Voyage Horizons Await
valencia ventures forth
AT SEA Honor
Voyage Horizons Await | 2012 Our Mission
Our mission as a publication is to introduce students to the many study-abroad opportunities available at Valencia and other colleges, and to prepare students to take the first step towards studying abroad.
Managing Editor Staff
Marianella Zapata Noriega Arieâ€™l Austin Jennifer DiDomenico Francesca Fey Juan Gutierrez Fred Lambert Edward Mueller Sarah Pariseau Amanda Smith Anisha Tandon
Sebastian Arbelaez Christopher Correa
Kent Nguyen Brittany Rose Mary Stevens
WANTED: PHOTOGRAPHERS Did you take this picture? Do you know who did? The photography in the magazine was used with permission of Valenciaâ€™s Study Abroad and Global Experience (SAGE) office. If you or someone you know is the photographer of any of the beautiful images featured in our magazine, please let us know.
Contents. Trip Tips Pay.
9 No money? No Problem Studying abroad is expensive, but help is available. Lucky you.
13 Travel To-Doâ€™s We made a list and checked it. Twice. Now itâ€™s your turn.
How to . . . 14 Pack to perfection 17 Take pics like a pro
11 Ch-ch-ch-chaanges 21 Lose the lag
SAGE is growing at Valencia.
valencia ventures forth Denmark Poland London, UK Guyana
mind grow your Starting on Page 22
Journeys Plantains, pineapples & super glue
72 A writer learns the finer arts of commerce on the mean streets of Hanoi.
Semester at Sea Nicole Rosa spent 105 days sailing around the world. And earning college credit.
80 FSU students cover the globe to study in the worldâ€™s coolest places.
Coming to America
82 Valencia College hosts its first international exchange student.
Confessions of a virgin traveler
84 A novice traveler chronicles her personal journey.
85 Professor Marshall Hall extols the many virtues of London.
There are two rules that govern both traveling and journalism: 1.) Be prepared for anything. 2.) The best stories come from the experiences you didn’t plan for. These truths were proved by two situations that arose while the Voyage staff was in London this past spring. Riding the Underground one afternoon, our crew struck up a conversation with a fellow passenger. The man, an American, had lived in London for 22 years working as a study-abroad professor. The perfect interview for this magazine had literally walked into the subway car with us. We scrambled for our supplies. Did no one have paper or pen?! Thankfully, Arie’l did. She saved the day by being prepared, and we snagged a great story by being open to new experiences. The next day, we were in a part of London that we hadn’t yet explored. We passed the London satellite of Florida State University, a campus abroad for students who study in London. Back in the States, we had contemplated contacting FSU to do a story about its program, and now here we were, standing on their doorstep. Some students walked up as we stood there, dressed in sweats and clutching bags of junk food. We were ready. Notebooks in hand, we captured a great story. Valencia College encourages foreign study to prepare students for a global future. Studying abroad is a fantastic first step into the international community. This magazine’s mission is to prepare students to take that step. We hope these pages are filled with knowledge, courage and inspiration for you to take with you on your journeys. Now go; a broad horizon awaits.
See the interview on page 85.
Read all about it! on page 80.
Shay Castle Editor-in-chief
Cover Photo Amanda Smith Special Thanks to Valerie Burks Richard Gair Deymond Hoyte Lee McCain Gustavo Morales Steve Myers Bonnie Oliver Eileen Perez Sandy Shugart Valencia SAGE Office Jennifer Robertson, Director Jessica King, Assistant CIA World Factbook Fonts “Motor Oil” by Mohammed Rahman “Hit the Road” by Matthew Welch “Arual” by Curtis Mack “
Like Giselle?” by Ammy K “Marker Palafotz” by Manuel Palafox
“The World is a book, and those who do not travel read only a page.” — St. Augustine
Welcome to Voyage, which is focused on the amazing opportunities international travel affords all of us to learn and grow.
I was fortunate enough to attend school overseas to finish my high school education. While the school was exceptional, I am sure I learned more from everyday life in another country and culture than I did from the classes I took – more about them and more about myself. In literature, there is a long tradition of journey stories, from the “Odyssey” to “Lord of the Rings.” I’ve always loved the metaphor of journey for our lives and for a life of learning. Jump in and begin to dream about experiencing a world both larger and smaller than any of us imagines. Look for opportunities to connect travel to your formal learning. Learn a new language and test yourself in an immersion experience. Begin to make friends among the astounding diversity of students already attending Valencia from nearly 100 different countries. The world is a book. Read as many chapters as you can.
Dr. Sanford C. Shugart, President Valencia College
It Takes Some Courage, But Saving Money Is Worth The Leap .
Get Free Savings Tips
Put Away A Few Bucks. Feel Like A Million Bucks.
Feed The Pig.org
Finance your Fun These simple changes will help you put some jingle in your piggy bank.
Cut it out Coffee-a-day habit? Cutting it out can save you . . .
120 a month
($4.00 a day X 30 days)
Change it up
Whether your study abroad trip is a week or a semester long, chances are it will be expensive. Luckily for you, there’s help.
Swap this . . .
. . . for this
No money? No problem
and save . . .
180 a month
(Value meal: $6.50; noodles: $.50) (Save $6.00 a day X 30 days) — SHAY CASTLE
Valencia SAGE office The Valencia SAGE office receives funding from student development, the Valencia foundation and federal grants to provide scholarships for SAGE programs. To qualify: You must have at least a 2.5 GPA and be enrolled in a minimum of three credit hours during spring or fall semesters but only 2 credit hours during the summer semester.
Financial Aid Degree-seeking Valencia students can apply financial aid to foreign study programs as long as the course awards academic credit and grades go towards cumulative GPA. Eligibility is determined by the type of study abroad program you attend and the type of financial aid you receive. Check out http://www.nafsa. org/students.sec/financial_aid_ for_study/ for more info.
Additional funding sources There are dozens of national and international scholarships available. Some are for particular majors, languages and fields of study, while others are gender or ethnic-specific. Several are open to all students or faculty. Visit http://www.studyabroad.com/scholarships.aspx for an — JUAN GUTIERREZ extensive list of available scholarships.
& more (but who cares about the other stuff?!)
Valencia SAGE is constantly looking for ways to help you. Stay up-to-date on trips, scholarships and helpful tips at http://valenciacollege.edu/international/studyabroad/default.cfm
© 2011 United Way Worldwide.
DIFFERENT BY NATURE
We come from different places. We come to different conclusions. But underneath it all, we share a passion for improving the human condition. When we LIVE UNITED, we create real, lasting change in the building blocks of life: the education, income and health of our communities, our families, even the person next to us. Real change won’t happen without you. SIGN UP TODAY AT LIVEUNITED.ORG.
GIVE. ADVOCATE. VOLUNTEER.
Ch-ch-ch-chaanges Valencia is mixing up the way it funds study abroad. Jennifer Robertson, director of SAGE, tells you what you need to know. Current funding model Valencia’s Study Abroad and Global Experience (SAGE) office applies for funds from federal grants, Student Development and the Valencia Foundation. These funds are divided up among all study abroad students equally, usually covering 50 percent of program costs for students. The 2011-12 academic year is the last year for this funding model. “There is no way that the college can grow study abroad and continue to fund students at 50 percent,” said Jennifer Robertson, Director of SAGE. “That worked when the same programs ran year after year and no new programs were approved.” Financial aid “Students who qualify for financial aid can still use it to cover the program costs,” Robertson said. “While the deposit is out-of-pocket, many students have been able to take advantage of the new process and use financial aid to cover some or all of the balance due.”
Faculty program leaders Until now, the expenses of the faculty leading study abroad trips has been covered under the SAGE budget. Under the new model, students will cover part of the costs of program leaders. “In order to grow study abroad, we decided to adopt the funding model that many other colleges and universities have adopted where students fund the program leader,” Robertson said. “While other schools also charge additional fees to students that cover all the costs of a student abroad department, Valencia College will not do that in order to keep costs affordable.” Since faculty leaders plan everything about the trip, from the tour company to dining and housing, the onus will be on them to keep costs to students low. “We will encourage our faculty to focus on keeping costs down for students; use providers that offer free tickets and apply for an Endowed Chair through the Foundation that could help offset costs,” Robertson said. “They are ultimately the ones who make that decision based on how they structure their programs.” — SHAY CASTLE
Sebastian Arbelaez Photography
Travel To-Do’s You’ve booked your f light and hotel, and you think you’re ready to go. But not so fastthere’s a lot to do at home before heading off into the wild blue yonder. BY MARIANELLA ZAPATA NORIEGA
6 months Visas - Needs change with every country; therefore, it is recommended that you contact the closest embassy for the country you are visiting 3 to 6 months before you are scheduled to leave to get specific information about your application.
