During spring break, more than 160 IUPUI students experienced the world through study abroad, with “classrooms” ranging from museums to the beach to the rainforest. The following four program locations highlight how students explored different dimensions of their fields of study, conducted service projects and more.
Twelve Honors College students from a variety of majors journeyed to beautiful Guanacaste, Costa Rica, for the annual Honors College Service Learning program. The service portion of the trip was divided into two groups working at Cartagena and Tempate elementary schools, allowing the students to go beyond the textbook and get an in-depth understanding of the current education system in Costa Rica.
The first group taught a variety of English lessons — greetings, body parts, food and nutrition. The second group assisted with teaching the importance of hygiene and best dental practices.
“Words cannot describe the feeling of getting to see how excited the students were to learn English from us,” student Amber Greaney shared. “One day we walked in, and all the students started chanting ‘English, English, English’ all together. Although we were the ones doing service, I felt like I gained more from the experience than I could ever give to them. This trip was truly the best week of my life.”
The group also participated in two language exchanges with local universities, practicing their Spanish skills and making friends with local Santa Cruz students. The group saw why Costa Rica is famous for ecotourism, receiving a tour of the Diria coffee plantation, hiking the rainforest surrounding the Miravalles volcano, and taking a natural mud bath followed by a dip in natural hot and cold springs.
“Before visiting Costa Rica, I had always seen myself as belonging to the United States solely,” student Lilly Pollard said. “Every individual I met in Costa Rica was so incredibly inviting and kind. I was able to make an impact on individuals in another country by volunteering at schools. My experience made me expand my thoughts of what makes a community, helping me grow and become a better global citizen.”
The Kelley School of Business‘ Argentina: Corporate Social Responsibility program exposed students to the economic and political history of Argentina, the social issues that its population faces today, and how businesses are helping to address those issues. The class completed a service-learning component and met with a variety of Argentine businesses.
“In discussion with these companies, I gained an understanding of how these businesses contribute toward the three pillars of sustainability,” shared program participant Vidula Gongade. “I also had an incredible volunteer experience with Proyecto Agua Segura, a company that creates solutions for the water crisis in the rural areas. My group and I visited a local school to build a rainwater-harvesting system with water filters and a vertical garden irrigation system.”
Two IUPUI programs based their courses in the United Kingdom’s capital city, a multicultural bastion with approximately 9 million inhabitants. With a timely topic, the Kelley School’s U.K.: Brexit, Business and Brits program explored how business is conducted in the U.K., examining the purpose and structure of the European Union and the potential impacts of Brexit.
“Studying abroad was one of the best decisions I made at IUPUI,” said Kelley student Gauri Nagaraj, who participated in the Brexit program. “I met so many new people, learned a lot of new things and explored the city of London — without Google Maps! It was an amazing experience to be in a city so full of history and culture.”
The second London program, offered by the Richard M. Fairbanks School of Public Health, took a look at the U.K.’s National Health Service for this year’s Health Systems Around the World course. Students visited London-area health facilities, met with local faculty, completed a public health scavenger hunt and toured historical sites directly related to health systems, including the Broad Street pump, site of the famous cholera outbreak of 1854.
Herron School of Art and Design‘s Exploring Art and Design in Denmark program allowed students to experience the public and private spaces that embody a people-centered approach to daily life in the Scandinavian city of Copenhagen. Students attended lectures from leading design groups with an emphasis on service design and had the opportunity to experience hygge firsthand by cooking a Danish and American meal in the home of some Danish hosts.
“Being exposed to well-designed solutions that address a particular problem has had the biggest influence on me,” student Caila Lutz reflected. “I am now confident that I can provide techniques and ideas similar to the ones used in Denmark for problem-solving in the United States. For example, at the airport, instead of scanning your ticket when you start boarding, you scan your ticket to get into a seating area when you first arrive at the gate, making the boarding process quicker and less stressful.
“I’ve learned so much from studying abroad, but with the growing city, there will always be more to learn.”