Edifying, Unforgettable --
Toward the end of each spring semester, most college students are making plans for the summer. Some are arranging jobs or internships, while others are planning vacations. For two groups of UAlbany students, however, this summer will present a truly memorable experience. These students are taking advantage of UAlbany's Summer Study Abroad program. One group of 24 students will journey through China, while another group of ten will be exploring Guatemala.
Urban studies and planning
Professor Chris Smith and history
Professor Jennifer Rudolph
will be accompanying the students studying in China.
Although the program only lasts for 3 weeks, the
students will be visiting 5 cities, starting in Hong
Kong, making stops at Shenzhen, Guangzhou, Nanjing,
and ending in Shanghai. Many students have arranged
to stay longer to see other cities, such as Beijing.
Freshman Stephen Kelly, a
political science major, said: "Visiting a place
like Hong Kong or Shanghai is a once in a life time
experience that the majority of people in this
country don't get to have. Recognizing that, I
jumped at the opportunity."
This program will immerse students into Chinese culture where they will directly experience themes such as the impacts of globalization, migration from rural to urban areas, the emergence of private housing, the increasing prevalence of social and health problems, as well as come into contact with many aspects of China's historical development. Senior Steffan Kilmer, a U.S. history major, said, "I am very excited to learn hands-on about the history being made in China." The format of the program allows UAlbany students to take part in field exploration, after which they will be required to write a research paper about their findings in China.
The second group, traveling to Guatemala, will be guided by anthropology Professor Walter Little. The students will take part in an intensive class, running from July 1 to July 22, which will teach them ethnographic field research methods, improve their Spanish language skills, as well as provide a unique cultural experience. Students will experience living with Ladino and Mayan families, taking a historical architectural tour of Antigua, and exploring Guatemalan textiles and markets.
Junior Kaitlin Kaminsky, an anthropology major, went to Guatemala last summer with Professor Little and will be returning this summer for her own travels. She wanted to be part of the abroad experience "to be submerged into a new lifestyle." Kaminsky said, "You listen to their music, eat their food, and live the life of a Guatemalan." Aside from absorbing all of the culture, the students will be completing an ongoing research project to learn what foreign tourists think about the place they visit, how that conforms to or diverges from the ways in which Antigua is represented in the tourism literature, and how their behavior conforms to or varies from their opinions.
For Kelly, Kilmer, Kaminsky and their fellow
students, this summer will be unforgettable. The
Summer Study Abroad program is an excellent
opportunity for students to visit foreign countries,
while earning course credits, without hindering
their fall and spring semesters at UAlbany. "I want
to experience a new culture first hand, not just by
reading about it in a book", said Kilmer.