Coming off a tremendous family weekend on campus, we must not forget all those students and their families studying abroad this term. Mountain Classroom has kept all of us up to speed on their experiences in the Southwest through their weekly blog posts
and reports back from Costa Rica are positive from Jake, Sophie, and Nick.
In Spain, ten students are spending the Spring Term living with host families, studying Spanish, and learning to live in another culture. Midway through their final term as program directors, Derek and Eva Mansell share a few thoughts on what it has meant to work for Proctor en Segovia over the past sixteen years in the ensuing paragraphs:
"What has been special about working for Proctor in Segovia for most of the past sixteen years? Yikes, that’s a big question... Luckily, it’s easy to answer: the opportunity to experience “Experiential Education” almost non-stop."
"It’s true that Eva and I have each taught a “regular” class every term, with much of the work concentrated on readings, class discussions and traditional forms of evaluation, but even in those classes, we’ve walked with students past medieval castles and churches, under the arches of a nearly 2000-year old Roman aqueduct and through the echoing halls of world-class museums."
"Yet it is the many other parts of this marvelous job that we will remember the most, both through our own eyes, and, especially, through the eyes of the many students who have come to Segovia and returned to Proctor transformed by an experience (or many) that they have had here."
"The moment when a student’s Spanish finally “kicks in,” and they have a real conversation with their homestay mother (about why they were late for lunch? what they want in their bag lunch for tomorrow’s walk in the countryside?), the discovery that they actually like olives, or that they don’t mind getting lost in a strange new city, because getting lost is an excuse to talk to a stranger, or wander into an unexpected beautiful courtyard."
"It’s tremendous to have a job that mostly consists of making it possible for each student to have her or his own experience. As directors, we just have to make this experience safe and academically challenging-- the rest is taken care of by Spain and by the students themselves-- and, thank goodness each group is different: funny, dramatic, sensitive and serious by turns, each providing a different experience for us and for the group."
"As for the students who come to Segovia, what will last the longest for us will be the friendships and new perspectives that can only come from a long and (at times) difficult experience. We understand ourselves and our own country and culture much better now that we have had to understand Spain. It might possibly be any other part of the world equally well, but there is something magic about this country, and I will always feel partly Spanish."
Many thanks to Derek and Eva for sharing their thoughts so honestly and openly with the community. My words cannot add anything to the above description of the transformative learning that takes place when studying abroad at Proctor. Our hope is that each student has a similar experience through one (or many) of our programs during his or her time at Proctor. To learn more about Proctor experiential off-campus programs and their impact, read this previous post
, or this post
, and be sure to check out the experiential home page here