Visit http://travel.state.gov/ for more info.
Get your shots - Visit the CDC website for recommended vaccinations to protect against food and water-born viruses common in less developed parts of the world. Some, like the vaccine for Hepatitis B, must be taken in a series of shots 4-6 months before departure, so go to your doctor as soon as your travel plans are conf irmed.
Go to http://wwwnc.cdc.gov/travel/destinations/list.htm
6 weeks Passports - The process for a new passport typically takes 4 to 6 weeks. Renewals can take 1-6 weeks, depending on the country where the passport is from. Passports can be expedited in 2 to 3 weeks, or in some cases 24 hours, but expect to pay some hefty fees, typically $140-$170 for U.S. passports. Call for credit - Most banks and credit card companies will stop your card from being used out-of-area unless you notify them prior to leaving. Let them know of your travel plans about a month before leaving the country, and double-check closer to your travel date.
1 week Plan for bills - Companies allow you to suspend service for the time you are gone or make arrangements for automatic or early bill pay. Hold your mail - A simple form is all that is needed. Visit your local post off ice, or go f ill one out at https://holdmail.usps.com/holdmail/ Copycat - Leave copies of all documents with someone in case of an emergency, along with f light and hotel information. Also leave a detailed itinerary along with contacts.
this k c e Ch
The U.S. State Department issues travel warnings about numerous countries. Check out their website for up-to-date information on places to avoid due to political and social unrest, natural disasters, high crime rates or terrorist activity.
Packed to perfection Think you canâ€™t fit everything you need for a week-long trip in a carry-on? With these amazing tips, youâ€™ll even have room left over for souvenirs. BY AMANDA SMITH & SHAY CASTLE
The 4-1-1 On 3-1-1 3.4 oz. bottle or less; 1 quart-sized, clear, plastic, zip-top bag; 1 bag per passenger. If in doubt, put liquids in checked baggage.
Roll It Baby! Roll your jeans and shirts up as tight as possible, then, keep everything in place by wrapping a belt around your clothes.
Make It Rain Stuff long, skinny items (like your umbrella) in after everything is packed.
more + Even handy tips: All Wrapped Up Pack your coat last. Fold it horizontally, lay it on top of your packed clothes.
Fine Lines Fold thinner items lengthwise to line the bottom of your suitcase.
Suitcase strategy Things to think about before you start packing.
Bag It & Tag It Secure your jewelry and underwear in a plastic bag. Use the bag to separate clean and dirty clothes on the trip home.
Strap Happy The luggage straps that come in your suitcase are you best friend. Fasten them over your clothes to create a few more inches of free space.
Don’t Know A Sole Lay your socks flat along the bottom of your shoes.
Know before you go
Knowing what the weather will be like where you’re going is vital. Try to plan for everything. Layering is key. A travel-sized umbrella and good sunglasses are always a good idea, too.
Check or carry-on?
Most major airlines allow each passenger to have a 22 x 14 x 9 in. carry-on bag. This size is great for mobility, but doesn’t allow for a lot of space. Look for a bag with a durable zipper, wheels and easy-to-use handle. Outside pockets are a good idea for easy access.
Minimum wardrobe; maximum style Plan your outfits so that bulky items (pants, sweaters, etc.) can be worn at least twice. Go for basic pieces that you can mix-and-match.
The coolest product ever! Paper Soap Stay healthy and clean no matter your destination by traveling with antibacterial paper soap. They even have paper shampoo, laundry detergent and body wash! Check it out at:
Your choice of footwear should depend on your destination. Most trips include lots of walking, so go for comfort over style. You’ll be away from your hotel for long periods of time, so shoes that are water-resistant are a plus.
— ANISHA TANDON
Chris Correa Photography
Take pics like a pro Whether you’re hiking through the rainforest or taking grandma to Bingo, you’re going to want top-quality pictures. Even an amateur can snap a fantastic photo by knowing these tips of the trade. BY FRANCESCA FEY
Focus, baby, focus Even an untrained eye can detect an out-of- focus photo. Lightly tap the shutter release and give your camera time to focus before snapping the picture. If you need to zoom, zoom first, then focus your camera. Too flashy The flash on most cameras only covers about 10 feet. If you’re trying to capture a vast landscape or an active sport, your flash will not have any effect. Program your camera’s settings yourself and practice without the flash. Practice makes perfect Take a picture and look at it. If you’re not happy, tweak the settings and shoot again. Once you get into the swing of things, you’ll develop a more accurate sense of what your camera can do for you and how you can personally determine the outcome and quality of your photos. Can’t take it? Fake it! Still unhappy with your snapshots? Don’t give up. Anything and everything can be photo shopped. The viewers of your pictures aren’t going to know what your photo has been through, only the fantastic final result. 1
Cool. Right. Now. 1
Telephoto, Fisheye & Macro/Wide-angle Lens Set
Detachable magnetic rings help these highquality lenses stick to any camera phone. ($49)
Want to shoot professional quality photos from your camera phone? All you need are these cool accessories, available from photojojo.com
2 The Glif
This handy tripod mount allows you to steady your camera for perfect pictures or video. ($20)
Dot iPhone Panorama Lens
Capture all of the action using the magic of mirrors. This lens lets you shoot 360-degree, interactive video. ($79)
There isnâ€™t an app for this.
Live, learn, and work with a community overseas. Be a Volunteer.
Good to go guides Reliable guides are vital in foreign environments, directing wayward travelers toward grander sights, tastier food and an enhanced sense of surroundings. BY FRED LAMBERT Lonely Planet Most informative More details is the name of the game with Lonely Planet. The guide is packed with listings of everything a traveler needs, from environmental information to food and drink spots, city maps to language translations and common phrases. Common tips,warnings and advice for individual cities are also covered in rich detail.
DK Eyewitness Travel Best visual It is divided into four parts: An overview of the subject nation replete with wildlife and history, a color-coded description of the country’s regions, a “Traveler’s Needs” section and a survival guide. With the diversity of information and eye-pleasing visuals, DK is well-balanced, but the luscious images give it an edge.
National Geographic Most user-friendly If those seized by wanderlust need visual aids mixed with contextual explanations of history, region and culture, then the always-slick layout of National Geographic is ideal. The color maps, top-notch photography and effective layout makes this an excellent guide for travelers who don’t need an encyclopedia, but a basic overview to lead them along the right path.
Appy Trails! Gone are the days of forgotten toothbrushes, mis-translations and aimless wanderings. You’ll be the smartest traveler around with these handy apps. BY JENNIFER DIDOMENICO & SARAH PARISEAU
Trip Advisor It will suggest places to "Stay, Eat and See" during your trip. By entering your location, its GPS will find all of the nearest hot spots, complete with reviews, pictures and directions.
uPacki List It's an electronic packing list that allows you to personalize your own list of items to bring along, sorted into categories such as clothes, hygiene preparations and etc.
Translator This handy app allows you to translate a phrase in 53 different languages. Just type in your phrase, and the translation will appear in text with an audio link.
This bracelet was a gift Amber Apodoca received from the center where she helped teens with drug and alcohol problems. She was wearing it when an underage drunk driver took her life.
Photo by Michael Mazzeo
Friends Donâ€™t Let Friends Drive Drunk.
Lose the lag Resetting your watch after a flight is easy. Resetting your body can be a bit trickier. By AMANDA SMITH
Getting off a flight feeling lethargic and sluggish is no way to start your trip (or jump back into the daily grind after an awesome vacation). Jet lag is caused when the body’s internal clock is thrown off by rapid travel. Usually associated with sleep deprivation due to a change of time zones, jet lag can affect your entire body, causing weakness, dehydration, loss of focus and even memory loss. It typically takes three to four days to get your body back on track, but who has time for that? Here are some tricks to beat that blah feeling. Eat light. No heavy meals before and during your flight. A fruit bowl or raw veggies and ranch dip would be a better choice.
Drink plenty of water before, during and after your flight. Two eight-ounce glasses of water pre-flight followed by a liter for every hour during flight is recommended.
