Gavin Rich ’22
Dear Rudolph Family,
All thanks to your family’s generosity and support towards the Wabash community, I was afforded the opportunity to take a virtual study abroad course over the summer. Due to issues caused by COVID-19, I was not able to travel abroad; however, since I’m a Spanish major, the Off-Campus Study Committee and my academic advisor had encouraged me to participate in a virtual study abroad experience, which has been made common now because of the pandemic. This specific course that I took entitled “Spain and the Americas: From the pre-Columbian period to the present” covered material about the main pre-Columbian civilizations, the discovery of America, both the Spanish and English colonization of the Americas, the colonial era, the Cuban revolution, and much more. I shared a virtual classroom with five other students and Professor Delgado who is from Sevilla, Spain and gave his lectures in Spanish, exclusively. To my surprise, I found that myself and fellow classmates were more engaged and involved with our daily discussions than what I would’ve expected given the circumstances and limitations of our classes being entirely virtual. The high expectations set by our professor inspired deep and constructive conversations analyzing a wide range of topics such as the unity of Latin America or the economic/sociopolitical conditions between the US and Cuba.
Even though I was never physically able to visit Spain, my professor’s spirit and passion towards teaching and improving our understanding of the Spanish culture certainly managed to compensate for this obstacle. Many of our assignments incorporated not only lengthy, Wabash-like readings and discussion questions, but often included virtual tours and slide show presentations of the historical sites pertaining to our in-class discussions and debates. As for the assignments themselves, all of my homework assignments were to be submitted online, and my oral presentation over the architecture of pre-Columbian civilizations was also submitted virtually via a PowerPoint slideshow recording. I believe that while there would’ve been benefits to taking classes in person – in my experience – the virtual experience offered me a wide variety of courses to choose from, allowed for effortless access to my professor, and improved my self-discipline / technical skills which ultimately afforded me with an unforgettable experience that tailored to my needs all from the comfort of my home.
This was an opportunity that will always look back on blissfully and one that I will never take for granted. From this experience, I have grown a deeper appreciation for the diverse, rich, and complex cultures present throughout Latin America, and have been acquainted with many admirable students and an influential mentor in the process. Thanks again Rudolph family for being a part of what makes Wabash so remarkable, and for supporting and inspiring us students who hope to one day pay your generosity forward.
Gavin Rich ‘22