Where have we been?
My study abroad in Iceland taught me a lot about a sustainably-minded culture. Iceland is known for its beautiful natural landscape, but that landscape has been intentionally preserved by the Icelandic people. Seeing that culture in action — eating in a restaurant in the middle of a tomato greenhouse, watching the steam rise from the geothermal plants sprinkled across the county — completely reshaped my view of renewable energy and taught me how to appreciate the power of nature.
I take abroads to the former Yugoslavia—just three of the six countries it became—to give students the time and space to experience the internal awakening that comes when they learn some of the language of and read stories by and about people they are surprised they can relate to and who in many cases experienced unthinkable change and loss as their countries came into being. In return, I expect students to bring curiosity, empathy, and intention as strategies to put into play when they meet these people whose countries are less than 30 years old but who have a multi-layered histories, cultures, languages, and landscapes. Slovenia, Croatia, and Bosnia are complicated; and it should be clear to us all that “complicated” is a concept we should bother to figure out. What better way to do that than explore these spaces and cultures and people as students?
Jintong Yu, C'19
Many know that my trip to England in 2017 inspired me to be a theatre educator and one of my dreams is to bring the beautiful Shakespeare language in English to students in China. I saw the sparks in my students’ eyes when they came ask me about breaking iambic pentameter, when I watched them walking the text with focus, confidence and intention. That fuzzy feeling in my chest came back to me like a flood of memories. I remember those times when I myself worked hard putting all my heart and soul into a play (and those fully marked scripts and scribbled arms), and how theatre gives back to me with its magic and power. Being able to combine what I learned in the U.S. and England to share kids in my home country has been such a privilege and an honor. … I can’t be more thankful to the fact that I am doing exactly what I dreamed I would be doing, I and couldn’t be prouder of what my students have accomplished.