Stay away from alcohol, motion-sickness drugs and other depressants before and during flight to avoid that groggy feeling.
Get a head start on your new schedule. If you’re traveling east, go to sleep a half-hour earlier before your trip. If traveling west, do the opposite.
Change your watch before take-off. As soon as you board the plane, set your watch to your destination’s timezone. If it’s nighttime where you’re headed, take a nap on the plane.
things to bring
These everyday items will make any plane trip more comforable. BY SHAY CASTLE
Eye Mask Blocking out the harsh airplane lights will help you nab some zzz’s.
Toothbrush & toothpaste Start vacation with funky breath? No, thank you.
Headphones Tune out the bad in-flight movies and crying babies so you can rest.
Valencia students trek the globe on a quest to learn in 7 fabulous
Quick Facts Location: Southern Asia, bordering the Arabian Sea and the Bay of Bengal, between Burma and Pakistan Total Area: 3,287,263 sq. km Land: 2,973,193 sq. km Water: 314,070 sq. km 7th largest country in the world Slightly more than one-third the size of the U.S. Climate: Varies from tropical monsoon in south to temperate in north Terrain: Upland plain in south, flat to rolling plain along the Ganges Population: 1,205,073,612 (July 2012 est.)
SerpentineStudy STORY BY
Most students spend semester breaks with family or friends, lying on beach towels in the sand or relaxing at home, assignment deadlines far from their minds. But there is another sect of students, one who travels to remote areas of the globe for the chance to observe exotic animals and plants in their native habitats.
Far from hoping to avoid creepycrawlers, these students seek out the deadly and dangerous in the name of education and conservation. Professor Steve Myers bravely leads groups of students abroad twice a year, to India during winter break as part of his field biology course, then to Guyana in the spring for neotropical ecology.
“To me, traveling is empowering,” Myers says. “Don’t go with what other people say. Strike out and do it.”
Myers has gone to India five times over the past six years. But the pull this South Asian country has on him goes back further, to his days as an undergrad at Florida State University. He was 21-years-old, studying biology and had communicated with herpetologist and conservationist Rom Whitaker. Whitaker, well-known through various PBS and National Geographic documentaries, used the expertise of the Irula in the 1970s, after widespread snake-hunting for
profitable hides led to an explosion in local rat populations. Eventually, the snake trade was banned, and many Irula found themselves without a way to make a living. Whitaker set up a snake catcher’s co-op, known as the Irula Snake Catcher’s Industrial Cooperative Society. The Irula are paid to capture vipers for the extraction of venom (known as “milking”) for use in anti-venom drugs. The snakes are then released back into the wild to control of the rat population.
“These folks are the legendary snake trackers of India. They’ve got a sixth sense for finding them.” 27
“Don’t be afraid to travel. Take the bull by the horns.”
Clockwise from top left:
Steve Myers and Rom Whitaker at the Madras Crocodile Bank and Snake Park. MacKenzie Norris gets up close and personal with a praying mantis. Myers and his students snap pictures while an Irula handles a King Cobra.
Students on the trips often work with the indigenous people to measure and observe snakes. The Irula’s unparalleled expertise in handling is an incredible learning experience for the students. Myers also takes groups to the Madras Crocodile Bank and Snake Park and Agumbe Rainforest research station in the Western Ghats, both established by Whitaker. These facilities are for the study and preservation of endangered species like the crocodile. Agumbe, which Myers calls a “biodiversity hotspot,” is the second rainiest place on earth, with 25 to 29 feet of precipitation annually. In one day, Myers and students
encountered five feet of rain. The Agumbe research station also doubles as the world’s first King Cobra preserve. Students have seen the world’s largest venomous snake - and their nests in the wild during previous trips. “There’s an incredible array of species,” Myers observes of the area. “The Ghats is truly a gem and a place worthy of study.” Learning about giant pit vipers and undiscovered species is just part of India. Students visit Hindu temples, sample local fare and learn traditional dances. “The India experience is one of total immersion in culture,” Myers says. “It is an amazing experience.” 29
Quick Facts Location: Bordering the North Atlantic Ocean, between Suriname and Venezuela Total Area: 214,969 sq. km Land: 196,849 sq. km Water: 18,120 sq. km 85th largest country in the world Slightly smaller than Idaho Climate: Tropical; hot, humid, moderated by northeast trade winds; two rainy seasons (May to August, November to January) Terrain: Mostly rolling highlands; low coastal plain; savanna in south Population: 741,908 (July 2012 est.)
An Amerindian girl plays in the Kurpukari rapids. Left: A local fisherman hauls in his impressive catch. Right: Kaieteur Falls in central Guyana, one of the world’s tallest waterfalls, is twice the size of Victoria Falls in Africa and five times larger than Niagra Falls.
Guyana: Land of Plenty STORY BY
A remote nation full of undocumented species and unexplored terrain, 75 percent of Guyana is rainforest. Fifteen different biological habitats can be found in the tiny coastal country, from swamp to savanna to white sand forest, and more than a dozen areas have been identified as potential protected environmental zones. “The reality is we know more about inner-space than we do about rainforests of the world,” Myers says. “I didn’t want to pick a country like Costa Rica, which more or less has become a resort. I wanted to go to a country where the interior is covered in rainforest and we can learn a lot.” 32
Myers and his students have encountered numerous forms of wildlife in Guyana’s interior, what he calls the “mega-fauna” of South America. Examples include the Harpy eagle, a jaguar (from a safe distance), giant anteaters, black caiman, a 15foot anaconda and the arapaima, one of the world’s largest freshwater fish. The group visits two Amerindian villages, Surama and Rewa. Amerindians are the indigenous people of Guyana. “The intriguing part is not only are we learning plant and animal relationships” Myers shares, “we’re learning about the Amerindians.”
“It’s going to be future generations that are going to
save these places.”
“Guyana is a very, very powerful trip.”
The Amerindians utilize local vegetation for food, shelter, medicine and even transportation, according to Myers. Students dine on an Amerindian diet, which is heavy on fish due to the multiple rivers that snake through Gayana’s interior. Myers also takes his groups to one of the world’s highest waterfalls, Kaieteur Falls, which is five times larger than Niagara Falls and twice the size of Victoria Falls in Africa. The helicopter ride to the falls yields breathtaking views. One of Myers’ most memorable experiences in Guyana was attending a shamanic religious ceremony. “Shaman – the medicine men there – are a dying breed,” he says. Entering the shaman’s house to see the performance of rituals, an extremely rare event, was a once-in-a-lifetime experience for Myers’ group.
One of the best parts about studying in biologically rich areas is that students are working in the same places where professionals work. “After we go to India, Rom Whitaker will have a National Geographic special on India or conservation or snakes and crocodiles, and students will say ‘I was there,’” Myers shares. “That’s very empowering.” Beyond biology and research, the greatest lesson that students learn is the preservation of national heritage. “We talk about conservation in India or Guyana, or America, but it’s a global problem,” Myers says. “As a planet, we need to consider conservation on a large scale.”
A Macushi Amerindian girl totes a handwoven basket through her village in Guyana. Above: Christa Jones shows off her henna in front of a Nephila spider web in the Western Ghats.
“No matter what part of the world you’re in, we’re all people that have the same needs and wants.
Everybody is just trying to live.”
Above: The crew goofing off with Rom Whitaker and Myers in India, winter break 2011. The group in Guyana, spring break 2012, at Kaietuer Falls, with professor Steve Myers.
“It becomes addicting,” Myers says of travel, which explains why he continues to lead groups to India and Guyana year after year. Multiple trips have allowed Myers to develop personal relationships with locals, so that all travel arrangements are made without the aid of a travel company. Myers likes the independence this gives his students to truly immerse themselves in the culture of the countries, perhaps to a greater extent than any other study abroad program at Valencia. Myers acknowledges the hesitation that some students have to traveling in remote locations, but
claims that bad experiences rarely occur on the trips. No one has ever suffered food poisoning or been hurt by wildlife, even though good portions of the trips are spent handling crocodiles, poisonous snakes and deadly insects. Clean, safe water, always a concern when traveling overseas, is not an issue. Water is filtered at the facility in India and bottled in Guyana. “Sometimes developing countries might be somewhat intimidating, but we’ve got excellent people we know in these parts of the world.” “Our trips are one hundred percent safe.”
