c/o Ava Nederlander, Photo Editor

c/o Ava Nederlander, Photo Editor

The Office of Study Abroad created the Global Correspondents Program this semester for students studying abroad to archive their experiences through a variety of media, such as videos, photographs, and written blogs. The program, run through the Fries Center for Global Studies, aims to build connections between students studying abroad and those on campus. Rebecca Dowd ’23 (who is currently studying in Spain), Jay Reyes ’22 (Denmark), Nick Bowman ’23 (Scotland), Paris Jensen ’22 (France), and Naraa Altai ’22 (Denmark) are the first group of Global Correspondents. 

Director of the Fries Center for Global Studies Stephen Angle explained that the program aims to broaden how Wesleyan students view education.

“One of the key goals of the Fries Center is to help the whole campus community see that education on campus and off campus are intimately related, and another goal is to see that ‘education’ isn’t limited to what happens in the classroom,” Angle wrote in an email to The Argus. “The Global Correspondents Program will encourage students studying abroad to reflect on their experiences and to share those reflections with a broad audience back on campus (and beyond).”

Director of Study Abroad Emily Gorlewski explained that this program developed from the Global Ambassador program, which is also run by the Office of Study Abroad.

“Last year, we had our first [Global] Ambassadors program, and that also was completely put together by Hannah Parten, who’s the Assistant Director of Study Abroad,” Gorlewski wrote in an email to The Argus. “She developed a program where students who had returned from study abroad could engage in promoting study abroad to other students while also getting some of that crucial sort of reflection piece from their study abroad experiences. So, they could be sort of doing that at the same time that they’re promoting study abroad to other students, as well as getting some professional development opportunities.”

The new program brings a slew of fresh perspectives on traveling and learning abroad and methods of documenting one’s experiences. Several of this semester’s Global Correspondents shared their excitement about being involved in the program.

Dowd, who is currently studying in Madrid through the Vassar-Wesleyan Program in Madrid, explained that her experiences abroad thus far have been vibrant and exciting. 

“I am someone who learns from sharing with other people, because it lets me step outside my own experience for a moment and process a bigger picture,” Dowd wrote in an email to The Argus. “Being a global correspondent seemed like a great way to be able to capture and share my valuable moments of learning with other people, and help me process at the same time.” 

Dowd has already written a blog post about her experiences for the Global Correspondents Program.

“Writing for me is also a place where you can really reflect on what’s happening [and] your feelings about that,” Dowd wrote. “To me, this is super supportive in helping me process. But I’m excited to explore the other formats too later in the semester, because I think they’re more casual and a way to really show the everyday of the experience.” 

Jensen, who is spending the fall semester in Paris, enjoys music and videography and hopes to incorporate these interests into her Global Correspondent project.

“I’m planning to maybe do an audio-visual collage around a particular theme (‘wonder’ and ‘new friends’ are two possibilities),” Jensen wrote in an email to The Argus. “I’m a musician, so I will be both attending and playing live music, and that seems like an opportunity to get interesting footage…. The essay I’m planning will focus on the more surprising elements of what it means to be ‘fluent,’ like knowing how people talk to their dogs and what French girls write on the insides of toilet stalls.” 

Jensen expressed her excitement about sharing her experiences abroad with those on campus at Wesleyan.

“I like the idea of documenting and sharing my experience, maybe giving students who haven’t had the chance to go abroad yet an idea of what that experience might offer them,” Jensen wrote. “It’s another way to be actively learning and seeking understanding while I’m here, and hopefully also a good way to remember what this is like down the line.”  

Bowman, who is studying in Scotland for the fall, emphasized that being able to earn money working for the Global Correspondents program has alleviated concerns about losing income by leaving behind jobs that he held on campus. Another plus side for Bowman is the ability to document his experiences abroad as they happen.

“I think that traveling is such an instructive experience, both practically, as in navigating transit systems and getting directions, but more importantly on a personal level where you have [the] opportunity to grow and learn so much about yourself as well as the people and places where you go,” Bowman wrote in an email to The Argus. “I truly think the world would be a better place if more people traveled and realized the essential human similarities of people regardless of identity, politics, nationality, or religion and I wanted to share this belief.” 

Since the program is so new, the Fries Center staff said they plan to see how the year goes before determining how to proceed.

“We had to re-allocate some of our budget; this is a pilot program this year and we’ll see how it works, and then make a decision about the future,” Angle wrote.

For this year, in any case, the program will foster stronger connections between students abroad and on campus.

“I was really pleased to see the interest from students,” Gorlewski wrote. “And so I think that hopefully in the future we can have a correspondence and the ambassadors at the same time because I think they’re both really important.”

Dowd emphasized how much she has already learned from one month abroad.

“I think both study abroad and the Global Correspondents Program are such great opportunities to learn not only about a new culture and place, but also about yourself,” Dowd wrote.  

Content from the Global Correspondents is available through the Wes and the World newsletter, FCGS YouTube channel, and the Office of Study Abroad’s Instagram

Rachel Wachman can be reached at rwachman@wesleyan.edu.

Dylan Campos can be reached at dcampos@wesleyan.edu

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