Chelsey Crabbe ’17, a double major in history and community action, spent the Fall 2015 semester studying in South Africa through the Trinity in Cape Town program. The junior from Massachusetts is on the swimming and diving team and is a mentor for Trinity’s Venture women’s leadership program. Crabbe says she is passionate about traveling, so it is no surprise that she is Trinity’s Global Ambassador for Cape Town. She is excited to share some of her memorable experiences in this interview: Continue reading
Hadley Merrill ’17, a double major in environmental science and Hispanic studies, spent the Fall 2015 semester studying in Buenos Aires, Argentina, through the Trinity in Buenos Aires Study Away program. The junior from Connecticut is on the swimming and diving team. Merrill is Trinity’s Global Ambassador for Buenos Aires, and she shares some of her unforgettable experiences in the interview below:
What attracted you to South America and to the Trinity in Buenos Aires program in particular?
I wanted to study abroad in a country where I could interact with native speakers and improve my language skills, being a Hispanic studies major. Also, I had never been to South America so I thought study abroad would be a great opportunity to explore a part of the world that I knew little about.
What classes did you take while abroad, and how did they fit in with your course of study in Hartford?
In addition to the program core course, “Buenos Aires: The Urban. Experience, Human Rights and Cultural Production,” taught by Trinity in Buenos Aires Faculty-in-Residence Maria Silvina Persino, I enrolled directly in two classes at the Universidad del Salvador (USAL): art history and environmental science. I particularly enjoyed the environmental law class because it allowed me to combine my interests in both Spanish language and environmental studies. While it was challenging to take classes in another language with Argentine students, the professors were extremely understanding and helpful. Taking classes at a local university was a great way to form friendships with Argentines my age.
What tips do you have for overcoming the language barrier?
Adapting to a new place and culture is always a process. When I first arrived in Buenos Aires, I had difficulty articulating what I was trying to say, but with time I became more and more confident in my ability to communicate. My advice would be to not stress out! You will slowly break down the language barrier as you become more and more comfortable in your new surroundings.
What was your favorite trip outside of Buenos Aires?
Traveling around Argentina was a priority for me. During my time abroad I visited six different places in Argentina and Chile, and one of my favorites was my trip to the northern region of Argentina. My friends and I rented a car and did a five-day road trip through Salta, Argentina. The landscape is truly incredible up north and the life up north starkly contrasts with the city life.
Did you participate in an internship while studying away?
I had an internship with FARN (Fundación Ambiental Recursos Naturales), which is an environmental NGO. During my 13-week internship I worked on several projects regarding environmental issues in South America. Primarily, I gathered information on the World Bank’s involvement in large infrastructure projects in South America and how the World Bank’s safeguards either positively or negatively impacted the environment.
How did your semester in Buenos Aires change your perspective?
I matured exponentially over my five months in Buenos Aires. Without my parents close by I was forced to make my own decisions regarding school, travel, and work. I think I became more confident and independent.
What do you miss the most about your host country?
Every day there was something new to do, and I already have a list of things I plan on doing when I return.
What is the next travel destination on your ‘bucket list’?
I want to visit Nepal because the environmental scientist in me wants to visit the Himalayas to observe the impacts of climate change on the iconic mountain range.
Tell us about your Study Away experience in no more than five words.
A challenging, yet unforgettable experience.
Elizabeth Snyder ’17, a double major in American Studies and sociology, spent the Fall 2015 semester studying in Paris through the Trinity in Paris program. The junior from Princeton, New Jersey, is the community manager and co-leader for the Trinity College chapter of Spoon University. Snyder says that she loves the authentic Parisian experience, so it is no surprise that she is Trinity’s Global Ambassador for Paris:
|Emily Bernstein ’17, Isabelle Choy ’17,
Elizabeth Snyder ’17, and Klair Siciliano ’17.
What attracted you to the Trinity in Paris program?
I visited Paris a few years ago and have always wanted to go back. Primarily, I wanted to learn a new language after studying Spanish. Trinity’s Paris program has apartment-style housing, which spreads out across the city. It truly gave me an experience of living in an international city and not just studying there. Having to figure out how to commute to class, cook meals, and communicate in French made my time abroad feel like an authentic Parisian experience.
How did the academics enhance your course of study in Hartford?
I was able to take courses in sociology and American studies at the Trinity in Paris program, which counted towards my major requirements – “Sociology of Paris” and “Visual Culture of WWI.” I also took “Exotic Fare,” which focused on the food and culture of France, photography, and a French language class.
What surprised you most about your study away experience?
I was surprised by how much French I learned in a short period of time. The European lifestyle is very different, which was a nice break from the American college experience.
What was your favorite experience exploring Paris and beyond?
