“I could recognize the excitement that the Andalucian hub had in store for me as I heard young people singing in the streets and saw daring souls whipping around on their Vespas,” Lake Forest College junior Allie Parks wrote, describing her arrival in Granada last fall.
Parks is one of about 3,500 students at ACM colleges who have studied away from campus this academic year. On April 15-16, she will be among 26 students participating in the third annual ACM Student Symposium on Off-Campus Study in Chicago, where they will share stories of adventure, challenges, insights, and inspiration from their studies around the world.
The students’ presentations will be streamed live on the ACM website beginning at 1:30 p.m. (Central time) on Friday, April 15. See the 2011 Symposium webpage for the complete schedule and descriptions of the students’ presentation topics.
In sessions on Friday afternoon and Saturday, the Symposium participants will speak individually and then engage in panel discussions to address themes and questions raised in their presentations and to take questions from the audience. The Symposium will wrap up with a panel of faculty and administrators.
Off-campus study is a hallmark of liberal arts education at the 14 ACM colleges, and at many of the colleges a majority of students study off-campus at least once during their undergraduate careers. ACM has offered off-campus study programs for nearly 50 years and currently operates 15 consortial programs in the U.S. and Africa, Asia, Europe, and Latin America.
For Allie Parks, the semester in Granada provided much more than just a colorful swirl of activity on the streets around her. She also discovered new academic interests, developed her skills in an internship, and explored cultural differences through her homestay. “I feel so fortunate to have had the opportunity,” she concluded.
The 2011 Student Symposium participants are an eclectic group, both in their backgrounds and in the off-campus study programs they chose. Their majors represent nearly every area of study, from the sciences to the humanities, social sciences to nursing, and business to foreign languages. They have studied in locations around the globe – from England to Japan, South Africa to Costa Rica, and Chicago to Micronesia – and engaged in academic pursuits ranging from coursework to internships to independent research.
Here is a brief preview of four of the Symposium participants. Check out the live Symposium webcast on April 15-16 to see all of the students give their presentations.
>> Biological chemistry major and pre-med student Tequilla Manning took a hands-on approach to off-campus study when she worked in a healthcare clinic in Nicaragua. The Grinnell College senior spent a good share of her time visiting local schools and neighborhoods, as well as surrounding communities, as she worked with vaccination campaigns.
“To better understand the healthcare system and the community, I conducted two independent projects: I taught a self-esteem class at the woman’s center and conducted interviews with the patients at the clinic,” Manning noted. “Learning about the healthcare system, the culture, and the educational system were all vital to my experience abroad.”
>> An accounting major at Luther College, Eric Boyken combined a variety of academic approaches in two programs to study the effect that hosting the Olympic Games has on a city.
On the ACM Business, Entrepreneurship, & Society program (pictured at left), he examined Chicago’s bid for the 2016 Olympics through experiential learning and his internship.
Boyken followed that experience with a Luther program on Olympic Event Management this past January that took him to Germany, Italy, Switzerland, and the U.K. to study the socioeconomic impact of the Games on host cities.
>> For McKenzie Woolley, an environmental science major from Colorado College, off-campus study half-way around the globe in Thailand revealed parallels with her family’s roots in the logging business in western Oregon, and brought her some very personal insights.
“My time in mountainous villages of northern Thailand forced me to reconsider my lifelong narratives,” Woolley wrote in describing the topic of her presentation. “After returning from Thailand, my grandmother and I made plans to go out to the woods this summer and I am ecstatic to explore more of my history and understand another perspective in forest management.”
>> Morgan Sleeper (pictured at left), a senior at Macalester College majoring in linguistics and Asian languages and culture, studied Maori, the indigenous language of New Zealand.
“I’ll talk about the linguistic hurdles, surprises, and “wow” moments that come with learning a Polynesian language,” he wrote. “I’ll also share my encounter with the social situation surrounding Maori, the state of the Maori language “on the ground” today, and the attitudes I observed, both towards the language itself and towards my learning it.”
The 2011 Student Symposium webpage has abstracts of all the students’ presentations, showing the wide range of experiences and topics the students will bring to the Symposium.
Presentations and panel discussions will be streamed live on the ACM website at the following times (all Central time). See the Symposium schedule for details.
- Friday, April 15 at 1:30 –5:00 pm
- Saturday, April 16 at 9:30 – 11:30 am and 12:30 – 2:30 pm
Note: All photos are courtesy of the students shown.