This summer, William Jewell College students traveled all over the world with the help of their Journey Grants, which gave them a chance to expand their knowledge of different cultures and gain educational experience.
Haley Sloan, senior nonprofit leadership, public relations and Applied Critical Thought and Inquiry (ACT-In) major, used her Journey Grant to travel this summer to Santorini and Athens, Greece, as well as Florence, Venice and Rome, Italy. Her trip was through Ultimate Tours, an education first tour group. Local tour guides informed her and 22 other college students on the culture, history and architecture in each destination.
“I feel I came back with a more diverse perspective of the world and an appreciation for people that are different from me,” Sloan says about her experience.
Her main goal in taking the trip was to become more culturally aware–She is thankful that Jewell could aide her in doing just that.
Maggie Knesel, senior Spanish and nonprofit leadership major, learned that the laid back culture in Heredia, Costa Rica drastically contrasts the fast paced life she is accustomed to at William Jewell. Knesel lived in Heredia for six weeks to work on her language skills.
Knesel offered advice to any students hesitant to fully immerse themselves in a language.
“You just gotta do it. You got to go with Nike on this one. You definitely learn at a much faster pace if you’re in the culture and you’re forced to ask someone where the bathroom is or which bus you should take. A lot of little things that you don’t normally think about are super stressful in a different language,” Knesel said.
While he may have not had to deal with a language barrier, a chance to explore passions and see new sights made this summer a memorable one for Jordan Ferrante, senior accounting and business administration major. Ferrante used his Journey Grant to camp and practice nature photography at Rocky Mountain National Park in Estes Park, Colorado.
“I took my digital camera and it was just a combination of two passions, nature and photography. It was challenging to try to capture the beauty of everything, the mountains were just so gorgeous and ginormous. Camping in itself was challenging, too. I had never camped before,” Ferrante said.
Originally from the east coast, Ferrante had never seen mountains. Ferrante feels that students should use their Journey Grants to do things that they love.
“Talk to Sara Round [Director of Global Studies and Journey Grants], she will definitely listen to you, as far as what you want to do, and then she’ll put together a plan of how we are going to do this in an academic way. I did not realize that I could go camping, take pictures, and do these things that I love and it would still qualify as a Journey Grant,” said Ferrante.
Rosie Smith, senior music education and secondary education major, got to explore her passion for choir this summer by venturing across the Atlantic twice. First, Smith used her Journey Grant to go on the William Jewell Concert Choir tour throughout England. Smith was also the recipient of the Hall Grant, a five thousand dollar grant awarded to five students to cover the cost of off-campus educational endeavors. She used this Hall Grant to attend The Choral Institute at Oxford for a choral conducting program in July.
England was an ideal place for Smith to grow her passion for vocal music. She not only enjoyed performing in various chapels, but was also given the chance to conduct pieces.
“I learned more about the culture of choral music in England and Europe, that’s sort of where it originated. It’s been going on for so long there and a lot of the traditions we use in America we have taken from European traditions. I learned how to look at music in different ways and singing in those spaces changes the way you think about the music,” said Smith.
Summer travels took on a special significance for Kahluna Bouchard, senior business and administration and ACT-In major, who used his Journey Grant to return home to Uganda, Africa.
“The mission for me to go back was to get back in touch with my culture and go to see my brother and sister who I hadn’t seen in 11 years. I left Uganda in 2007 when I was 10 years old and I went back this summer when I was 21 years old. When I was in the U.S., my dad passed and because I didn’t have the proper paperwork to actually go back and bury him I wasn’t able to go,” Bouchard said.” One of the missions going back was to see his grave site. They have this African tradition when kids come back you get a chance to clean the grave and stuff like that so I got a chance to do that with my brother and my sister that I hadn’t seen in a long time.”
He also got the chance to use the knowledge that he has gained from studying business at Jewell to help his brother run the family pig farm more smoothly.
Spending time in Africa allowed Bouchard to reflect upon the privileges America has.
“I have learned to be thankful and appreciate what I have because going back to Africa I realize that here in the U.S. we take a lot of things for granted, like having clean water and food. We go to the Caf and we eat and we throw a lot of food away. They don’t have clean water, they don’t have nice roads like we do. It made me appreciate what we have here. But when you step on African soil, it’s beautiful,” said Bouchard.
Sloane discussed how Journey Grants give Jewell students a wonderful opportunity to witness the wold first-hand.
“Everyone should apply for the Journey Grant because it is just the best opportunity and one of the things that sets Jewell apart,” said Sloane.
Students can apply for the grants after their sophomore year and contact Sara Round for help in planning their educational adventure.