Seeing the World Through New Eyes
“I have seen the beauty of other-centered living, the depth of relationships and the simplicity of valuing the non-monetary aspects of life that really matter,” said business administration major Lindsey Hand (’17) of her experience studying abroad in Zambezi.
Approximately 2,946 miles away, in the West African country of Benin, history major Robert Ercoli (’16) had a life-altering experience of his own.
“Looking back I’m starting to believe this journey has turned out to be one of the biggest (if not the biggest) formative experiences of my life. Authentic is a word I believe captures much of the feel this trip has conveyed,” he said.
Around the world, Gonzaga students are broadening their perspectives as they engage with cultures and each other in ways that teach beyond the traditional academic experience. For professor Kirk Besmer, who teaches core philosophy at the Gonzaga-in-Florence campus occasionally, the opportunity to explore the value and purpose of travel while sharing the experience with students, not just the material, “gives an urgency and vibrancy to [class] discussions.”
Back in Zambia, civil engineering major Allie Reiling (’16) found the opportunity to work with an organization called “Seeds of Hope,” which developed technology to clean drinking water. Her experience abroad inspired her both in her field and on a personal level.
“I now understand what it feels like to be in the minority,” she said. “I understand standing out because of my skin color. I understand the confusion of completely not understanding the local language. I have been exposed to these situations for the first time and although I do not have complete comprehension, these things carry me forward on my journey toward growth and self-awareness.”