Building Communities in Uganda

September 01, 2016

Hunter Williams ’20

Hunter Williams '20 with a child in Uganda

Some callings are so strong that you end up going back to them. For Hunter Williams ’20, that calling was Sozo Children in Kampala, Uganda. This summer, Hunter made his second humanitarian trip to help children in the capital of the small East-African nation.

Sozo Children is a Christian non-profit organization building a permanent community for Ugandan orphans and impoverished children. This community, called The Village, is currently under construction on 28 acres near Kampala. Sozo Children has already dug two wells and will soon build homes in The Village to replace the facilities they now rent. The community will implement a sustainability program that feeds and regenerates the homes while teaching the children life skills.

Hunter reflected on his time in Uganda, where he assisted with daily schooling and extracurricular activities. “They like you to think you’re doing more for the kids, but it’s not true. You get way more from [the experience] than the kids.”

There’s more to Hunter than his mission work, however. Born in Washington and raised in Alabama, he played baseball in high school. He is serious about his academics and at Hampden-Sydney is a member of the Freshman Leadership Program and the Honors Program. The decision on where to go was very important to Hunter.

“Originally, I was like ‘no way am I going to an all-male college’ but after doing a lot of research and talking to [Assistant Dean of Admissions] Michael Lee ’14, I gave it some consideration.” The real deciding factor for Hunter came when he asked Lee to find an alumnus in New York who went to an elite MBA program, preferably Ivy League, who now works in financial services. Lee served his request in just an hour and a half. Hunter noted “you can’t get that kind of experience or a similar alumni network anywhere else.”

Hunter is excited about his time on the Hill – in and out of the classroom – and looking forward to pursuing an MBA next. As for his participation with the Sozo Children – he promised them he would return for a third visit one day.

Finding Confidence in Prague

September 05, 2016

Tyler Langhorn ’17

Many students who travel abroad for study or work use that opportunity to explore far beyond their base. Others though, like government major Tyler Langhorn ’17, immerse themselves in their new community and try to live like the locals.

Tyler is from Roanoke, Virginia, but spent his summer working as an intern at the Fulbright Commission in Prague, Czech Republic. He spent his days conducting English-language evaluations of Czech students wanting to study in the United States. However, he spent his nights in a kolej kajetenka, a building that houses both a hotel and college dorm, sharing a suite with a 28-year old Nigerian.

Tyler and Damir

Tyler and Damir

He ate in cafes along the river and took long walks through the city, usually searching for a unique hamburger. During a desperate attempt to find a place where he could get a haircut late one afternoon, he met Damir, a world-class hair stylist who would become one of his best friends in Prague.

Tyler says, “Spending time with local residents led to many amazing conversations and friendships.”

During his last night in Prague, his supervisor at the Fulbright Commission invited him to dine at his home with his family. They made traditional goulash and dumplings, which Tyler says he proudly made for his own family back in Virginia.

Living on his own for the first time also led to maturity and confidence. “I’ve always shown confidence but not always really had confidence. I became more confident in my confidence.”

 

Tyler Langhorn '17 speaks with the US ambassador in Prague

Tyler Langhorn ’17 speaks with the US ambassador in Prague

Government and Foreign Affairs Professor James Pontuso was the person who approached Tyler about working at the Fulbright Commission. He was a Fulbright Scholar in the early 1990s and has been responsible for sending a Hampden-Sydney College student to intern in Prague every summer since 1994.

“I try to send the children who I think will benefit most from the experience,” says Pontuso. “Tyler is a great guy, really tries hard but has no world experience. I wanted him to benefit from that. The Czech students get a lot out of it, too. They really like meeting American students.”

Tyler, who also helped Czech students with U.S. graduate school admissions essays, agrees: “In their mind, coming to America is a lynch pin in their success. So many people wanted to come to the U.S. because they all saw it as opportunity.”

The experience was a tremendous opportunity for Tyler as well. “I learned how blessed I am to be an American. I realized I want to travel more in the United States.” And that is just what he intends to do. After graduation in the spring, Tyler is moving to Southern California to pursue a career in the entertainment industry.

Until then, he will enjoy his last year at Hampden-Sydney going to Pontuso’s class, debating at Union-Philanthropic Society, socializing at the Minority Student Union, and broadcasting on Tiger Radio.

 

Summer School Abroad at LSE

by Scott T. Jefferson ’10

During the months of June and August of the summer of 2009, Christian A. Caiazzo ’10, Scott T. Jefferson ’10, and Scott R. Ouzts ’11 attended the London School of Economics for an intensive summer school program commonly recognized as one of the most rigorous and culturally diverse in the world.  The program is known for attracting students, professors, and even accomplished businessmen from every part of the globe.  Somewhere in the mix were the three Hampden-Sydney students, each one of them in for a unique experience beyond The Hill.

