Collin Bell ’17-

As I sit in my room and am talking with my classmates a common idea is thrown out that “You know, I don’t think I would have ever come here if it weren’t for this class.” I know for me I have never thought about coming and here and probably never would have. This immersion program offered me the opportunity to visit a city and culture that would not have been possible.Collin

Our class got the opportunity to visit Sapelo Island. Never have been in the United States and felt more out of the country. This island was purely stunning. From the second we got the island I felt that I had traveled to somewhere other than the United States. The people of this island were extremely opening to our class. During our tour we got to learn the history of the island and how it came to be. Many of the aspects that we learned about like the slave trade and diaspora of African people were subjects that we learned about in class. One stop during the tour we got to see the Reynolds Mansion. This house was extremely impressive. There were 18 rooms, a bowling alley, pool, circus room, library, and green house. For the time period and even now this mansion was and still is impressive.

Another opportunity that we had was to take a tour of the Gullah Geechee culture in downtown Savannah. During this tour we got to learn the history behind the First African Baptist Church and how their ancestors influenced the current generation and how the church came to be. Being able to read about the Gullah culture and history and then being able to see it in action was really interesting. Part of my project is to research the connection to ancestors and being able to see a church that was built by their ancestors is really interesting.

Front entrance to the First African Baptist Church.
Front entrance to the First African Baptist Church.

On our final day in Savannah we were able to visit the Oyotunji Village in South Carolina. This opportunity was quite an experience. Being able to see the Yoruba religion in practice was really interesting. During our visit, we were also able to meet the King and that in itself was awesome. Meeting the King of a tribe that lies in the United States but is its own region was something that would not have been possible without this trip.

This trip has presented me the opportunity to visit a city and island that would have never been possible or feasible. This being my first immersion program, it has given me an opportunity that I would have never been to do. Being able to immerse myself in a different culture and different location with fellow Wallies is an experience like none other.