Category Archives: Study Abroad

London Streets: Honors photo blog

The Honors program’s summer trip to London was an incredible learning experience for both faculty and students. Their course, “London Streets” took them throughout the city, personalizing literature they’d studied in previous courses and bringing history to life. Here are a few of their favorite moments captured on film! 

 

1

The first day on the train from Newbold to London, bright-eyed and ready to go. (Left to right, front: Amy Ramos (Exercise Science), Sarah Tanner (English), Grae McKelvie (BS Management); back: Ervin Jackson (Biochem), Sebastian Anderson (Graphic Design), a British person, Isabel McMillan (History)) (All class of 2021)

2

On the train, first day of week 2: (Left to right: Ervin, Grae, Sebastian, Sarah, Amy)

 

 

3

Where modern epidemiology and germ theory was born. This pump was ground zero for the cholera epidemic of 1854. (Left to right: Isabel, Ervin, Sebastian, Sarah, Amy, Grae)

 

4

In the 19th-century operating theatre of St. Thomas’s hospital (front to back: Sarah, Sebastian, Grae, Isabel, Amy, Ervin)

 

5

Suffragette propaganda in the People’s History Museum, Manchester (Sarah and Isabel)

 

6

Saying goodbye on the last day (Isabel, Sarah, Amy; Sebastian in back)

 

 

 

 

 

London Streets: Reflections On A Summer Study Tour

By Becky St. Clair

For three weeks this summer, Peter Katz, director of the Honors Program and professor of English, led a study tour for honors students in London, UK. Their course, “London Streets” took them throughout the city, personalizing literature they’d studied in previous courses and bringing history to life. Together, professor and students considered the ethics and obligations of seeing poverty both in Victorian times and now, interrogated the intersection between scientific regulation of health and governmental power, and traced the geographic and cultural impact of industrialization. 

“This trip was the best possible way I could have imagined my first excursion into Europe,” said honors student Sebastian Anderson. “It was the perfect balance between checking off the typical tourist attractions and activities while also getting to explore London in a more intimate way through our class trips and our readings.” 

Two participating students agreed to share their reflections on specific parts of their trip with us, so we could share their experiences directly with you, our readers. 

Isabel McMillan, history major

After a walking tour about the crimes of Jack the Ripper, I commented that his story was a female-centric story. I wished that when we told the stories of his victims we didn’t have to focus so much on the men, and could talk more about the women and their stories. One of my classmates pointed out history is male-centered, and society is misogynistic, and our storytelling of history has to be male-centric. 

Contemplating this perspective, I came to the conclusion that while it is not entirely wrong, it’s also not entirely right. 

I remembered this exhibit on a ship I saw in a Swedish museum once. The exhibit’s storytelling began with two of the women who were on the ship when it sank. The researchers did as much research as they could on these women, and learned quite a bit. Part of what they found included records of a woman who was in charge of building the ship, and how she met with the king about its progress. They also discovered records of another woman who ran a business vital to the building of that ship, as well as court documents detailing stories of women involved with court cases (there were laws against women being involved in court cases, and yet..). There was so much more. Most of this history was pre-Victoria. What I’m trying to say is that researching women and their lives is possible. Hard, but possible. 

Another thing I realized in all of this was by saying history is misogynistic and society is created for the white man, it gives people an excuse to not even try researching women. Allowing people to say the only way to tell women’s stories is through the point of view of the men in their lives allows people to not try, and to not feel guilty about their lack of effort. And that is not acceptable.

Sarah Tanner, English major

In looking over notes from this trip, I realized beginning on July 9, I switched from titling my class journal entries “reflections” to “reactions.” It wasn’t a deliberate move, but it matched the intensity of my interaction with the class and topics as we worked through some genuinely difficult discussions. 

 If I could distill this class into one key point, it would be, “bodies matter.” Politics, institutions, and good intentions all have their place, but unless we prioritize human bodies, their needs, and their desires, our ability to successfully empathize and care for those around us will forever be stunted. I want to believe on some level, most people recognize the truth in this, but until one is confronted with the immediacy of this need, it’s easy to overlook. Personally, it took almost stumbling over a homeless man outside the underground in Camden for me to recognize the necessity of enacting care for these bodies. And even then, when faced with the reality of his fraught situation, it was clear not everyone in our group processed the experience in the same way. 

 This class instilled in me a sense of urgency, an impulse to look more closely at the people around me and consider how I can help. And as much as I love modern literature, I have learned to stand in defense of the Victorian optimism that maintains that something can be done for these bodies. It just requires a degree of awareness (I’m convinced) results from trips such as this one. 

