – from large productions in large theatres to smaller productions in theatres or studios,” junior Matt Gilbert said.
Outside of the many theatre productions, the group also analyzed the roles of culture, religion, tradition, and culinary arts, according to Gilbert.
The students attended services at Holy Trinity Church in Stratford and York Minster at York to study the role of religion in the culture and visited several restaurants and pubs to see the importance of local community.
“We were in full immersion and often had the opportunity to experience the life and times of an English person in various cities,” Gilbert said. “It is a unique experience that you will never forget and will never experience twice.”