Over the 2019-2020 winter break students had the opportunity to travel to Nepal or Guatemala.
This was Kirkwood’s first year offering a study abroad opportunity in Nepal. The 10 students and two faculty leaders who traveled to Nepal stayed in hotels and hostels, with host families, and camped out as well.
They were also given the opportunity to go on a flight tour of Mount Everest, the pottery making district in Bhaktapur hike in the Himalayas and a whitewater rafting trip.
Student Maranda Wheelock said, “The things we learn on our study abroad cannot be read online.”
Student Faith Scullion said, “If you’re thinking about studying abroad I say do it. It has easily been one of the best and coolest experiences I’ve had the pleasure of experiencing. I’ve made those lifelong friends, seen a whole different way of life that most people never get to experience and I have a changed mindset on a lot of things but in a good way.”
Professor Jeff Sherman said, “In Katmandu temples had been destroyed but the city had received a lot of international aid after the 2015 earthquake but the villages were still in need of help. We worked with Sacred Sumit’s to be paired with a village to help. We worked with students and helped paint a school.”
On cultural immersion programs, students are able to try local cuisines, and learn about traditions, festivals, sports and even stay with host families.
Students will also work on service projects like building sustainable homes, before they return home in time for the spring semester to start.
Scullion also said, “I learned more about the culture then I could ever imagine. I learned about their religions, cultures, food, some of their hobbies, games but their versions of games that we have in America like, Tic-Tac-Toe or Rock Paper Scissors, etc. I loved getting to know more about their way of life.”
Sherman also said he and the students were “lucky to be given the opportunity to learn dancing and pottery from their host country.”
During winter break, nine students and one faculty also went to Guatemala on a community service program, in which students helped build two new homes, as well as taking part in cultural events like a Mayan ceremony and tortilla making.
Students were also able to visit a black sand beach on the Pacific Ocean, a jade factory and chocolate museum.
Ken Nesbit, study abroad advisor, said he “hopes that each student who studies abroad will be able to gain a new perspective on their lives and the world.”
Many of the study abroad application deadlines have been extended to Feb. 15 and beyond, so it is not too late to submit an application for a summer 2020 study abroad program.
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Jessica is in the Digital Arts program and previously graduated with an AA in Liberal Arts and a Bakery Certificate. She enjoys cooking, hiking with her dog, Daisy, taking pictures and spending time with her family.