My name is Erika Helm-Buckman, and I am from Maple Valley, WA. I’m finishing up my senior year at Linfield college with a major in Exercise Science and a minor in Communication Arts. I decided to major in Exercise Science because sports have always been a huge part of my life, and the training aspect that comes with athletics has always been something that makes me happy. Right now, I play for the Linfield Women’s Lacrosse team, but I have grown up playing soccer, track, gymnastics, cheerleading, swimming, and my favorite, basketball. I have always used exercise as a method of stress relief, along with the benefits that come athletically. This caused me to think about the reasons that exercise allows me to relieve stress, and I became fascinated with the way that the body works. For the communication minor, I took a class freshman year called Interpersonal Communication, and all of the topics discussed in that class seemed to resonate with me right away. I continued to take more communication classes throughout my time at Linfield, and eventually, I took enough of the classes that were required to have a minor in it. I recently took an Intercultural Communication class, and this was the perfect class to take before taking off to the Bahamas.
I have always had an interest in cultures other than mine, especially growing up with two Deaf parents and being part of the deaf culture. Both the Deaf and hearing cultures have played a part in my life, and I have been fortunate enough to experience small pieces of the Mexican culture thanks to my grandmother, and the German culture thanks to my grandfather. An appreciation for other cultures is one of the reasons that I am so excited to be able to study in the Bahamas for the next month, and I couldn’t be more happy that I am able to combine my interest in health with my appreciation of cultures!