Dear JagNews: Postcards from abroad

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As part of their visit, a group from University College visited the coast of Ghana in western Africa and did a canopy walk in the Kakum National Park where they saw "lots of incredible views of the forest that were breathtaking," said Jonathan Osoria, fifth from left. Photo courtesy of Jonathan Osoria

Few college experiences leave a lasting effect like studying abroad. Six Jags checked in over the summer to share their stories from overseas.

Greetings from Ghana

Jonathan Osoria, a pre-exercise-science senior, traveled with the inaugural University College trip to Ghana. The program focused on the trans-Atlantic slave trade and colonization in the African nation.

"I felt that I learned so much more on this trip than I have ever learned in any of my classes about the trans-Atlantic slave trade, colonization and Pan-Africanism. One thing that stood out to me was the hard work and unity of the people there. It reminded me of the stories my mom used to tell me about when she lived in Mexico. It also showed the hard work that she had to do to get my siblings and me to the point where we are today. From this, I found a new sense of gratitude back in the United States. I also found a new drive to do what I can to give back."

Hej and guten Tag

Gabriel Pachter is a graduate student in the Lilly Family School of Philanthropy. She traveled to Germany with the program Philanthropy and Public Policy: The German Context.

"I had the opportunity to tour Berlin's Jewish Museum. The first exhibit provided a series of vignettes sharing the stories of Jews living in Germany before World War II. Artifacts were presented from a time before persecution, and each artifact was linked to a story of death or survival. Even those who survived had to adapt quickly to new surroundings, which is portrayed beautifully in the disorienting Garden of Exile. The museum's second exhibit delved into the historic and modern issues dealing with life in the city of Jerusalem for Jews, Christians and Muslims. Members of each religious group have unique stories from the past and present that help make up today's mosaic within the city. This exhibit was a reminder of the personal within complex geopolitical situations. Each person has a story, and that story is meant to be heard."

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Macy Pohl, third from left, was in Stockholm, Sweden, with the Fairbanks School of Public Health this summer. Photo courtesy of Macy Pohl

Macy Pohl traveled with the Sweden Study Abroad Program through the IU Richard M. Fairbanks School of Public Health at IUPUI and spent a week learning about the Scandinavian country's culture and health care. The senior is majoring in health sciences.

"When first arriving to Stockholm, Sweden, I could have never imagined that in only a week I could develop such knowledge about the Swedish culture, or feel so welcome and accepted by the culture, nor did I expect to make lifelong connections and friendships through the program. Eight other amazing students and I embarked on an immersive trip to learn and understand Sweden's health care system through lectures, panels and interesting site visits. This trip was much more than an educational trip; it was an experience I would not trade for the world."

Cheers from China

Maria Sofia Rosales Martinez made the 13-hour flight to China, where she visited several businesses. Martinez will begin her senior year in the Kelley School of Business this fall, majoring in supply chain management and marketing as well as minoring in international studies.

"Today we got to visit the Yonyou Software Park and the Central University of Finance and Economics in Beijing. These were our last business visits in Beijing. I cannot believe how fast time is going by. I loved how the Yonyou Software Park was so welcoming; they had signs that said, 'Welcome for the Visit of Indiana University in Yonyou Software Park.' I loved seeing the architecture of the company and seeing the things that they have to offer to their employees. So far in all the business visits, I have noticed that the businesses are trying to find ways to be 'greener' and to conserve energy. I also liked that the company has a gym for its employees, and they even have tents so their employees can take naps, the idea being that they can work more efficiently if they're rested!"

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In addition to studying at a Chinese university, Zexing Yu, in the red hat, and classmates visited the Warrior Museum in Xi'an, famous for its terra-cotta soldiers. Photo courtesy of Zexing Yu

Zexing Yu, an Honors College junior majoring in accounting, studied in China through The Confucius Institute at IUPUI.

"My favorite part of this experience is getting to visit different cities in China. We went to Beijing, Xian and Guangzhou. I was born in Fuzhou, China, so it is very good experience for me to learn more about the country. I took three weeks of class at Sun Yat-Sen University, and I took the HSK 6 Chinese exam. After the program is over, I will be staying in Fuzhou with my family for the rest of the summer before school starts."

Hello from Hellas

Junior Renee Cook traveled to Paros, Greece, with the School of Informatics and Computing. After visiting an ancient ceramics studio and learning to throw a clay pot, the mathematics major discovered her dream superpower.

"I had the opportunity to venture into the ancient ceramics studio that lies underneath a more recent house construction. From the moment I stepped in, I couldn't help but wonder what all the different rooms were used for. Who were the potters that used this location as their studio? What other places are buried like this one? As we created a 3D model of the space, I couldn't help but try to imagine everything that this studio had seen. I came up with my own story for the space, but I wanted more.

"These experiences lead me to the discovery of my desired superpower: I want to be able to read the 'minds' of these types of artifacts. I would love to be able to touch one of the stone walls and be transported back in time to see just how picturesque the sights were in the archaic times or hold a piece of a vase and watch it piece back together in its prime."

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