Tag Archives: Travel

Change Corps: Alternative Spring Break reminds students of the world beyond Linfield

Linfield stresses a good relationship between students and the community that’s around us, not just the college community but the McMinnville community and even further. The Change Corps organized Alternative Spring Break aims to connect students to the world beyond Linfield. During Spring Break, students went on three different trips from Salem, Ore. to Oakland, Calif.

Sofia Webster, student director of Alternative Spring Break, organized the event with the group leaders. Sophomore Jasmine Libert, service coordinator of the hunger and homelessness awareness group, traveled to Salem to volunteer with and learn about the homeless in the city. Senior Linnaea Funk, service coordinator of youth empowerment and literacy, traveled to Oakland, Calif. with her group to volunteer with The Boys and Girls Club, teaching children how to read and showing them a life beyond theirs. Senior Kaleigh Ansdell led the Linfield Green Outreach group. She worked with several different sites to promote green living.

“The process is finding what groups properly accept our service-learning approach,” Webster said on picking a site for a trip. Change Corps service-learning approach involves students becoming involved with where they are volunteering. It wasn’t only about finishing the job they were given but being able to understand just how what they did affected people they worked with.

“Participants plan for months to go on these trips. They learn about the organizations they are serving, the social need surrounding the issue, and talk about how their daily lives are also affected by the social issue.  We help make the experience personal,” Interim Director for Community Engagement and Service, Joni Tonn said.

Each of the trips had its own way of making the experience personal. Webster and Libert were able to find various programs in Salem that would allow them not only to help but to understand who they were helping and exactly what their help was accomplishing.

Funk and her group learned the same about their volunteer work in Oakland.

“[They] immers[ed] themselves in the communities in Oakland, having students give [the children] a more positive understanding about what their possibilities in life are,” Webster said.

“I felt like I was really using my break to make a difference in the world, and I was able to go into the communities that needed our help and people not to come in and fix it but just help them,” freshman Alyssa Kaplan said about her experience in Oakland.

Out of the three, Ansdell’s group involved more of the outdoors.

“They worked at several different sites, starting at Camp Westwind. They cleaned out an enormous compost structure. They came back to campus and worked at the Homestead, an urban [community supported agriculture program],” Webster said. Andsell’s group also worked in the Linfield Garden.

Webster’s experience with Alternative Spring Break last year was the reason she applied to become the Alternative Spring Break’s student director.

“I actually did the program that went to Colorado last year. That inspired me to start getting heavily involved with Linfield in general,” Webster said.

Other students like Kaplan are barely starting their time at Linfield, but she has already been inspired by this experience.

“I’ll definitely do it again. I’m thinking about applying for Change Corps next year,” Kaplan said.

Gilberto Galvez/Features editor

Gilberto Galvez can be reached at linfieldreviewfeatures@gmail.com

Students gain experience from gap year Trips

Every student before their freshman year of college reaches that point where they feel they might not be ready for college. Most students ignore the doubts and move on to college, but a few decide they need a gap year to feel ready. Freshmen Ben Niesen and Anna Hurwitz took gap years to travel and to volunteer. Niesen joined AmeriCorps for 10 months, and Hurwitz backpacked across Europe then volunteered in Costa Rica.

Niesen applied to Linfield before he joined AmeriCorps and he was admitted. Linfield agreed to let him attend a year later if he was accepted into AmeriCorps.

“I immediately got cold feet and was worried that I wasn’t ready for college,” Niesen said. “So what I did was sign up for a program that was 10 times more difficult than college.”

Niesen’s 10 months in AmeriCorps were spent volunteering at four different sites.

“I was placed on a team of 11 people. We were essentially employees of the national government,” Niesen said. “You had to roll with the punches and go with what you were given.”

Most of the participants in Niesen’s section of AmeriCorps were 18 to 24 year old. The first site Niesen worked with his team, Blue Unit Team Seven, was Salton Sea in Southern California. They left for the project Nov. 10, 2012 Niesen and his team worked there for five

weeks on park maintenance. After their service there, the team received their winter break.

The next site the Niesen worked at was Sly Park near Lake Tahoe where Niesen and his team worked with children.

“We were meant to be sort of their chauffeurs or camp counselors,” Niesen said.

From Sly Park, Niesen was sent to work with a different team, Silver 2, working two miles out of Boise for a month putting up a fence.

The second site that Niesen worked at with Silver 2 was at Hell’s Canyon. At one point, Niesen almost got lost because he couldn’t stop taking pictures of the site.

Finally, Niesen returned to Blue seven to finish up in Sheridan, Wyo. He worked with Habitat for Humanity for five weeks.

After taking three weeks to graduated from AmeriCorps and receiving his education scholarship awards, Niesen felt ready to come to Linfield.

“Well, because AmeriCorps was the hardest thing I’ve ever had to do, [college] is nothing,” Niesen said. “It definitely helped me with my time management skills. I still procrastinate. I’m not going to lie, but there’s for me now a seeming willingness to just get it done.”

Hurwitz’s gap year experience was different from Niesen’s but no less formative. First, she backpacked through Europe for six weeks with her friend Naomi Tarling, and after, she volunteered in Costa Rica for two and a half months.

