Oh, the Places They Go! Summer Study Abroad

Lebanon, Ill. — Barcelona’s Gothic Quarter. Japan’s Mt. Fuji volcano. An 18th century castle on a Scottish loch. Windsor Castle. The Eiffel Tower. For some McKendree University students, summer learning takes place at internationally famous and historic sites, or classrooms an ocean apart.

Caitlyn Jacober, a Spanish and health and wellness double major from Trenton, is traveling throughout Spain and taking four classes at its University of Valencia until Aug. 7. Her goal this summer is to become completely fluent. “I want to be sitting at the beach or at a little cafe thinking only in Spanish; that's when I'll know that I'm fluent,” she said.

“Food is one of the things I'm looking forward to, especially the home cooked meals from my host mother,” she said before her departure. “You can bet that I will have 3,000 pictures of what I eat.” As promised, photos posted on Jacober’s entertaining and highly readable blog at https://valencia13.wordpress.com/ include not only Gaudi’s famous cathedral in Barcelona but also “a chocolate donut the size of my head,” she writes.

Since 1992, McKendree and the Tanaka Foundation have cooperated to send a professor and an underclassman or two to the annual Technos International Education Week in Japan. Dr. Kenji Tanaka, past chairman of Technos International College and an honorary McKendree trustee, developed the program to strengthen American-Japanese ties.

In June, Lindsay Hansard, a political science honors student from Belleville, Stephen Harris, a sophomore philosophy major from St. Louis, and accounting instructor Therese Kasson, of Breese, are exploring Japan’s history, traditions and contemporary culture. Follow their blog at https://technos2013.wordpress.com/.

Hansard is eager to learn about Kabuki theatre, the tea ceremony and Japanese literature. “I want to gain an understanding of modern Japanese citizens and how they live their daily lives. Interacting with Japanese students around my own age will offer me the chance to learn about diverse perspectives and relate to people I would have never otherwise had the chance to meet,” she said. “I most look forward to completely immersing myself in Japanese culture, and then seeing how that immersion changes me as a person. I know the experience will affect my writing and inspire me artistically.”

Harris wants “to learn about the different customs of personal and public relationships, the food, the art, the history, and the way in which Japanese life differs from the typical American lifestyle. Japanese culture is extraordinarily rich and unique and I am invigorated to know I have the opportunity to immerse myself in it!”

Alexandria Peach is enrolled at the University of Stirling in Scotland until July 13. “I will be able to gain all the great advantages of studying abroad without missing a beat at McKendree,” noted the junior psychology major from Wood River. Read her blog at https://acpeach.wordpress.com/

It is her second visit to Great Britain in less than a month. In May, Peach was among a group of nine students and two psychology professors who traveled to Windsor Castle, Sigmund Freud’s London home, the Cathedral of Notre Dame and the Louvre for a week as part of a study abroad course to London and Paris.

The group included Alex Adams of Belleville, Kaleigh Admire of Godfrey, Kaitlin Cartright of Auburn, Shallon Foggs of Fairview Heights, Brenna Olroyd of Carlinville, Nikolaus Pijut of Swansea, Holly Raesly of Mascoutah, and Bianca Wiggins of Cahokia.

The course combined on-campus study with international travel in a small, familiar group led by Dr. J.L. Simmons and Dr. Linda Hoffman. To prepare for their trip, the students sampled English clotted cream, lemon curd and French goat cheese, and practiced their conversational French and the British translation of certain American words.

Learn more about the variety of study abroad opportunities available at McKendree University at www.mckendree.edu/studyabroad.