Quick Facts Location: Eastern Asia, bordering the East China Sea, Korea Bay, Yellow Sea, and South China Sea, between North Korea and Vietnam Total Area: 9,596,961 sq. km Land: 9,569,901 sq. km Water: 27,060 sq. km 4th largest country in the world Slightly smaller than the U.S. Climate: Extremely diverse; tropical in south to subarctic in north Terrain: Mostly mountains, high plateaus, desserts in west; plains, deltas, and hills Population: 1,343,239,923 (July 2012 est.)
good fortune STORY BY
AMANDA SMITH & SHAY CASTLE
A common street scene in poorer villages contrasts sharply with the business districts in China’s biggest cities. Right: Bicycle taxis like these drive right alongside motor vehicles.
“Twenty years ago, China looked like Haiti,” professor Deymond Hoyte says. “Today, they have the world’s second-largest economy.” Those are just two of the many reasons why Hoyte will be taking his ninth group of students to study in China this summer. Hoyte, who teaches business and computer engineering technology at Valencia College, believes studying in China will inspire innovative thinking in his students. “Students benefit from seeing firsthand what drives other countries to be more productive than we are in certain areas; the cultural mind-set, the attitude,” Hoyte says. “The Chinese in particular have an incredibly strong work ethic.” “When you’re actually there and experience it, it’s amazing.” As the world’s largest exporter —or, as Hoyte calls it, “the world’s bread basket” — China plays a big role in the world economy. “I wanted to immerse the students into China and give them an opportunity to see why China has become so successful in a short period of time.”
It is no secret that China is steps ahead of other countries. The fastest high speed train in America travels at less than half the speed of the trains in China. For an American train, a trip from Shanghai to Beijing would average 150 miles per hour. That same trip for a Chinese train would be 300 miles per hour. “One of the keys to their success is entrepreneurship,” Hoyte explains. “Go to China, on the streets, everybody is trying to sell something, manufacture something.” Hoyte thinks the entrepreneurial spirit that once defined America has diminished. “Our culture is driven by the idea that you go to college for four years, get your degree, maybe your master’s and then get a job,” Hoyte says. “ In China, you go to school, learn the skills and then do something with those skills, put them to work.”
Hoyte feels that developing a driven culture should start in the classroom. “The schools here, like Valencia, have to learn how to facilitate that creativity, that entrepreneurship. There has to be a culture and atmosphere that drives change on campus, that cultivates a culture of creativity, of entrepreneurship and idea.” Hoyte has seen firsthand how his students have been inspired by the Chinese, bringing back the ideas of individual responsibility and personal motivation. “They come back, and they focus like a laser,” he said. “I saw one student who’s graduating with his accounting degree. I said, ‘So what are you going to do when you’re done?’ He said, ‘I’m already signed up for my master’s degree!’” “These are the same students I couldn’t get to come to class.”
Despite the success of trips to China in the past, Hoyte will not be leading a group there in 2013. Instead, he is working with Debbie Hall, an engineering professor, to develop a course focusing on alternative energy, with a new destination in mind as part of the curriculum. “We want to combine engineering and business to form that bond that is needed for alternative energy projects,” Hoyte explains. As part of the cross-major course, Hoyte plans to lead a study-abroad trip to Germany. Germany gets much less sunlight than
Florida, yet 30 percent of their total energy comes from alternative sources. “They are miles ahead of the curve,” Hoyte says. The field of alternative energy is ripe for business innovation in the Unites States, particularly in Florida. Abundant natural resources translate into unlimited potential for energy and, subsequently, jobs. “We don’t take advantage of energy we have here in Florida,” Hoyte shares. “There are tremendous opportunities for energy and in turn for new business development. We need to push in a more futuristic direction.”
“If we wait for change from the top, it won’t happen.” 42
â€œThere has to be a culture and atmosphere that drives change.â€?
Some of the group on the Great Wall during the 2011 trip to China and in front of the 2008 Olympic Stadium in Beijing in 2010.
Quick Facts Location: Western Europe, islands, including the northern one-sixth of the island of Ireland, between the North Atlantic Ocean and the North Sea Total Area: 243,610 sq. km Land: 241,930 sq. km Water: 1,680 sq. km 80th largest country in the world Slightly smaller than Oregon Climate: Temperate; moderated by prevailing southwest winds Terrain: Mostly rugged hills and low mountains Population: 63,047,162 (July 2012 est.)
Times STORY BY FRED LAMBERT
The Delta 747 from Miami touches down at London’s Heathrow at 8 a.m. The temperature is a cool 40 F, a steady drizzle falling from the overcast sky and slicking up the tarmac. Ten journalism students, under the guide of Valencia College journalism professor Ken Carpenter, have just arrived in London for a weeklong global immersion in journalism course. The group is whisked to their Central London hotel. It has been 12 hours since the students left Orlando. They are tired and stiff, but there is no time for rest, or even a shower, before a scheduled five-hour walking tour of the city. “The first day was the worst,” Carpenter recalls with a smile, warm and dry in his office. “They were walking us around to see Big Ben and the Houses of Parliament, and it was freezing cold and pouring down rain.” During the course, students immersed themselves in the workings of one the world’s most dynamic news and media hubs. “London has a legitimate, competitive journalism marketplace,” Carpenter explains. “All of their media is national with some local sprinkled in, versus ours, which is almost entirely local with some national sprinkled in.” London is home to several daily newspapers, from the venerable Times of London to an assortment of flashy tabloids.
Carpenter and his students visited major news venues, meeting with editors, PR agents and professional journalists. The group toured the facilities at The Guardian, one of London’s oldest daily newspapers, and met with the readers’ editor and managing editor for a Q&A session. They hung out on the set of CNBC Europe, where a live newscast on the European debt crisis was being filmed. They had breakfast with Marc Settle of the BBC, who trains reporters to use smart phones and social media, and dinner with a journalism grad student, to get what Carpenter calls “the student perspective on what they do and how they do it over there.” The most memorable meeting, at least for Carpenter, was with Tracy Corrigan, the editorin-chief of the Wall Street Journal Europe. “The Journal was really good, in several ways,” Carpenter says. “They have a very large staff working there. I thought it was going to be 20, 25 people. They have hundreds.” About two dozen reporters work exclusively for The Journal, and more than 100 others file stories to DOW Jones Newswires. “We were in that newsroom, and it was electric,” Carpenter said. “I turned to our students and said, ‘Look at all these jobs.’”
is perceived as a dying industry, like there’s no jobs to be had, and here was a room with 100 people working on assignments. It was really impressive.”
A view of the London Eye from across the River Thames. Left: The western facade of Westminster Abbey, the popular name of the Collegiate Church of St. Peter at Westminster. A view of St. Paul’s Cathedral from the roof terrace of a shopping mall.
London’s huge financial district is, in part, what drives the news market. Within London’s financial district is a one-square-mile area known as The City. More than 300,000 people work in the financial district, a melting pot of cultures, languages and ethnicities. London is one of the world’s most diverse cities, with over 250 languages spoken. “If it’s not the most diverse city, culturally, in the world, I don’t know what is,” Carpenter says. “It’s tremendous to get a look at another culture.”
“We live in this insular, little capsule. We think the U.S. is the best at everything, the newest at everything and the greatest at everything, and you learn we’ve got some work to do in certain areas.” The London trip was the first time Valencia’s journalism students traveled outside the United States. Carpenter said he wants to do it again if students are interested. “Contact professors, contact the SAGE office,” Carpenter urges. “Find a way. Valencia wants students to experience this.”
“Just do it.
You will learn so much and appreciate what’s going on elsewhere.” 48
“Find a way to experience this.”
The group in front of the British Museum in London, spring break 2012. Below: Hanging out at the headquarters of The Guardian.
Quick Facts Location: Central Europe, east of Germany Total Area: 312,685 sq. km Land: 304,255 sq. km Water: 8,430 sq. km 70th largest country in the world Slightly smaller than New Mexico Climate: Temperate with cold, cloudy, moderately severe winters with frequent precipitation; mild summers with frequent showers and thundershowers Terrain: Mostly flat plain; mountains along southern border Population: 38,415,284 (July 2012 est.)
moving past STORY BY JENNIFER DIDOMENICO
College students shuffle through the dark, dusty chambers of Auschwitz where millions of European Jews once took their last breath in the Nazi death camps of the 1940s. In a glass area sits a pile of shoes, stripped from the feet of victims moments before their death. A pile of human hair rests on the floor, shaved from the heads of the prisoners by their captors and executioners.” These aren’t the sights you would expect a group of college students to be seeing on their spring break. Every year, professor Richard Gair ushers a group of students through World War II-era concentration camps and memorial sites to see the horrors of the Holocaust. “This study-abroad trip is like visiting a classroom without walls,” Gair says. “The students are confronted with something they’ve never experienced before.” Gair teaches Holocaust studies, a three credit course, at Valencia College. This summer, the trip was extended by two days to include Prague, in addition to the eightday excursion in Poland. “This is a life-altering program,” Gair says. “The trip is a crucial part of the class.”