 Checking in with a structure or area’s effective gravity and reading it against one’s own response to that place is a practice vital to the optimist’s project. It requires constant self-reflection and comparison to the world beyond what is immediately available in a physical or bodily sense. Paradoxically, it creates a simultaneous drive for introspection and increased connection with others. While seemingly contradictory, I think this oscillation is important; to empathize, one must have a personal attachment to the shared effect, and that requires a degree of knowledge of self and others.  

 This practice is something I will definitely carry with me long after we all fly home; Victorian optimism has taken a piece of my heart. I want to be more aware, to see myself and others as more than separate components of a larger system, to seek out individual bodies in need of physical and emotional care. And more than foundational awareness, I want to be available to anyone who feels that need as well. 

 

Academic Spotlight: Honors

For the intellectually curious and the academically adept, the Honors Program at PUC provides a stimulating environment for completing General Education requirements for any baccalaureate degree with a cohort of serious scholars in seminars focused on in-depth understanding through lively discussions.

Honors courses encourage the exploration of challenging ideas through analytical reading, careful thinking, and stimulating discussions. These courses focus on depth of knowledge through a thematic approach that intertwines disciplines.

Why should you join the Honors Program at PUC?

  • Take an Honors seminar in another country
  • Be well-prepared for graduate and professional school
  • Take fewer General Education classes, making space for a potential second major 
  • Take home a diploma stamped “With Honors” 

Check out the Honors Program’s Instagram account @PUCHonors to see photos from their recent study tour to England!

Program entry requirements:

  • Strong reading and writing skills
  • Minimum 3.5 high school GPA
  • SAT of 1700 or ACT of 26
  • Highly motivated to pursue understanding

A Student’s Perspective

Recent graduate Laurel Kwon, who studied English and Honors at PUC, recently completed her final Honors project, for which she translated her understanding of Jane Eyre into a 10-minute piano composition. “I thought it would be fun to connect my English major side with my musical side,” she says. Read “Words to Notes: Honors Student Composes Piano Version of Jane Eyre” to learn more about Laurel’s capstone Honors project. 

You can also hear from alum Emily Mathe about her experience with Honors at PUC by reading her “4 Reasons You Might Belong in the Honors Program” blog post and why you should consider joining the Program!

Apply to the Honors Program

Apply to the Honors Program at PUC today! Visit puc.edu/honors to learn more about the Program, including faculty mentors, seminars, the capstone project, and other student opportunities. Freshmen enrollment is limited to 20 students per year. Online applications are reviewed monthly until all seats are filled. 

Questions? Our team of admissions counselors can talk with you about the college’s Honors Program and all of the academic programs the college offers. Call (800) 862-7080, option 2 or email admissions@puc.edu to get connected with a counselor now and start learning about all the options available to you! 

 

An Argentinian Preschool Birthday Party

By Adrienne Weiss

A disclaimer is necessary before you risk reading this article. I have an extreme tendency to become very enthusiastic about learning, this ailment is generally known as being a nerd. I love learning, genuinely enjoy sitting down with my textbook, and spending an afternoon studying is something I make time for. My phone is full of podcasts about science innovations, the history of language, psychology, and philosophy, and most of all, I become very animated talking about pedagogy and educational styles. Yet despite my unusual affinity for the (often grueling) acquisition of information and collecting of new experiences, there were parts of jumping into a year of Adventist Colleges Abroad in Argentina that were uncomfortable, even for me.

Indulge me in a thought experiment. Imagine you walk into a room where a preschool birthday party is in full force. Thirty small children in sparkly pink dresses and sneakers that light up when they run are squealing with glee. Each has three balloons they are attempting to keep in the air and enthusiastically and uncoordinatedly batting towards your face with ecstatic peals of laughter. This sensation is what I encountered walking into my great aunt’s house when I understood just enough Spanish I could no longer simply let it wash over me, and it rather had the dizzying effect of being pummeled with balloons.

On this side of the family, English is at such a level when a grandchild says, “Hello, nice to meet you,” the superb use of English is applauded by the entire crowded room of relatives. Upon entering this virtual preschool party, I was kindly offered a beige-colored smoothie that was nearly chewable and by the end of that evening, I knew everyone I met was related to me, yet it took me months to figure out how.

(Half of the aunts and uncles, and a third of the cousins are represented in these pictures.)

When asked, “How was your year in Argentina?” I have my answer ready: “Wonderful, I’m glad I went.” But how can nine months of experience be summarized in one word? There are two statements that better explain the result of a year as an exchange student and I cannot take credit for either statement. The first made me laugh: my dad’s friend declared I have “this new thing” in my brain. Spanish, an entire language, really is “a new thing.” It’s a tool that can be used in a large number of disciplines and I managed to put it into my brain in the space of nine months. The second statement is I have become what might be called “bicultural.” I have learned and integrated sufficiently that I will never be in one place without missing the other, or the people who live there.