The weekend we spent in the Loire Valley was incredible. The amazing and varying in style chateaux that we saw were extraordinary. The open-air market that we explored was unbelievable, and the views of the French countryside were like none other. I also enjoyed my weekend trip visiting the house of one of our professors, Susan Loomis. She was my professor for the “Exotic Fares” class and previously a New York Times writer and food critic. She lives in a beautiful old house surrounded by apple and fig trees. Just past her fence overlooks an old Gothic church. We learned how to cook delicious French dishes and relished time away from the city in the French countryside.
|Elizabeth Snyder ’17, Catherine Cebulla ’17, Isabelle Choy ’17, and Leah McIntosh ’17.|
What do you miss the most about your host country?
Pastries. The café culture of France reflects the outlook on life that Parisians have and is something that I began to miss within the first few days of returning home.
What did you miss most about Trinity in Hartford while you were away?
I missed the sense of community that is present at Trinity in Hartford.
Where do you hope to travel next?
I would love to go to Peru and Brazil. The idea of hiking through Machu Picchu and taking in the excitement of Carnival in Rio de Janeiro would be incredible.
We are excited to announce a new series of posts: “Study Away Stories”.
Throughout this series, the Office of Study Away’s Global Ambassadors will share the experiences they had while studying abroad! These Q&As will highlight Trinity’s various study away locations and give you a taste of what is in store if you choose one of these exciting adventures. Stay tuned!
After two years as a resident assistant at Trinity College, I know that being an RA is about more than just asking students to turn down their music. As an RA, you get to play an important role in establishing a safe, supportive community environment that encourages the academic, personal, and social development of all students. RAs are also in charge of running events for the residence hall – anything from alcohol education and coloring book de-stressers to bringing in coffee and breakfast during class registration mornings. But where I take pride in being an RA is my accessibility to my residents. They know they can knock on my door any hour of the day or night, whether a resident has gotten locked out of their room or just needs a hug.
Trinity’s Office of Residential Life excels at hiring resident assistants who truly care. “I’ve always loved helping people and doing whatever I could to make sure they were happy,” said Bianca Shea ’18, an RA in Elton. “I love being in a first-year residence hall, helping girls with everything from homesickness to their classes.” One of Shea’s favorite memories is how a resident texted her one night to ask if they could talk. “We ended up spending two hours chatting about everything from our home towns to our classes. I just loved that she felt she could reach out to me and just talk, and from that we were able to create this friendship,” she said. “That’s the best part about it: I get to meet new people and I know I’m making an impact.”
Nick Constantine ’17, an upperclassman RA in Vernon Place, said, “I like helping people, and being an RA put me in a position to do so. I also feel that I can connect well with people.” Constantine explained that being a part of Residential Life creates bonds both between fellow staff members and with residents. “I loved the feeling of family that we created,” he said.
Associate Dean of Students Robert Lukaskiewicz said that being an RA comes with its share of challenges. “The RA role is a difficult one; RAs see students at their best as well as during times of personal adversity. Philosophically, I like to believe that students don’t necessarily choose for themselves to become an RA; rather, the RA role chooses them. When that happens, it is the very best kind of student leadership.” He also noticed that the RA community tends to be a perpetuating cycle of students filling the RA role because they themselves were inspired by an outstanding RA.
Wrapping up my junior year here at Trinity, I am starting to reminisce about the past three years spent ’neath the elms. Coming to Trinity was no easy task; moving from California and knowing only a handful of people was new territory for me. I will readily admit that during my matriculation, I asked the student next to me who spoke with a thick accent where in Australia he was from, to which he responded, “I’m from Boston.”
Despite the painfully obvious culture gap between me and the native New Englanders, I found myself referring to Trinity as home, even when sitting on the beach with friends back in California. But that was not an overnight transition; it took months of trying to meet new people, joining new clubs, practicing every day with the Trinity Women’s Rowing Team, and spending time with my RAs. At the end of my first year, when the housing lottery rolled around, I had the option to live with friends, but instead I declined, as I chose to become an RA and was assigned to North Campus. To me, this was the opportunity to pay it forward.
Being a first-year RA, although terrifying at first, gave me the biggest support group I have ever had. Even though it took time, my residents learned that I would always be there for them, just as they would always be there for me. Last spring my childhood dog, Winnie the Pooch, passed away, and many people on my floor brought me chocolate and tea. At the time, I wanted nothing more than to be home with my family, but as I sat in my room surrounded by residents, food, and Disney movies, I realized that I was already home. Even though we all came from different towns, played different sports, and studied different subjects, we were a family. There are times when residents tell me that they couldn’t have done it without me, and as cliché as it sounds, the feeling is mutual.