Chelsea Olsen sits near the tracks that lead to the entrance of Auschwitz, the notorious World War II concentration camp.
Gair’s first visit to Poland made a large impact on his life. He knew that he wanted to take students there to study. He wanted students to feel the same impact that he felt the first time he visited. Gair has the students gather as a group several times before traveling together. The group meets three times before departure; the first two meetings go over finances, boarding, safety procedures and other practical issues. The final meeting takes place at a Polish restaurant in Orlando. He feels it is important for unacquainted students to get to know one another before traveling outside of the country, as visiting death camps can cause emotional stress. “It is physically and mentally challenging,” warns Gair, “but it’s important for students to learn about what happened.”
In addition to visiting Holocaust sites such as the Warsaw ghetto, Auschwitz and Treblinka, students learn about the history and cultural traditions of Poland. “This trip has a tight schedule,” says Gair. “There is very little free time.” Along with sight-seeing comes a lot of hard work, since all Valencia study-abroad trips are worth three credits. The final project starts on the first day of the tripworksheets guide the students through each site, daily. As they visit each location, they complete worksheets and take notes. At the end of the trip, Gair ships these workbooks off for binding, allowing the students to keep their personalized books as mementos.
“It’s challenging, but it’s important to know
what happened.” 53
This marker is one of 17,000 that honor towns and families decimated by Nazi forces. Below: Arielle Poliner pauses for a moment of reflection outside of Birkeneau, the death camp of Auschwitz.
Gair also video records most of the trip. Along with taking video during the day, he captures nightly sessions where students discuss what they saw that day. “I decided to do this with the students so they could have a place to express their feelings about the tragic sites they see,” Gair explains. “It’s a good way for students to deal with the stress.” The video is uploaded to YouTube where students are able to share footage
with their families and reflect back on the trip. Gair also uses the footage as an advertisement for the next year’s trip, to give students an idea of what to expect. The sights aren’t easy for the students to see, but they are central to the experience. “The death camps are really the most significant part of the trip, from an emotional point of view,” Gair says. “There are no bad experiences. The students come back completely changed.”
classroom without walls.
â€œThis trip is a
The students come back completely changed.â€?
The group takes a break from serious study to have some fun in the city. Below: The group, with Professor Richard Gair, at one of the many memorials in Poland, summer 2011.
Quick Facts Location: Southern Europe, a peninsula extending into the Mediterranean Sea, northeast of Tunisia Total Area: 301,340 sq. km Land: 294,140 sq. km Water: 7,200 sq. km 72nd largest country in the world Slightly larger than Arizona Climate: Predominantly Mediterranean; Alpine in far north; hot, dry in south Terrain: Mostly rugged and mountainous; some plains, coastal lowlands Population: 61,261,254 (July 2012 est.)
STORY BY EDWARD MUELLER
“Expect the unexpected.” That’s the advice Catalina Perez has for students planning to study abroad as part of Valencia’s Honors Program. Every year, a group of honors students spends spring break in a foreign country. Past trips have been to Peru, Greece, Morocco and Austria. The fabulous locations change, but the mission stays the same: immerse students in global culture, a hands-on, interdisciplinary learning experience. “Going on trips, you actually see what you study,” says Perez. “One of the best things about traveling is that you learn so much and meet so many people that you become more openminded. You stop judging those cultures.”
The goal of exposing students to new things has influenced the selection process when it comes time to decide who gets to go. Students who are well-traveled or have more money to travel independently are less likely to be selected than those who have never traveled or can’t afford to. Students of the humanities also have a better chance of being selected. Student and faculty input is considered when choosing locations for upcoming trips, something Valerie Burks initiated when she became the new honors director last year. To select a new honors destination, Burks contacted honors professors requesting suggestions. She received only one reply: Italy.
“We are going to so many amazing places.” Burks felt instinctively that the historic location would attract interest, and the announcement followed days later. The decision was met with great enthusiasm. Chris Waltemate, a general education student selected for the trip, was very excited for the classic destination. “We are going to so many amazing places; Florence, Venice, Rome, Pompeii,” he said. “It’s hard for me to decide what will be the best part.” Walternate was looking forward to learning how to chemically restore artwork, in collaboration with chemistry professor Eileen Perez. Perez lectured students on the
restoration of art while they toured museums in Florence and Venice, discussing how weather damages works of art and how a delicate chemical processes can save them from ruin. Bonnier Oliver, professor of business and economics, planned to help students learn about the difficulties of economic integration within the European Union. Five countries face particularly grave troubles, including 20 percent unemployment rates. Along with Italy, Portugal, Ireland, Greece, and Spain share a nickname among the EU: The Five Pigs. Besides rich culture and history, Italy has one thing that students relish; exquisite cuisine.
“Don’t ever compare things to the U.S.
People think, differently, act differently, talk differently.”
The Coliseum from the street (above) and from inside. Right: The Last Judgement by Giorgio Vasari and Federico Zuccari inside the Duomo of Florence at Basilica di Santa Maria del Fior.
Photographs by Christopher Walternate
“Have an empty stomach,” advises Perez. “It’s not like here, where you see big, brandnames everywhere. There are actually really small local restaurants. They are the best, actually. Everything is homemade [and] fresh.” Destinations for honors trips are often wellknown locations, like Italy, that are portrayed heavily in movies and television shows, but Burks encourages students not to expect what they have seen on screen. “Do not develop too many expectations, either for good or bad things that will happen,”
she says. “The good part you encounter is way better than you can imagine.” Gustavo Morales, a geology professor, led the Honors trip to Spain and Morocco in 2010. His best advice to study abroad students is to forget what they know and open themselves completely to the new experience. “Don’t ever travel comparing things to the U.S.,” he says. “This is not the U.S. It’s this other place. People think, differently, act differently, talk differently.” “It’s neither good nor bad, just different.”
You have to be an honors student and at least 18 to travel with the Honors Program. Application does not guarantee selection.
Contact Bonnie Oliver for more information email@example.com
Quick Facts Location: Northern Europe, bordering the Baltic Sea and the North Sea, on a peninsula north of Germany (Jutland) Total Area: 43,094 sq. km Land: 42,434 sq. km Water: 660 sq. km 134th largest country in the world Slightly less than twice the size of Massachusetts Climate: Temperate; humid and overcast; mild winters and cool summers Terrain: Low and flat to gently rolling plains Population: 5,543,453 (July 2012 est.)
Getting down to business
STORY BY JUAN GUTIERREZ
in Denmark Tiny Denmark is best known for its fierce Viking ancestors and its ability to turn teak wood into sleek furniture. The picturesque Nordic nation seems an unlikely place to study business, but Valencia College business professor Lee McCain thinks there is plenty to learn from the country that gave the world Legos and has led the planet in wind energy for years. “We think the way we do business in America is exactly the same way we do business everywhere else in the world,” McCain says. “That’s just not true.”
Business is one of Valencia’s most popular majors. McCain takes a small group of students in his event management planning course to Denmark every spring to glean knowledge from the people of the prosperous nation. “The Danes are very industrious people, very welcoming, very friendly and relaxed,” McCain says, “completely different from the American ‘gogo-go’ mentality.” That cultural attitude, which McCain sees as key to Denmark’s success, is something that can’t be learned in a classroom, and one of the many reasons that studying abroad is so beneficial.
Roskilde, Denmark is home to the Viking Ship Museum, home to five original Viking ships found in Peberrenden, 20 km north of Roskilde. The excavation of the ships, started in 1962, took four months to complete.