Choosing to spend a year in the ACA Argentina program had many motivators for me: I wished to learn Spanish, I hoped for a year to step back from my fast-paced science major, and I saw the unique opportunity to get to know the family on my father’s side and understand their culture. Arriving in Argentina I had less of a culture shock than I had anticipated. My Argentinian and Uruguayan grandparents had traveled down a couple weeks before me to visit family and prepare to introduce me to their siblings who live there and get me settled in “la Villa,” the 95-percent-Adventist community surrounding “Universidad Adventista del Plata,” where ACA students attend school alongside the Argentinian students. 

My grandmother has two brothers who live within walking distance from my dormitory and the first week my grandparents took me to large family gatherings at each house, starting with Tío Roberto’s. As I had predicted, Spanish was tossed around the table and I watched it go flying by, feeling like I was at a tennis match. I quickly learned the art of the Argentinian kiss greeting, and a small vocabulary of niceties to pair with a smile when they offered unidentified food items. After a couple of hours at Tío Roberto’s house with two of his children and six of his grandchildren, I went back to my dorm room and took a long nap. This was only the first family gathering. The next one was the preschool party experience when I finally realized I had placed myself outside of my comfort zone and was about to learn in a way that was going to be a challenge even to a professed nerd.

I have also learned that often experiential learning is just as valuable as spending quality time with my textbooks. Trips to Brazil, Peru, Uruguay, and Chile taught me more about people, friendships, language, currency, planning, decision-making, and reminded me I am an adult more than four entire years of college with my nose in textbooks.

(My group of adventurers at Valparaiso in Chile and a view from “pan de Azucar” overlooking Rio De Janeiro.)

ACA helped me grow academically more than I expected. While learning a new language it is almost possible to feel the neural connections forming. I tired my friends with discussions about how I mixed up my languages and how fascinating this phenomenon was from a psychological perspective. Looking back at this year, I firmly believe I have grown, matured, and expanded my brain at least as much as studying organic chemistry for a year if not more.

The metacognition of learning a language fascinated me the entire year. I was constantly analyzing what parts of language my brain adopted easily and why, which words came to mind, or even noting moments when I was seeking a word and could not find it in either English or Spanish. I will encourage anyone I can to take a year abroad if only for the neuropathways that are created through learning a new language, with the bonus of seeing the world and making friends from across different continents. I believe regardless of which major I may be studying, the process of learning a new language will help me in learning all my other topics, and I hope to maintain my friendships from five continents.

With a little less time spent wrestling with numbers, I have allowed myself to observe creation with an eye toward the beauty and not just the organization of our world. Spring quarter, which in Argentina is actually fall, I was given the opportunity to participate in an internship working with the ESL teacher and helping students find opportunities to speak to real-live English-speakers. Our class began at 7 a.m., and we assistants watched the sunrise while walking to class. After observing a particularly vibrant orange, I commented to one of the ESL students how incredibly beautiful the bright sky was. He turned to me and replied, “Really? You mean you don’t have sunrises where you come from?” I realized it wasn’t beauty I lacked in my hometown, but an appreciation of my surroundings which I have gained this year with a conscious effort towards appreciating and soaking in the world around me, not just textbook facts.

(I will never stop missing Argentinian sunsets and sunrises. I would often delay my run until I could be sure to watch the sunset on my return trip.)

I believe only someone from outside of a culture can really view its beauty with fresh eyes. I hope having this new split perspective, I can maintain the ability to step fully into one culture or the other in order to observe American culture with Argentinian eyes, and Argentinian culture with American eyes, and avoid the jaded perspective of taking my culture for granted. Because if I learned anything this year it is that people, language, and all cultures really are beautiful.

My Life-Changing Year Studying Abroad in Spain

By Angela J. Wilensky

Growth. Independence. Relationships. Culture. Beauty. These are some of the words that come to my mind when I reflect on my incredible, unforgettable, life-changing study abroad experience. When the opportunity to write this blog post was presented to me, I more than happily agreed. However, I’ve definitely hit a wall: I have too much to say. I’m serious! I haven’t been able to organize my thoughts, thus postponing my submission. It’s just that I feel like I’ve lived more of my life in the past 8.5 months than I have in my first 19 years. I know all of this might sound a bit dramatic, but I don’t know how else to express how transformative this year has been for me. Here I am at the end of my course here, and I can honestly say that this has been the best year of my life thus far.

