Tag Archives: experiences

Student shares study abroad experience in Mexico

“I know everyone says this about their abroad experience, but it honestly was the most incredible, eye-opening experience I’ve had in my life,” senior Emmylu Elliott said about her time spent in Oaxaca, Mexico.

Elliott described the way her abroad experience impacted her during a presentation, “Highlights of Oaxaca,” on March 21 in Jonasson Hall.

Elliott was required to study abroad for a semester in a Spanish-speaking country to fulfill a minor in Spanish. However, her experience meant more than learning a language.

“We take advantage of language here,” Elliott said. “When you get to a place where they speak another language, you make connections only because of speaking that language.”

She said that learning the language gave her deeper interactions with the people of Oaxaca. Her time spent in Oaxaca also allowed her to realize how diverse Mexican culture is.

“I think a lot of people get a false impression of what Mexico is like,” Elliott said.

Elliott and the other students traveled to many cities and historical sights. The trips were incorporated into their classes and helped them gain a better understanding of what they were learning.

“Not only were you learning about the Mexican culture, you were able to actually experience it,” Elliott said. “Not something you get to do every day, obviously.”

These trips took them to pre-Columbian archeological sites, such as Monte Albán, which was founded in 500 B.C. and is one of the oldest cities in Mesoamerica.

Tlahuitoltepec was Elliott’s favorite city that she visited while traveling for her classes. It is a small indigenous city that follows a traditional political system, where men customarily handle government issues.

To Elliott and the other students’ surprise, however, Tlahuitoltepec had a female president. They got to meet her and learn about her life and the city.

They also visited the classrooms of local children. They played games with the children and learned from the teachers why preserving native languages is so important.

Living with a host family taught Elliott many things about Mexican culture. It allowed her to understand what life is like in Oaxaca and gave her an opportunity to use the language to build relationships.

“Using [Spanish] to form a personal relationship was something that was really meaningful to me,” Elliott said.

Before going abroad, Elliott was nervous to step out of her comfort zone.

“I can’t stress nearly enough how glad I am that I pushed myself to do that,” Elliott said. “I wouldn’t be the same person today if I hadn’t. If I was able to overcome this initial fear, I honestly think anyone can.”

She urges any students studying abroad to fulfill a Spanish minor to equally consider the options of countries they can go to.

“It might end up being that Costa Rica is the right program for them, but they should know just how amazing the Oaxaca program is before they rule it out as an option,” Elliott said.

Elliott plans to live and teach in Spain next year.

“After going abroad, I feel like I can’t sit still here. I want to travel as much as I can and find another experience that is exciting and new, just like Oaxaca was.”

She said there is no better time to study abroad than while in college, especially at Linfield, where it is strongly encouraged.

“I feel like I changed both academically and personally from this experience,” Elliott said. “I encourage everyone to study abroad and fall in love with another culture like I did with Mexico.”

Carrie Skuzeski/Culture editor

Carrie Skuzeski can be reached at linfieldreviewculture@gmail.com.

Costa Rica tour reveals new experience for choir

The Linfield College Con- cert Choir did more than just sing at its first spring show- case performance at 7:30 p.m. Feb. 22 in Ice Auditorium.

The choir department spent 10 days in Costa Rica during January Term break from Feb. 2 to 12. In addition to performing, the students discussed their experiences and shared what they learned about Costa Rican culture and music.

“Essentially, we gave formal concerts almost every night,” said junior Jaimie McDonald, the choir tour manager.

The choir department visited Catholic and Methodist churches and several other locations in Costa Rica where it performed in front of Spanish speaking audiences.

“We shared our music with the people there during formal and informal performances, while transcending the language barriers,” Max Milander said. “Despite many of us not speaking Spanish and performing songs mainly in other languages, the power of music definitely helped us accomplish that goal. Thankfully, we all rose to the occasion night after night and kept a positive attitude no matter what the obstacles were.”

Language barriers were not the only aspect of Costa Rica that the choir depart- ment struggled with.

“There’s this cultural difference in timing,” McDonald said. “They run on ‘tico time,’ essentially, anywhere from 15 minutes to an hour behind schedule on everything. It actually helped us relax a little bit—we’re so used to being busy-bodies and needing to rush, but we had to slow down and learn to wait. It was good for us.”

Trips abroad are opportunities for students to bond and get to know one another in different environments.

“Every choir tour is an incredible opportunity for growth, both individually and as an ensemble,” McDonald said.
In addition to their performances, Linfield students did an exchange with local uni- versities and a children’s hospital. They also had free time in which they spent visiting a cloud forest and hot springs resort.
While in Costa Rica, the choir experienced Calypso music. Calypso is a style of Afro-Caribbean music that is common among most musical forms in Costa Rica.

“It’s hard to pick just one favorite memory out of this amazing trip,” sophomore Charlotte Laport said. “One of my top favorites would be to look out in the audience and to see President Hellie look so proud of us at every concert.”

President Hellie accompanied the choir department on its trip to Costa Rica.

“The choir sang well even at the beginning of the tour, but as it performed for increasingly enthusiastic audiences, it became more confident, relaxed, and unified,” Hellie said. “It was fun to hear them in such diverse venues: in cathedrals and performance halls but also in a city park, a hospital lobby, a cafeteria and even a tropical cloud forest. I was very proud to be with them.”

Sarah Mason
Staff writer

Sarah Mason can be reached at linfieldreviewculture@gmail.com.

Students’ college experiences are what they of make of them

I’m coming to the end of my freshman year in college, and while it hasn’t been everything I expected, I am happy to report that this year has been a success. I was terrified to come into this whole experience. I was worried that I wouldn’t make friends or that I wouldn’t succeed. I was most afraid that I might end up hating the school that I had signed my life away to.

Then I came to the realization that it’s all in the mindset. I know that sounds so cliché; that’s because it is, but it’s so true. Someone helped me understand that the experience is what you make of it. If you can come into every new chapter of your life realizing that it won’t be perfect, it will be a lot easier for you.

I had to remember that friends come and go. Wasn’t it the same way for all of us in high school? Some relationships are meant to be and some aren’t. You can’t force a friendship, you can’t expect to get along with everyone and you have to involve yourself in order to make new friends.

I realized somewhere along the way that there are indeed some things about this school that I don’t particularly like; that is bound to happen. Getting it in your head that a school is the absolute perfect fit for you is dangerous and leaves no room for disappointment or acceptance. For me, the pros of Linfield outweigh the cons by far. But I’ve come to see that isn’t the case for everyone.

I know so many people who are transferring, and at first, it surprised me. I’ve heard various reasons for this. For some people, the school and town are too small. Some dislike the teaching style. Linfield can be too expensive for many; or, students are unable to find their niches.

There are two sides I could take on this. I could say that these people didn’t have the right mindset and had their expectations too high. Running away isn’t the answer, and you should always try to make the best of things.

However, I understand where many of these people are coming from. College is trial and error, and it is also a huge part of your life. You need to be happy, and the experience won’t be beneficial if you are suffering or feeling trapped.

I admire these people for realizing that this school isn’t the right fit and having the courage to transfer. Personally, I love too many things about Linfield, and I don’t have the guts to start over.

What I can say with conviction is that the people who are transferring will be sorely missed. I only wish that this school worked as well for them as it does for me.

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Kelsey Sutton/
Copy chief
Kelsey Sutton can be reached at linfieldreviewcopy@gmail.com.