After arriving in Copenhagen, students are whisked away for a bus ride across rolling green hills and through windmill-dotted fields to Roskilde, a town of 47,000, and the home of Roskilde Business College. Roskilde University is a public Danish university that was founded in 1972. The school hosts Valencia students for their stay. Last year, seven students lived and studied event management at the college for a week alongside local students. Roskilde also hosts groups from Sinclair Community College in Dayton Ohio, Roane State Community College in eastern Tennessee and the Institute of Technical Education (ITE) of Singapore. “Denmark is an excellent place to study because of Roskilde and the schools they work with,” McCain says. “They have a good program.” Each student in McCain’s course is part of a team that puts together their own business
presentation event. Teams have one week to complete the entire event management process, from selecting a venue to the review process after the event. Last year, in conjunction with an event in the capital city themed “Green Copenhagen,” teams brainstormed the various ways the theme could be interpreted and implemented to improve the community. One team developed “Place your butts here,” a campaign to place cigarette-butt disposal containers throughout the city. “They plan an event, market and execute it. Afterwards they discuss what went well, what they could do better, and what they would change if they could,” McCain says.
“It changes their lives. After they do it, they understand what it takes.”
Kronburg Castle, in Helsingor, Denmark, better known as Elsinore, the setting for William Shakespeare’s “Hamlet,” was built by King Eric VII in the 1420s. The fortress sits on an island at the narrowest point of Oresund, the sound between Denmark and Sweden.
Each team is made up of one student from each American school, one from ITE Singapore and one from Roskilde in Denmark. This mix enhances the learning opportunity, as each student brings their own nation’s business practices and customs to the project. Denmark’s business culture differs from America in several ways, according to McCain. Danes are known as direct and frank communicators. Sincerity and honesty are highly valued. McCain cautions that having the “gift of the gab” will get you nowhere if it’s not supported by logic or evidence, which is meticulously analyzed in any business transaction. Students are able to observe these behaviors firsthand from speakers brought in throughout the course to discuss different aspects of the event planning and trade show business. “It’s truly an experience they can only get in an international setting,” McCain says.
â€œYou can read from books, you can watch videos, but nothing says getting to know it better than doing it.â€?
The drive from Copenhagen to Roskilde. Left: The group in 2011 at Kronburg Castle.
THINGS TO KNOW India Remember cultural sensitivities. Don’t be loud, rude or boisterous. Be respectful to street beggars, don’t put your left hand on dinner tables, and be wary that
shaking your head actually means ‘YES.’ The Hindi influence in India limits food choice. “There may be some chicken, but
for the most part it’s vegetarian,” Myers warns. Indian cuisine also uses a myriad of spices, like curry.
Grasping one’s ears signifies repentance or sincerity.
30 different languages are spoken by more than a million native speakers. (2001 Census)
typhoid, polio and hepatitis are recommended, but not required. Malaria pills doxycycline
and malarone are also suggested. It is illegal for foreigners to
import or export Indian currency (rupees).
Guyana Guyanese food is influenced by
African, Creole, East Indian, Amerindian, Chinese and European culture. typhoid, yellow fever and hepatitis are recommended. Malaria pills doxycycline Vaccinations for
and malarone are also suggested.
Myers suggests attire not unfamiliar to Valencia students. “Dress as cool as possible.”
“Bring insect repellant.” “As Floridians traveling to these places we’re well suited for tropical climates.”
“Sometimes developing countries might be intimidating,” Myers admits, “but we’ve got excellent people we know in these parts of the world. Our trips are
Guyana is the only
English speaking country in South America.
The currency is the
BEFORE YOU GO China Censorship is very prevalent in China. The government will frequently shut down social media sites.
Don’t point or beckon with one finger. The gesture is considered extremely rude when directed at a person.
Swastikas are widely displayed in Buddhist temples. The symbol was inverted by the Nazis in the 1920s.
With over one billion residents, China is a very crowded country.
Don’t expect a lot of personal space, and don’t be surprised if you are jostled while standing in line.
Despite improvements prior to the 2008 Beijing Olympics, air quality remains poor.
Consider packing a cotton face mask.
London Be prepared for public transportation.
“The system is so incredibly good that you can get to and from pretty much anywhere with ease.” A week-long pass is a huge time saver, and it works on the underground, buses and trains.
London’s air quality is dicey. Many of the vehicles, like London’s famous black taxi cabs, are diesel powered.
That soot soaks into everything; hair, skin, clothes, and lungs.
There are very few
Carpenter’s advice to students who are thinking about this trip?
“Just do it.”
garbage cans on London
Carpenter advises traveling light, ideally with one carry-on bag.
“When you check bags, you never know if you’re going to lose them,” he says.
Local residents, especially children,
openly stare and point at tourists.
Traffic comes from the left. 69
Poland This trip is very emotional. You will see personal items that belonged to the people who were killed, and walk through gas chambers where victims were executed.
Polish people are proud of their languages, as they were protected at great cost during the German occupation.
It is a faux pas to confuse German or Russian words or names with Polish ones. The Polish are very old-fashioned when it comes to manners and etiquette.
Hats should never be worn indoors.
push to enter a place, and pull to get out. You
Exactly the opposite as in the United States.
You can’t walk into a church wearing a tank top or shorts. You need to be
to visit most holy places.
When walking into a store, especially clothing or shoes, in most cases you will have a shop assistant with you at all times.
Sometimes you won’t be allowed to even touch the things unless you’re trying them on. Credit cards are not widely accepted.
Poland is a staunch Catholic nation with a tradition of very strong gender roles. Although more accepted in urban areas,
LGBT issues are still somewhat taboo throughout the country.
There is a lot of coursework involved in this class. Worksheets must be filled out at each sightseeing location, and students meet daily for group discussion.
Always bring cash with you. Cappuccino is not forbidden in the afternoon, it’s just frowned upon following a meal. Tap water is never served. Restaurants only serve bottled water, despite the fact that it’s now safe.
Denmark An introductory business course is a prerequisite for
global perspectives in event management.
The course is offered by McCain and other Valencia business professors.
McCain advises learning a few Danish words and phrases before you go.
“Tak” is Danish for “thank you,” “selv tak” means “you’re welcome.” Surprisingly, there is no direct Danish equivalent for ‘please.’
Regulations for tap water are more strict than for bottled water in Denmark, so it is not uncommon for restaurants to serve tap water or
refill bottles from the sinks. Areas on the front and back of trains are designated as
It is considered rude to talk or make noise in these areas.
"Dress warmly," McCain advises. Spring weather in Denmark can windy and chilly, with average
temperatures between 40 and 60 F.
2012 - 2013 SAGE Trips India Field Biology Dec. 26 - Jan. 5 Dominican Republic Service Learning June 23 - July 1 Poland & Czech Republic Holocaust Studies June 21 - July 2 Guyana Neotropical Ecology Feb. 28 - March 9 England Leadership March 1 - March 10 Italy & Greece Humanities March 1 - March 9 France Honors Interdisciplinary Studies March 1 - March 10 Ecuador Spanish Language & Culture March 3 - March 10 Italy & Spain Economics March 8 - March 16 China Economic, Social & Cultural Impact May 22 - June 5 France & Belgium International Politics July 12 - July 21 Spain Computer Fundamentals May 31 - June 7
Plantains,, pineapples & super
How one writer learned the art of the hustle from Vietnamese vendors. STORY BY FRED LAMBERT Our first day in Vietnam. We find our hotel in the Old Quarter, shower and hit the town, eager to explore the muggy avenues. I exchange $25 into 505,000 dong. I figure that will be plenty of cash for the next few days on the streets of Hanoi. Being an American tourist, my attention is easily gained by a small Vietnamese man selling Zippo lighters with images of Ho Chi Minh and outlines of his country imprinted on the side. He wants 600,000 dong for two, about $30. “No, thanks,” we say, and continue on our way, but the man follows us for several blocks trying to haggle. We offer 5,000 dong, or a few bucks. He laughs at us, but still follows us down the street as we try to shrug him off. Another man begins to trail me, pointing at my sandals, which have a minor split in the heel. He starts fixing the heel without my go-ahead, wielding his small vial of super glue like a magic wand. The lighter salesman is still quoting prices. Another vendor shows up, waving bootleg paperback novels in my face. I catch a glimpse of Joseph Heller’s “Catch-22” and Jack Kerouac’s “On the Road,” so he earns my respect and a thumbs-up for good taste,
but I am not buying anything. I now have three street vendors in a frenzy around me. I keep saying, “No, com on” (No, thank you) but they don’t seem to get it or care. The glue man finishes and demands 200 dong for his efforts. I offer a hundred-bill and he insists, “No, 200.” It seems like too much, but I still didn’t get the currency conversion. I pull out my cash and count it, looking for the right bill. They don’t have change, and I say stupidly that I don’t have enough, even though they have already seen my cash roll. The lighter vendor, the rudest of the three, calls my bluff. “No, you have lots of money,” he says. The novel peddler is still shoving books under my nose, shouting prices. The glue man, looking impatient, waves the hundred-bill I gave him and says, again, “No, 200.” I toss another hundred-bill at him and get the hell out of there. “How much is 200 dong?” I ask Stephanie once the mob is a couple of blocks behind me. “Like, two cents,” she assures me. “Thank god,” I reply, amazed at the unbalanced comparison of dongs and dollars.
