This video captured the NGO internship experiences of 10 WWU students at the city of Hangzhou, Zhejiang Province, RPC from April 18, 2017 to April 25th, 2017.
Jacqui Silva – WWU EdAbroad Video Contest – Winner 2017
This video is a short documentation of our time in the Tropical Marine Biological Research class, which took place in La Paz, Mexico. For one month over the summer, we traveled around the Baja California Peninsula along-side students from a local university and learned about ocean processes, native organisms, and the relationships between them and the environment. We snorkeled mass amounts of coastlines, scaled hilltops, and combed beaches, taking copious amounts of notes and observations along the way. Aside from learning about scientific field techniques, we built relationships among our cohorts and instructors and learned what it took to be a team member in a scientific research setting. In our free time, we were able to explore the city with our new international friends and immerse ourselves in the Mexican culture and cuisine. This was my first experience in a tropical water setting and it was exciting to see the similarities and differences compared to the Puget Sound ecosystem. I can’t speak for my classmates, but this educational endeavor was among the best that I have had so far, allowing me to make professional connections and some life-long friendships. I am incredibly thankful to have had the opportunity to be a part of this class with the amazing students and instructors of WWU.
The video contains a few clips of my trip to Central and Eastern Europe with a group of Western Students. We visited Prague, Vienna, Bratislava, and Ljubljana. I also included my weekend trip to Berlin in the video as well. This expereince was significant to me because I never thought I would every visit these places and the group I went with was amazing. We created a bond that can’t be created anywhere else. It really opened my eyes to other cultures and made me want to experience other cultures.
In the summer of 2016, a group of WWU students and faculty went to Ulaanbaatar, Mongolia to conduct research on women leaders in the culture. Our days were packed to the brim of different interviews, research, and more, and we rarely got a chance to sleep or explore. However, in those moments where we did have a breath of fresh air and got the chance to drink in the culture, we had a lot of great laughs with the close friends we found there. While the trip was full of positive and negative experiences, we all learned a little more about who we are as leaders, who we are as human beings, and who we are as global citizens. While a lot of time has passed since the trip, I recently found the GoPro I used to capture some of the moments in the Mongolian countryside.I had forgotten about these special moments, and before I even knew there was a contest, I had already made this video to commemorate the times that make me laugh and smile. I included some of the spectacular landscape views, but the people that joined me on this adventure meant just as much to me and bring back happy memories of the adventure. I wanted to not only remember the sunsets and views, but the smiles and laughter of the people I was with. They were just as impactful as the history and customs of the culture. While this experience was a hard and difficult one, I know that because of it I learned so much about myself and others. I walk away with new perspectives and experiences, and while some of those moments may be negative, I know I’ve changed for the better. The song is also of significance to me- we would play that song over and over on the trip, and it slowly became the soundtrack of our adventure. Listening to it, I remember drives through the rugged terrain of the Hustai National Park, I remember climbing rocks and discovering abandoned eagle nests, I remember exploring ancient and uninhabited stone fortresses standing alone in a landscape, I remember marveling at the history of Ghengis Kham. But I also remember laughing in our bunk beds early in the morning, walking through crowded supermarkets trying to find an ice pack, playing card games late into the night because the WiFi was frustratingly spotty, and gripping the seats of taxi cabs as we weave through hectic traffic. These seemingly mundane daily activities were made into lifelong memories thanks to the amazing people I traveled alongside. There were lots of tears, lots of laughter, lots of pain, lots of curiosity, and lots of adventure thanks to this beautiful country.
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Although our study abroad trip was only one week, this was an incredible experience. A special thanks to Gigi Beraldi, our professor on this trip, who arranged a beautiful and educational experience for all of us. As my first time out of the country, this experience really opened my eyes to the culture that many of my friends are from. I absolutely fell in love with the desert, the pyramids, the churches, the handmade tortillas, the language, and of course, the culture. We biked dirt trails, hiked botanical gardens, explored the city, and ate more food than we could handle…and we loved every second of it. Thank you Gigi and Western Washington University and everyone else that made this trip possible – it was unforgettable.
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“Together, with others”. This was a common phrase among our wise friends in Kochia, Kenya; a rural village in western Kenya that sat alongside Lake Victoria. “Together, With Others” speaks on the idea that we must go through life, hand in hand. That we must work together, and work with others. During our unforgettable International Service Learning trip in Kochia, our team of 11 students from Western continued to learn the power of working together to create lasting friendships filled with joy, laughter, and purpose. This video reflects just that. It reflects the hands we held, the friendships we fostered, and the laughter we shared. Our team was consistently immersed in the fantastic, welcoming, and heart warming culture of Kenya as we continued to build upon friendships with Abba Integrated School of Excellence and Ombogo Girls Academy, both previous education partners of Western Washington University.
Edited by Kelsey Fowler