To broaden the experience of J-term (and let's be honest-so that we can live vicariously through the students who are on trips we can only imagine going on) the Center for Global Learning has asked students from each course to blog about their experiences and impressions while living off campus for the month. Several of the posts are insightful, some explanatory and others you just have to chuckle at (or with).
Some of our favorites so far include these unedited excerpts:
Led by: Nancy Barry, Luther professor of English, and Kristen Underwood, guest artist director of theatre
Blogger: Tim Komatsu
Excerpt: Yesterday, we went to the Globe Theatre, and the history nerd in me combined with the theatre geek in me to form one magical (although admittedly dorky) experience. The feeling of being on the Globe stage and wondering at what great actors had worked there (although, this Globe is only a recreation of the original Globe and was built in 1997) is staggering. The practical side of me was also amazed at the relative intimacy of the space: even though the theatre is giant (seating over 3,000), I felt as though I could see every seat clearly from the stage. We were lucky enough to take a tour and learn more about both Elizabethan culture and Shakespeare himself, which was incredible.
Led by: Pedro dos Santos, assistant professor of political science, and Cara Langston, visiting professor of Paideia
Blogger: Angel Wilford
Excerpt: Have you ever seen one of those movies or mocking TV episodes dealing with traveling where everything possible goes wrong, and you can't help but to laugh a little knowing that would never happen to you? Count your blessings. Don't worry though, we're all alive and less delusional than yesterday. PLUS, WE MADE IT TO BRASÍLIA! BUT, not without a fight.
Led by: Brad Chamberlain, associate professor of chemistry, and Lori Stanley, professor of anthropology
Blogger: Travis Houle
Excerpt: Upon returning for breakfast we were greeted by a choir of Monkeys swinging about the trees. Harvesting their morning fruit in the treetops they howled loudly, allowing us to finally put a face to the voices that had been screetching throughout the night. Our primate friends seemed to enjoy hanging around us, as they spent much of the morning playing just outside our classroom windows.
Other students, though not required, are also blogging about their experiences via different mediums. Google+ and Wordpress are among favorite avenues of student bloggers:
Led by: Carol Gilbertson, professor emerita of English, and Mark Muggli, professor emeritus of English
Blogger: Kaley Grosse
Excerpt: Walking seems like one of the most simple concepts to understand. Walking is the entire foundation of the class that I’m taking, the reason I’m studying abroad right now. Not that I thought the course would be easy by any means, but I thought understanding and describing walking and all it’s features would be much simpler, but it is actually more complicated and more complex than anyone might think. Why, you may ask, didn’t we just stay on campus and look at photos of Barcelona while discussing walking? On this trip I’ve learned that walking to and from places and the process of finding those places creates a much different, much richer experience of those places than simply looking at pictures and talking about them. Sometimes, the journey (the walk) to the place is more significant than where you’re going.
Led by: Brad Miller, associate professor of computer science
Blogger: Dan Wheelock
Excerpt: The day started off with a bang: Microsoft. By far the high point of the trip for me up to this point. First they walked us through what is a innovation center where they had technology that they believe will shape the future over the next decade. A lot of the things is kind of what I expected to see, but actually seeing it was pretty crazy. Although that sounds like it would be the best part, I think I got the most out of talking with Neil Leslie. He's been working for Microsoft for 22 years, and he's clearly a brilliant individual. He was really down to earth and straightforward with us about the state of the company (at one point he joked about how, to his disappointment, none of us had Outlook, saying "Thanks Gmail"). Don't get me wrong, he has the upmost confidence in Microsoft, and he illustrated what looks to be an incredible couple of years, set to make some real noise in the industry.
The full list of courses, with links to each group's blog, and the course description, itinerary and leaders, is available here.