The program consists of approximately 3,500 students.  An extensive range of courses is offered, covering the breadth of the social science expertise that LSE has to offer. Courses range from traditional core economics, accounting, and finance subjects to politics and management theory and practice.  The program has been operating for 20 years, each year more competitive and more culturally diverse than the last.

Scott Jefferson ’10 commented on the diversity of the university, “Being from the Northern Virginia area, I have experienced a great deal of diversity in my lifetime, but not nearly as much as I experienced in my short time at the London School of Economics.  For example, I made friends with students and businessmen from Columbia, Denmark, France, Brazil, Madagascar, Russia, Norway, and many more. These people made for a fun, international experience both in and out of the classroom.”

Christian Caiazzo ’10 took a course on financial markets, which covered everything from the organization of financial markets to risk evaluation and investment strategy.  Christian said, “After sitting through hours of class everyday with numerous students from Ivy League and countless other top-tier institutions from around the world, I have never been more confident in the quality of a Hampden-Sydney education.  When I found I could not understand a concept or work out a problem, I would look around and notice that I was not alone; we were all on the same level despite our different educational backgrounds.”

On the weekends, the H-SC students were able to escape the crowded city of London to experience everything from the southern beaches to the western countryside. One weekend they were even able to meet fellow Hampden-Sydney students studying at St. Anne’s College in the Virginia Program at Oxford.  During breaks between lecture and class, the students also found the time to explore the many great destinations of London such as Parliament, Buckingham Palace, the National Gallery, the Tower of London, and more.

The three students offered the following advice: one of the most quintessential aspects of liberal arts education is a strong international exposure.  If you are even considering studying abroad, we strongly recommend talking with Mary Cooper, Director of International Studies.  You may also find it helpful to talk with people you know who have studied abroad.  Students who have studied abroad are generally more than willing to share their stories.  Also consider looking into summer programs, these allow you to gain the experience without feeling as if you have missed out on an ever-eventful semester at Sydney.

Reflections on Cultural Exchanges

Publications Office Note: Matthew Hubbard and Ben Shega, both Class of 2009, are teaching in Shanghai through the Marshall University (West Virginia) Teach in China Program.In the summer of 2009, Matt was one of 30 American students selected to participate in the U.S. – China 30/30 Program commemorating 30 years of student exchange between the two countries.  This was a fully funded program through the Institute for International Education Fulbright Program sponsored by the Department of State.

by Matthew R. Hubbard ’09

(In April 2009 Matthew Ryan Hubbard (center) received the prestigious Wilson Center Public Service Certificate from Dr. Walter M. Bortz III, Former President of Hampden-Sydney College (right), and Dr. David E. Marion, Director of the Wilson Center for Leadership in the Public Interest (left).  The Public Service Certificates are presented to seniors who have successfully completed a two-year concentration of classes, internship, and research and who are seriously considering careers in public service. )

It might be safe to say that a sizeable number of undergraduates who consider studying abroad see their experience as an opportunity for anything from achieving a higher language proficiency to self-actualization.  Programs of this nature are rarely seen through the lens of geopolitics, perhaps because some students are unwilling or unable, due to lack of awareness to view in this way the process of cultural immersion and linguistic acquisition in a foreign country.

If you are considering working in Teach for America, the Peace Corps, the military, or international business studying abroad is a means of dipping your feet in the water of a seemingly-vast pool that encompasses many careers that might appeal to your more altruistic instincts.

Studying abroad is an opportunity to make as big or as little an impact on the world around you as you wish.  If you actively seek opportunities to discuss culture, politics, and economics with the citizens of another country, it has an impact on the way they see the world.

It is probable that such interactions educate individuals and help to create the kind of understanding among the world’s citizens that is necessary if there is to be a lessening of cultural myopia and the pressure on policymakers to take actions that make cooperation in the world more difficult.  Your conversations might influence your interlocutor, who then might talk to her previously-xenophobic uncle—you know, the one who may have the ear of a national politician.

Cultural exchanges make an impact on the way peoples see each another. The professors from various foreign backgrounds who teach at Hampden-Sydney — whether temporarily or for the long term — sometimes fundamentally impact the way students at the College see themselves in the world.  Former Fulbright scholars who taught Chinese at Hampden-Sydney, Professors Guo and Li, were individuals who introduced previously unknown facets of China to H-SC students.  Those professors were in a way cultural ambassadors, and the United States government’s sponsorship of these two gentlemen is a testament to the weight the U.S. government gives to cultural exchanges on campuses with new Chinese language programs.

Professor Li, knowing of my interest in China and my desire eventually to make the country and its people the focus of my career, was kind enough to submit my name to the U.S. State Department for a summer peer-to-peer exchange program.