We stroll on down the street, feeling smug at having dispensed the locals for such a measly price. Almost immediately, some local women approach us, donning conical straw hats and wooden braces supporting roped fruit-baskets. They give a friendly greeting and try peddling some fruit. “No thanks,” we say, but they, like their male counterparts, persist. One tiny, old lady puts the brace up on my shoulder and her conical hat on my head. It’s the perfect photo op, and Stephanie can’t resist. She snaps a picture. The women swarm her with the same routine. One of them reaches for our Kodak and for a moment I expect her to run off with the camera. Instead, she takes a picture of the two of us, American tourists on the streets of Vietnam. I give the lady back her effects, and she hands me a bag of plantains and cut pineapple. I don’t want it, but being polite, I ask, “How much?” “One-fifty.”
I hand her another of my hundred-bills and she shows me an unidentifiable wad of blue and red dong, speaking her series of single-syllable words and shaking her head. “One-fifty,” she says again, so I give her another hundred, expecting some change. She snatches it away and says, “For two, for two,” pointing at Stephanie, also being handed a bag of plantains from the woman who snapped her picture. “Okay,” I say. As I turn toward Stephanie, the woman quickly disappears into the crowded street of vendors, clutching my cash in her hand. Stephanie is arguing with her street vendor, who is looking unhappy as Stephanie keeps answering ‘No’ to the woman’s unintelligible sales pitch. I grab the bag of plantains, trying to explain that I already paid for them. Despite the language barrier, it becomes clear that both fruit sellers were independent from one another.
I sit the bag at her feet and quickly walk away, Stephanie in tow. We stop at a restaurant to collect our thoughts. “So far I’ve spent 400 dong, and it’s only been five minutes,” I say. “That’s only like, four cents, right?” Stephanie checks her iPhone currency converter app and confirms as I casually count my bills. Something isn’t adding up, and when I realize it, I choke on my water. I have 105,000 dong left, 400,000 less than I started with. Instead of a comma after the amount (100,) the bills had a dot (100.) This must have made me think of American hundreds, but it still doesn’t account for the extra zero (100.000) and I realize my stupidity. I had shelled out 200,000 dong for some super-glue on my sandal and another 200,000 for a bag of hot, old fruit. That’s $19 American.
terrorism forces us to make a choice. We can be afraid. Or we can be ready.
ready www.ready.gov 1-800-BE-ready
How one student scored a semester at sea STORY BY SARAH PARISEAU
magine earning college credit for spending 105 days visiting 11 different countries and traveling the globe by cruise ship. It sounds like a dream vacation, but for Nicole Rosa, it was her version of a semester studying abroad. “Semester at Sea” was first established in 1963 and is academically sponsored by the University of Virginia. Rosa, an alumnus of Rollins College, set sail as part of the program in the fall of 2005. The amazing experience left her with much more than credits. “The voyage gave me a new
appreciation of the world outside of my own,” Rosa said. “Sometimes, we are so confined to our own ways of thought that we aren’t open to the good in the differences among other cultures.” Rosa definitely got the multi-cultural experience; her cruise took her to thirteen different countries; Bahamas, Venezuela, Brazil, South Africa, Mauritius, India, Myanmar, Vietnam, Cambodia, Hong Kong, China, Japan and a brief stop in Hawaii.
“Sometimes we are so confined to our own ways that we aren’t open to the good in other cultures.”
Nicole Rosa at Agra Fort and (left) the iconic Taj Mahal.
A rural roadside stand in India. Below: Golden Temple in Kyoto Japan.
osa, who double-majored in anthropology and religion, spent the voyage studying intercultural communication methods. She interviewed monks in Cambodian temples, and took breath-taking photographs in the Amazonian rain forests. One of the experiences that sticks out the most to Rosa was watching the sunrise on the Great Wall of China. “Every country had something incredibly special, from catching piranhas in the Amazon to seeing the neck rings of the Kayan women of Burma. The entire voyage was life changing.” Rosa also got the chance to listen to a series of lectures by famed South African archbishop Desmond Tutu. “I scribbled this in my notebook and it defines my greatest lesson: ‘I can’t be me, unless you are YOU. I need YOU for me to be me. My humanity is caught up in your humanity. Anything that diverts your humanity undermines mine. We are interdependent.’”
“The voyage gave me a new appreciation of the world outside of my own.”
Angkor Wat in Cambodia, the largest complex of Hindu temples in the world.
TAKEOVER BY SARAH PARISEAU
Students at Florida State University transform the world’s vacation destinations into virtual classrooms. Many colleges and universities provide opportunities to study abroad. Florida State University offers 50 International Programs (FSU IP) in 20 different countries. These programs are consistently rated in the top 15 of U.S. study abroad programs. Each year, FSU IP sends 1,600 students around the world to any one of their many study abroad locations. Last spring, a group of Valencia College journalism students studying abroad happened upon FSU student Kat
Porter-Wolf outside of the FSU IP facility in London. The students had an opportunity to speak with her about her experiences. Porter-Wolf, a freshman at FSU, is part of the First Year Abroad program. She saw a brochure highlighting the London program and knew right away it was something she wanted to be a part of. “I was very excited to go to London,” she said. “I was ready to spread my wings and see the world on my own.”
Porter-Wolf is a creative writing major and is planning to double-major in psychology. “The classes here are great,” she said. “The class sizes are relatively small, which is great because you really get that one-onone time with your teachers, if you need it.” While she’s been living in London for the semester, she’s been able to partake in many extracurricular activities. “There are so many things that we’ve been able to do here in London,” Porter-Wolf said. “Our program assistants set up all sorts of day trips and tours around the city.” One advantage of living and studying in such a large metropolis is that there is never a shortage of things to do and see, and public transportation puts it all within reach. “My favorite part about living here is how close we are to everything,” Porter-Wolf said. “Most things that we need are at most
a 15 minute walk away.” Adjusting to a different culture has been relatively easy for Porter-Wolf. The thing she misses most about home is the plentiful Florida sunshine. “My least favorite thing would have to be the cold weather,” she admitted. “We’ve honestly been really lucky. We’ve had some really mild weather.” Weather aside, Porter-Wolf has no regrets about this experience, one that she says has changed her for the better. “I would definitely recommend this program to other students,” she said. “It’s such a fabulous experience and it really teaches you a lot about yourself.” “This experience forces you out of your comfort zone and makes you try new things that you might never have dared to try at home. I’ve grown so much as a person [because of] the diversity of the people here.”
For more information on Florida State’s IP programs, go to http://international.fsu.edu/
Semester at Valencia
Coming to America Michelle Steffensen of Denmark became the first exchange student in Valencia College’s visitor program to spend a semester here, traveling to Florida to learn about business, fun and the American dream.
INTERVIEW BY SARAH PARISEAU
How many others came with you? I was the only one! Other students from my class went to Australia, London and Amsterdam, but I was the first student from my area of study in Denmark to go to the States. How long were you in Orlando? My trip was for almost five months. I arrived at the beginning of August and I left Orlando at the end of December. How was the flight? It took 10 hours to get to Orlando. I had a one-hour flight from Copenhagen to Manchester and then nine hours from Manchester to Orlando. It was a long trip but I didn't mind. It gave me time to think about all the things I just left and the things I was about to face.
“I learned a lot about myself. Today I would do it again without hesitation.” What did you study at Valencia? I am in my fifth semester of my Bachelor in Leisure Management. I had to take six classes which were tied in with my study in Denmark. At Valencia, I took macroeconomics, introduction to humanities, fitness and wellness, introduction to business, sound for media, and business of music.
What did you find the most surprising about the United States? I was surprised about how open and friendly everyone is. You don't know anyone when you get there, but everyone is very kind and curious. I really enjoyed hanging out with everyone I got to know. Another thing that surprised me was the culture, which I find very different from Denmark. People talk a lot about money and work. In Denmark it's quite different because we don't.
