On Thursday, Oct. 22, student recipients of one of two scholarships related to activities abroad displayed their work at the Going Global Poster Session in the Great Hall. The various projects carried out by the group of current juniors and seniors demonstrated a wide range of international locations and interests.
Anh Nguyen ’10 traveled to Hanoi, Vietnam through a grant from the Initiative for Service Internships in International Development, a fund started in 2003 with the aim of supporting Carleton students in doing volunteer work abroad. As a volunteer for Peace Vietnam, Nguyen worked on an organic farm in the Friendship Village, whose self-described mission is to “cultivate reconciliation and heal the wounds of the Vietnam War,” and which aids those particularly afflicted by Agent Orange.
He also taught English to both younger students and employees of a nearby organization. Nguyen attempted to create an immersion environment by speaking only English and developed his own methods to ensure that the English he taught was not quickly forgotten.
“They really enjoyed playing Hangman,” he said. Nguyen also employed Dr. Seuss books as a teaching tool, but “getting [the students] to talk” was the most important way of firmly planting the English in their minds, he said.
One regret Nguyen had from his experience was participating in such a variety of activities while in Hanoi. “If I had focused more on just [teaching] the younger kids, it would have been better,” he said.
Through the same scholarship, Catherine Gardner ’10 volunteered at the Holt Ilsan Center, a residential care facility in South Korea. Herself an adoptee through Holt International, Gardner worked with special needs residents of the center, an experience she described as “intense.” The primary objective of the center and her goal while at the center was to “build a community,” she said, which fit well with the scholarship’s aim of helping those interested in “community development.”
Courtney Morris ’11 spent two months in France through the Richard T. Newman Family Fund for Language Study Internships, which provides funds for Carls to engage in international internships that could potentially lead to a career in the field of foreign languages. Looking for a “total immersion environment” and a way to improve his French, Morris lived and worked on Les Mussets, a farm that he found through Carleton professors. An International Relations major, Morris described his first days in France as a “constant struggle to communicate,” but enjoyed the agricultural work nonetheless.
Sophie Williams ’10, a Geology major and ENTS concentrator, spent her time at Rancho Mastatal in Costa Rica. According to its website, Rancho Mastatal is an “environmental learning and sustainable living center.” While there, Williams stayed true to that mission as she explored the area’s flora and later created a garden in a local elementary school. Her work was often difficult as it was the monsoon season, and thus a day could bring four to six inches of rain, dramatically thinning the topsoil and making gardening a challenge.
Myla Fay ’11, an American Studies major, taught science to students at the Siddhartha School in the Ladakh region of India. Despite her seemingly unrelated major, Fay found that Ladakh was the perfect place for her. Interested in both Buddhism and hiking, the mountainous Ladakh, often called “Little Tibet” for its strong Buddhist identity, served as a place where she could unite those passions in the form of international service.
Fay described her living situation during the trip as fairly unusual, as she did not stay with a host family. According to her, a visitor to the town can be quite controversial as every family hopes that the guest will stay with them.
Projects were also carried out in Bolivia, Morocco, and Tanzania among others.