During her senior year, Hurwitz applied to a few schools, but she withdrew all her applications before she heard back.

“I knew that I wasn’t ready to go off to school,” Hurwitz said. “A friend and I just kind of on a whim thought, ‘Let’s go see something. Let’s do something.’”

On their trip to Europe, Tarling and Hurwitz visited 10 different countries, beginning and ending in Switzerland, where Tarling’s uncle lived. The 10 countries they visited were  Switzerland, Germany, Austria, Holland, Belgium, France, Spain, Italy, the Czech Republic and

finally Hungary.

“I bought my tickets a month before we left,” Hurwitz said. “We bought [travel] books and just kind of planned as we went.”

Hurwitz’s favorite city in Europe was Amsterdam, Holland.

“It felt like a combination city, as far as old world Europe and kind of an up and coming city,” Hurwitz said. “It’s such a beautiful city as well.”

After backpacking across Europe, Hurwitz looked for a place to volunteer in another country.

“My parents told me that if I wanted to go to Europe, I had to go and do a service trip as well,” Hurwitz said.

Hurwitz found her volunteer trip on Volunteer HQ, which she recommends to other looking for service trips. The trip had two aspects.

First, Hurwitz taught English at an orphanage in a suburb of San Jose for two months.

“I worked with 10 to 14 year old,” Hurwitz said. “I started off as a teacher’s aid, but I [later] got to teach my own class.”

While teaching Spanish, Hurwitz also had the opportunity to take Spanish classes.

“It helped me so much with my Spanish,” Hurwitz said. “I got to immediately use it in real life.”

Second, Hurwitz joined with biologists and other volunteers to work with endangered turtle eggs and hatchlings.

“We’d walk around the beach patrolling for turtles laying eggs,” Hurwitz said, “and we’d collect them with plastic bags and take them back to the hatchery.”

Hurwitz learned a lot from her gap year abroad about herself and about the world. She decided that she wants to major in international relations and Spanish.

“As soon as I graduate,  I want to get involved with more teaching,” Hurwitz said, “and I’d

like to go back to work with the turtles again.”

“[Traveling] really made me reevaluate my values as far as materialism and excess,” Hurwitz said. “It really made me want to minimize my lifestyle as far as clothing, money, the way I spend my time, and it made me want to travel more.”

Gilberto Galvez/Features editor

Gilberto Galvez can be reached at linfieldreviewfeatures@gmail.com

Freshman Anna Hurwitz releases 100 baby turtles into the ocean. This is the most important stage in turtle hatchling care.

Freshman Anna Hurwitz hides inside the “A” of an Amsterdam sign. Her favorite city that she visited while backpacking across Europe was Amsterdam.

Freshman Anna Hurwitz poses for a picture in front of a friend’s house in Costa Rica.

Freshman Anna Hurwitz volunteered at a turtle hatchery for two weeks during her service trip to Costa Rica.

Freshman Anna Hurwitz stands in front of the Eiffel tower, one of the stops on her trip through Europe.

Freshman Ben Niesen takes a break from weed-whacking campsites for the U.S. Army Engineer Corps.

Photo courtesy of Anna Hurwitz

Photo courtesy of Anna Hurwitz

Photo courtesy of Anna Hurwitz

Photo courtesy of Anna Hurwitz

Photo courtesy of Anna Hurwitz

Photo courtesy of Ben Niesen


Travels don’t have to drain your pocket

With the holiday season drawing near, it’s time for students to start figuring out how they will get home.

Near or far, prices for getting home will be high. With average Oregon gas prices at $3.76, you can bet that the cost to go home won’t be cheap.

First, let’s look at the price of a plane ticket, considering almost half of the Linfield student population is not from Oregon. According to the Bureau of Transportation Statistics, the national average airfare price right now is $355.72.

For college students, that’s a good chunk of change. Then, multiply that by two for a round-trip. That could easily cover part of the cost for our textbooks for a semester.

Look at the price for those of us who drive home for the holidays. The other 52 percent of Linfield students will stay in Oregon for the holidays.

They can decide to drive home with that $3.76 gas, or take the train or bus around the Northwest.

Just going from Portland to Seattle, Wash., will cost you $52 by train, and if you were to go to Eugene from Portland, it would cost $45 to go by train or $25 by bus.

Although these prices are significantly cheaper than paying for a plane ticket or gas, going back and forth can cost you.

Looking for cheap alternatives can be tiresome between finishing up midterms and other things.

But not all is lost. There are ways to get around expensive trips, or at least ways to make them cheaper.

For instance, there’s probably someone who lives somewhere near you.

For those of us from the greater Portland areas, you can get a ride to Portland from a friend, and then catch the public bus.

If you’re from Washington, consider taking the train. It’s cheaper than buying a plane ticket, it just takes a little longer, and sometimes train companies offer student discounts.

For those students from states not on the West Coast, find a frequent flyer program. As long as you’re flying here and back for the next few years, you’re sure to gain enough points to get one of those flights free.

When all else fails, find a good friend or family member who lives in the area. People tend to be nice around the holidays and would love to share it with a friend. Then you’re able to save up your money for the next long break.

Kaylyn Peterson
/Sports editor
Kaylyn Peterson can be reached at linfieldreviewsports@gmail.com