While in China for the three weeks of the 30/30 Program and during the many months ahead that I will spend in Shanghai teaching English and world history courses designed for native and non-native speakers,  I hope I have facilitated and will continue to facilitate greater sensitivity on both sides of the Pacific.

Cultural exchanges must occur with greater frequency if the lack of knowledge of different cultures and their motivations are to be lessened.  There is much work to be done and an immersion experience abroad as an H-SC man is a step in the right direction.

Study Abroad 2003-2004

During the 2003-2004 academic year, 72 Hampden-Sydney students studied abroad in 11 different countries. The length of study ran from a full academic year to May Term courses and ranged from Europe to Central America to Australia and New Zealand.

On September 2, many of the participants gathered in the Parents & Friends Lounge and several shared stories of their adventures.

G. W. Zuban ’06 of Chesterfield, VA, studied at University of St. Andrews, Scotland, for the Spring Semester 2004.
G.W. chose St. Andrews because of its solid academic reputation and it because is substantially larger than Hampden-Sydney College but not in an urban environment. Early on, he could not find a building where one of his classes was held and stopped another student and asked directions; it turned out to be Prince William, who gave him directions.

Full Story…

Forrest Smith ’06 of Farmville, VA, spent the academic year at University of Glasgow.
He arrived the end of August. Forrest called it a “surreal experience.” “I always wanted to go to Scotland, and I threw myself into the culture. First, I tried haggis. It is a brilliant dish; I loved it. With haggis and a pint of Guinness you can’t go wrong. The people of Scotland are warm and friendly; if you ask directions, they don’t just give you directions they take you there.”
“The university experience was like independent study. Professors are very approachable but you are largely on your own. There is much reading. The routine is paper, project, exam, and go home.”
The rugged terrain is just as it would have been 400 or 500 years ago. This was the Scotland I went to see, and I was not disappointed. I traveled to Loch Ness and Loch Lomond and took 3- or 4-hour hikes on trails up the mountains. Scotland is so very green.

Jordan Gaul ’05, of West Chester, PA, spent the academic year at St. Catherines College, Oxford University, England.
“At Oxford there were no tests, study was entirely independent, lectures were optional, but evaluations were intense and individualized. It was the most thorough and rewarding system I have ever had the opportunity to study under.”

Full Story…

 

Mathew Anderson ’06 of Staunton, VA, spent his junior year in Paris on the Sweet Briar College Program.
“It was the best decision I have made thus far; of the 95 in the program, 10 were men.”
“We began with a month in Tours and then moved to Paris, where I lived with a host family and attended the Sorbonne. The Sorbonne is extremely different form Hampden-Sydney – huge classes, little support – a different experience.”
“Sweet Briar was great about side trips. We went to Monet’s Garden a Giverny and the American Cemetery at Normandy. I spent Christmas in Brussels. All the guys in the program decided to go to Sweden, and we found a 19 Euro plane fare to Stockholm. Several of us took a 16-day spring-break trip to Morocco including riding camels across the Sahara for two days. It was a phenomenal trip, so very different from anything I had ever seen. The skies and colors of Morocco are beyond belief.”
“Paris is a gift. It is all the sparkle and all the life you could hope for. Last year was the best year ever.”

Joseph Yarborough ’06, of Golf Shores, AL, spent the spring semester at James Cook University in Cairnes, Australia. He took courses in management, psychology, and aboriginal culture.
“I went with Mike Vassar (’06 of Midlothian, VA). Our study abroad conditions were that it was warm and everybody spoke English, and we found the right place.”
“In Australia what you learn above the surface is nothing to what you can learn under the water; diving with a whale is like being with a dinosaur.
We took a 3,000-mile 16-day road trip from Cairnes to Sidney. Up in the rain forests, there are trees that take a hundred years to grow. On the beaches the views are breathtaking. There are gorges with waterfalls that shake the earth. At Barron Bay are the prettiest sunsets you will ever see.”
“It was great experience. Anyone who gets a chance to study abound, just go for it.”

Monti Mercer ’06 of Fairfax, VA, took the May Term course in tropical biology in Costa Rica.

Full Story…

Daniel Gordon ’05 of Burke, VA, studied abroad in Grenoble, France, for two months last summer as part of the requirements for his French major.
“Grenoble is not a tourist town and most foreigners there are students. It is well located and I visited Paris, Verdun, Normandy, Dijon, and Monaco.”
“It was an experience everyone should have. I hope to return to spend a year.”

Virginia Program at Oxford 2005

by Corey Van Vlymen ’08
photographs by: Morgan Roach, Sweet Briar College, class of ’07

This summer, three other students from Hampden-Sydney and I participated in the Virginia Program at Oxford University in England.  Stephen English, Peter Gilman, Jonathan Miyashiro, and I traveled to England in June for the six-week study abroad program. There, we were joined by students from five other Virginia colleges: Mary Baldwin, Roanoke, Sweet Briar, Virginia Military Institute, and Washington & Lee.  The program is organized by a team of advisers (one from each of the participating colleges) and is one of the longest established American programs held at St. Anne’s College of Oxford University each year.  It was a chance to get to know students from other Virginia colleges as well as a chance to become familiar with another way of learning.