For one, I went completely out of my comfort zone: I have never moved outside of the Bay Area, I live only about an hour or so from my college, and I have never really been away from home AND my family for more than a week. So when I made the decision to move to a country whose official language I don’t speak, whose culture I know nothing about, and with people whom I’ve never met, I was blindly strapping myself into a rollercoaster. As you can probably imagine, it was 100 percent the wildest, most loop-filled, most fun and exciting ride I’ve ever been on, and I’m so proud I survived it. I learned Spanish; I traveled to 11 countries (and learned to travel with just a carry-on, something unheard of for me); I made some of my BEST friends, both American and Spanish; and I managed to grow in my relationship with God.

Staring with my studies; I mean, how cool is it to completely immerse yourself into a new culture and learn a completely new way of communicating? Personally, my main reason for studying abroad in Spain was, in fact, to learn Spanish. Everything else that came with it was just an extra bonus. I spent many months taking conversation, composition, grammar, and test prep classes, as well as some fun extracurriculars such as Flamenco, Folklore, Translation, and Health. Plus, I interned in the kitchen and taught ESL to first and second graders. Needless to say, I kept myself busy while having an absolute blast. And to top it all off, I received my DELE B1 official certification (Feel free to Google that on your own time)!

Straying a bit from all of the Spanish talk, I also traveled to so many new places both in and outside of Spain! My school took us on some amazing trips to locations all over Spain, Gibraltar, and Morocco, and I was able to do some independent adventuring in Portugal, Belgium, the Netherlands, Germany, the Czech Republic, England, France, Austria, and Malta. Experiencing the cultures of other countries has changed my perspective on life as a whole, as well as has given me a greater appreciation for everything I have back home in California.

Speaking of everything I have back home, I can’t even fathom how lucky I am to have met all of the people I did. Right at the beginning of the school year, the whole Adventist community in our area went on a campus ministries trip in the middle of Spain, and I was lucky enough to meet so many Spaniard right off the bat. Throughout the year, my friendships with them only grew better, and I know I now have lifetime friends here. Plus, I built strong relationships with my professors and other school faculty—relationships I will cherish forever. Of course, I also became extremely close to the other ESDES students from all of the different Adventist universities. I met some people this year that really did change my life, and they are a huge part of the reason I loved my year abroad.

To close, I found myself a lovely community of God-fearing church members with whom I felt comfortable, safe, and welcomed. My favorite Bible verse is found in Matthew 5:16, and it says, “In the same way, let your light shine before others, that they may see your good deeds and glorify your Father in heaven.” I’m incredibly humbled and blessed I was able to sing and share God’s goodness in that church with those beautiful people. I’m just so moved by the fact I can now glorify my God with a wider range of people because I’ve learned another language. I know this isn’t the type of “wow factor” most people would expect from a study abroad experience, but it truly made an impact on me and my time in Spain. I’ve never had to rely on God more than I’ve had to this year, so I really am thankful for everything I experienced on this remarkable journey.

Well, I’ve certainly written more about my experience than I was asked to, but I guess, in short, I just want to say if you’re even considering studying abroad in the slightest, go. One year abroad will not ruin all of your plans of graduating on time and getting on with life as soon as possible. Just slow down; there’s no rush. Study abroad now while you still have this incredible opportunity (before it’s too late and you really do have to get on with life). You won’t regret it. Regardless of how your experience goes, whether you’re abroad for just a summer or for an entire three quarters, you will grow and learn so much about yourself, and that in itself should be enough a reason to make that final decision to turn in those papers and hop on your flight to your new home.

PD Quería decir gracias por todo, España. Te echaré de menos y te prometo que regresaré algún día. Te quiero muchísimo.

My Year Studying Abroad in Spain

By Stefaan Dick

My name is Stefaan and I spent last year studying abroad in Spain, through the Adventist Colleges Abroad program at the Escuela Superior de Español de Sagunto (ESDES). As a photography major with a love for sharing the world around me, I’ve been asked to share some of my adventures here on PUC’s Admissions blog, for anyone interested in the ACA program. Here are 11 of the most representative shots from my year in Europe. To see more of my favorite photos, visit stefaanconrad.com.

Mountain biking from the Norwegian highlands down to the end of a fjord.

Cliff jumping on the school camp meeting weekend in Central Spain.

Abandoned wreckage on a black sand beach in Iceland.

Sunset over the small coastal town of Rovinj, Croatia.

Riding camels on the school trip to Morocco.

Reppin’ PUC above the most powerful waterfall in Europe in Northern Iceland.

Wandering through the April tulip fields near Amsterdam, Netherlands.

Camping in the hills above the ACA campus in Sagunto, Spain.

One of the top 10 lunch spots in the UK in the dunes near Bamburgh Castle in England.

Group photo of ESDES (the ACA program in Spain) on top of the Miguelete in Valencia, Spain.

Students on a school trip and locals passing by in the square underneath the great aqueduct in Segovia, Spain.