SCO students return to campus – Whitman Wire
For many seniors, this semester marks the first term after leaving campus for another country in the spring semester of last year. The OCS Welcome Back Bonanza, held on September 13, served as a space for students to reflect on their study abroad experiences, reconnect with friends, and share what they learned with their peers. .
The study abroad experience attracts students from all walks of life with a wide range of motivations. For environmental studies and economics major Kali Natarajan, her program in Denmark gave her unique opportunities to engage with the environment in a practical area.
“My classes in Denmark were more about getting me out of the classroom,” Natarajan said. “We visited windmills and were there to learn about them, see them and touch them. I also had an agriculture class where instead of seeing pictures on a slide, we got to go to farms. »
Cormac Li, a senior politics student, mentioned that his internship in the Israeli parliament while attending Yeshiva religious school contributed to his personal growth. To be the first member of his family to return to Jerusalem in a thousand years while pursuing a wide range of political courses presented him with a unique opportunity.
“Going to Israel with the professors who have just returned from certain government agencies and research centers [means] they bring a whole new dimension to the classroom material,” Li said.
For senior rhetoric major Caitlin Barnes, studying in Granada was an opportunity to take her Spanish skills to a new level through full immersion.
“I had never taken so many classes where the lessons were in Spanish,” Barnes said. “The emails sent by the teachers were in Spanish and my homework had to be in Spanish. It was a challenge and pushed me to improve my comprehension of reading and writing in Spanish and my general fluency. »
The personal growth students experience while abroad enriches campus life for all returning students, as they bring valuable insights and lessons to campus.
“I really came out of my shell a lot. I think being in Denmark forced me to go out a bit more and do a bit more things,” Natarajan said. “I want to bring that to Whitman and realize that yes, [Whitman] is about school and academics, but also about personal growth, independence and learning.
Li agreed, mentioning how her overseas experience allowed her to see her interactions at Whitman in a different light.
“[In Israel] you meet people with all kinds of ideas, which sometimes makes you feel unfamiliar or uncomfortable. There, the environment, openness and directness will make you sit down and listen to other people’s opinions and voice your own,” Li said.
Stories of Whitman student experiences abroad demonstrate the richness of the OCS program experience.
“You had this experience of being in a whole different part of the world… no one else knows what it was like to take classes there, live in a new place, meet new people and to explore new restaurants and cafes,” Barnes said. . “Words can’t really explain to people what the experience was like; You just had to be there.”
As this year’s sophomore OCS information sessions begin, a new generation of students are preparing to travel, learn and grow globally, preparing to enrich campus with their new perspectives at their return.