Three Wabash students spent last semester abroad as part of the Gilman International Scholarship program. While each resided in vastly different locations, they returned to campus with a similar thought: the connections made through cultures, people, and experiences made for a rich experience.
“The education, trips, and, most importantly, the different cultures to which I was exposed made this experience very enlightening and eye-opening,” said Rodolfo Solis ’18, who was based in Valencia, Spain. “As a result, this led me to appreciate the Spanish language and literature much more.”
Much of that appreciation can be seen in the interactions with people, whether it be host families or strangers met while traveling.
While on a trip to Cairo, Egypt, Dominick Rivers ’19 was on a run at the Great Pyramids of Giza, when he befriended a watchman named Nasar, who took him to parts of the site not available to the general public. From there, Rivers shared a dinner with his family, viewed Nasar’s artwork – a sculptor – and meditated.
“It was truly a fantastic experience that affirmed an already held belief,” said Rivers, who was based in Prague, Czech Republic. “As humans, we are in this together just to make life that much easier and enjoyable for one another.”
Solis was moved during a visit to Peñiscola, Spain. The town holds a noteworthy castle that dates back to the Crusades, and was recently featured prominently on HBO’s Game of Thrones. Such a journey was like a trip through time, according to Solis.
“I was able to do something that I never thought was possible, set foot in a historical monument previously used for an event that took place a little over 900 years ago,” he said.
Immanuel Mitchell-Sodipe ’18 spoke of shared experiences with his host family while in Guatemala. He remembered conversations with his host mother, Rubi, and connections made when discussing the issues that affect the poor and underrepresented.
“The world seems smaller, like people share my politics and experiences,” he said “People love, and they imagine a better world.”
Two of Wabash’s Gilman Scholarship recipients had traveled outside the United States previously. For Rivers, it was his first trip abroad, and he appreciated the familiarity he discovered.
“There might be a lot of land and sea that separates us, but deep down we are all looking for the same thing – to enjoy the time we have and to make it last,” he said.