Journeys. What did you discover about yourself during the trip? I learned a lot about myself. I was very nervous about going, but today I would do it again without hesitation. I realized that it is very important to me having people I love around me. My family and friends are what I really value in life, above everything else. Money is less important to me. Of course I want money. I need money. But I don’t need a lot of money to just buy stuff that I don’t really need. What was the first thing you packed in your suitcase? The first thing I packed was my computer. It was important to me to be able to go online to talk to family and friends while I was gone. I wanted to stay in touch with them to know about their life in Denmark and to tell them about my life in Orlando. My sister-in-law was pregnant at the time I left Denmark, so it was important to me to follow her pregnancy. (FYI, she gave birth to a beautiful little girl five days after I came back to Denmark.) Favorite memories? I have a lot of great memories from this trip. I got a lot of new friends and got a lot closer to all of them during my stay. I still talk to them often and there is no doubt that I will visit them again.
What would you tell students who want to study abroad? I participated in an international event at Valencia College where students came to talk about study abroad. I also went to four classes at Valencia to talk about my study abroad program and to give them information about studying in Denmark. I wanted to make the students curious about going abroad to study. Not only to Denmark but anywhere. My experience of the American people is that they never really leave the States, so I wanted to give them the impression that going abroad is a very good thing and will give you a personal development you will never be able to get if you just stay home all the time. Why is travel important to you? It is important for me to take risks and challenge myself, to experience different cultures and meet new people. That is the way I feel that I develop. For me it is important to explore my own personality. I can’t do that by just staying in my home country, working and buying stuff. I need to see the world!
Did you sample any new foods during your trip? What’s your new fave? I was living at a friends' place and they are all from Brazil. They moved to Orlando five years ago. They made me a lot of Brazilian food; hotdogs, Brazilian BBQ, cheese bread etc. It was really good. American food is pretty similar to Danish food. They just eat a lot more fast food than we do.
“It is important to take risks.” 83
Confessions of a virgin traveler
BY ARIE’L AUSTIN
Feb. 23, 4:07 p.m. 1 week to departure I’ve never had a passport before and holding one in my hand for the first time made me realize: I’m going to London! The thought of being away from home for a week seems scary, but more exciting than anything. I think that my mom is more worried than I am. She told me, “Don’t end up like the girls on ‘Taken’, stay in groups.” She got her passport too, “just in case I have to jump on a plane to save you,” she said. She’s crazy, but I love her. It’s going to be hard being away from her for a whole week. March 1, 11:07 p.m. Night before departure There is a lot to think about: How to pack (Will I have enough room for all of my clothes? What about souvenirs on the way home?), where we’ll be staying (I hope it’s clean and safe!) and what the weather will be like. I’m not worried about flying; it’s just the wait that’s going to get to me. I wish I could just snap my fingers and be there. I’m looking forward to riding the London Eye, eating authentic fish-and-chips, and sharing it all with my classmates. I’m more than ready for my first trip overseas. I just hope London is ready for me!
March 12, 8:23 p.m. I’m back from London, and it was awesome! Riding the Underground, trying all the new foods (some of which I will not be trying again), and seeing the London Eye, Big Ben and Westminster Abbey: I’ll never forget it. The hardest part for me was being away from my mom for the first time. I spent the first two days constantly thinking about her. I felt insecure at times, being such an inexperienced traveler. But a little encouragement from my classmates gave me the confidence I needed. Everyone looked out for one another. We were no longer just classmates, we became family. The best was standing on the set at CNBC Europe, seeing how everything works and the roles that each person plays, everyone working their hardest. At that moment, we weren’t just visiting. We were journalists, living a dream.
London Calling INTERVIEW BY JUAN GUTIERREZ
Professor Marshall Hall left the States in the early ‘90s for a one-year job in London. It’s been over 20 years, but he hasn’t come home yet. We caught up with him on the Underground for a little chat about studying, teaching and why London is one of the coolest cities ever. How long have you been teaching and living in London? I moved to London to join the American College in London in June 1993 and it was supposed to only be for one year. Twenty years later and I’m still here. What classes do you teach? I teach “Learning Through Internships” at CAPA, a private organization that contracts with American universities to do semester-long study abroad programs in London. The students come from universities and colleges all across the U.S. The classes are intended to help the students gain as much as possible out of their London experience. We do this through cultural comparisons of U.K. vs. U.S. workplace environments, gender roles and stereotypes and multiculturalism. What are the the best things about living in London? I sometimes take London for granted and occasionally have to remind myself that I’m living in one of the world’s great cities.
You can’t live here and not be aware of the history, architecture and multiculturism of the city. What is the best thing about studying abroad? It is a great educational experience as well as culturally and personally developmental. Most of my American students are with me for three months or more and in that time I can see a difference in them, especially if they’ve never been out of the U.S. before. Have you taught in any other countries? I’ve delivered guest lectures in probably 20 different countries. I delivered a six-month university program in Pune, India several years ago. How different! The students stood up when I came into the room in the morning and, in unison, said, “Good morning, Professor!” What advice would you give to a student who is hesitant about doing a study abroad program? Work closely with the study abroad advisor at your home
“Don’t be hesitant. It can change your life for the better.”
university to ensure that the classes will count towards your major. Pick your location carefully. The language of instruction should play an important role in that decision. That’s why London is such a good choice. Budget carefully even if money is not a challenge. Students are often surprised and money worries can really detract from their enjoyment. Don’t be hesitant. It can change your life for the better. Are you ever coming home? I told myself that this was a temporary situation. I came to realize that I had an image in my head of what I was returning to, and each time I returned, that image changed. Family passed away, architecture and streets disappeared, friends moved, and cultural values and norms became unrecognizable. Slowly, [the U.S.] became the foreign country. I have come to believe that this is my permanent home.
Cover Photo: Amanda Smith; Page 2: Courtesy of Valencia SAGE; Page 4: L-R: Nicole Rosa, Florida State University International Program; Page 5: Provided by Shay Castle; Page 6: Courtesy of Valencia SAGE; Page 7: Courtesy of Whitehouse.gov ; Page 9: Sebastian Arbelaez; Page 11: Courtesy of Valencia SAGE; Page 14-15: Sebastian Arbelaez, Bottom right: Courtesy of flight001. com; Page 17: Kent Nguyen; Page 19: Courtesy of Valencia SAGE, Bottom L-R: Courtesy of Trip Advisor, Courtesy of uPackList, Courtesy of Translator; Page 21: Sebastian Arbelaez; Page 22-23: Courtesy of Valencia SAGE; Page 24-67: Phots courtesy of Valencia SAGE, maps provided by CIA World Factbook; Page 68-71: Flags provided by CIA World Factbook; Page 72-74: istockphoto; Page 76: Drawing by Kent Nguyen; Page 77-79: Provided by Nicole Rosa; Page 80-81: Florida State University International Program; Page 82-83: Provided by Michelle Steffensen; Page 84: Drawings by Marianella Zapata Noriega; Page 85: Courtesy of Valencia SAGE; Page 86: Courtesy of Valencia SAGE; Page 87: Courtesy of Valencia SAGE.
Start your own story BY EDWARD MUELLER
My trip to London has become my most popular conversation piece. “I went to London for spring break,” I often find myself saying, especially when engaging a woman. “What was it like?” she asks. “We went to Windsor Castle,” I start, her eyes brightening. “There were rooms with ceilings twenty-feet high, and the walls and furniture were covered in gold.” Sometimes, I make use of my iPod to invoke visual stimulation. The images tend to make the story feel more real, but my words and pictures merely echo an experience that I will never forget. Before this trip, I interviewed many students and professors who offered advice and shared stories. Professor Gustavo Morales told me a touching story about the
honors trip in 2010 when he saw the Rock of Gibraltar for the first time. At one point in history, people thought that it marked the edge of the world. This was his first time seeing the rock, despite traveling to over 50 countries in his life, and it quite literally left him speechless. I hadn’t thought at that time about how many extraordinary firsts I would experience on my own upcoming adventures in London, but if a man of years and experience can still be so moved by a long-documented article of geology, then you better believe that there is something out there that will leave you awed. The truth is that no picture, magazine, counselor or professor can prepare you for immersion into a foreign culture, let alone the global world. If you really want to know,
you have to go find out for yourself.
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