The curriculum is made up of a class on 16th and 17th Century literature and a history class which covers the Tudor and Stuart periods in Britain, both taught by Oxford University professors or professors from other institutions within the United Kingdom.  The classes are taught using the Oxford tutor system.  Four days each week students were lectured by world-renowned scholars of British history and literature.  Topics included Shakespeare, the Parliaments of the 16th and 17th Century, the Tudor and Stuart monarchs, and others.  We focused on a different work of literature and a different moment in history each week, with the lectures revolving around that topic. At the end of each week, we wrote a short essay for our tutorial lessons.  Though the lectures provided some basis for our essays, each week we were required to read a list of books and excerpts provided to us by our two tutors.  Some weeks, the list would be as heavy as six books or more.  Through our reading and the lectures, we were expected to prepare the essay and our arguments for the tutorial session.  Each session was either two-to-one or three-to-one student to faculty ratio.  The tutorials proved to be the most intense arenas for academic conversation of which I have been a part.  All in all, the academic environment proved to be an experience to remember.

Academics aside, though, the recreational part of the trip was no bore either.  The directors of the program had set up activities that would please even the hardest to please Anglophile.  Kicking off the program in our first week was a party featuring Pimm?s, possibly the most famous Brit-beverage. Although Pimm?s quickly became several students? new best friend, I enjoyed the cricket and punting gatherings, myself.  The illustrious Dr. Ken Fincham, our British director, set up croquet parties, cricket games, and punting outings as well as private tours of the colleges of Oxford. 

In the middle of the six-week program, we were granted temporary asylum from the stress of class for four days.  Most of us took the opportunity to gallivant across Europe to places like Amsterdam, Sweden, Italy, or Wales.  Some of us, however, couldn’t resist the opportunity to stay behind in Oxford and to spend the weekend buried under a stack of books at the famous Bodleian Library on campus.  At the end of the program, the directors closed the six weeks with a bang at the finest final party ever to grace the Virginia Program at Oxford.  Complete with haggis, fine wines, and ascots, the party was the last goodbye, with most of us flying out the next morning. 

I, however, was fortunate enough to have almost a whole week to stay in Oxford after the end of the program. During that week, I was introduced to the world of hostels, but that’s another story.

Virginia Program at Oxford 2004

by Wesley Sholtes ’05

(left to right – Brandon Chiesa ’05. J.B. Billings ’05, Wesley Sholtes ’05 at Kings Collge)

This year’s Virginia Program at Oxford, which brought together 32 students from six small schools in Virginia, including Hampden-Sydney, Sweetbriar, Mary Baldwin, VMI, Washington & Lee, and Roanoke, proved an extremely formative experience for seven Hampden-Sydney students this summer. Through the rigorous tutorial-style system employed by the professors involved in this six- week program at St. Anne’s College, students had the opportunity to master many of the skills that Hampden-Sydney’s own liberal arts education emphasizes, including those of critical thinking, oral argumentation, writing skills, and independent research.

The Hampden-Sydney men participating in the program, which took a focused approach to studying English Literature and History in the Tudor-Stuart Era through the heavy reading and synthesis of ideas in essay form, stood out from among other the participants from other schools in their ability to ask insightful questions following lectures and to take the lead during tutorials. The Oxford environment, which involved nearly daily exposure to renowned historians and intellectuals in the Oxford community, was the perfect place for students to find personal fulfillment both on an academic and social level.

Moreover, with so much free time on the schedule, students were able to carry on a social lifestyle perhaps atypical from that found at home. In addition to the occasional game of croquet accompanied by pitchers of Pimms to be consumed as rapidly as possible, students on the program notoriously visited pubs and clubs in order to immerse themselves in English culture. A party night might involve staying at the pubs until they closed at 11 PM, then going out to the clubs until about 2 AM, followed by a visit to the Doner Kebab truck stand located right outside the college. Students bemoaned the later absence of Ali, who operated the closest kebab stand, when he reportedly took a trip to Morocco.

Since most weekends were entirely free, many students went on day trips to nearby cities, including London, Bath, and Cambridge, among others. Some Hampden-Sydney students even went on a few outings with the director of the program, Ken Fincham, and his family, who went punting (a sport involving a boat called a punt and a long pole), played cricket, and even drove a few of us out to see the Great Hampden and other famous sites connected to the revolutionary parliamentarian for which our college was named, John Hampden. And all of the students got to see Shakespeare’s Measure for Measure in the one-of-a-kind Globe Theater and his Hamlet and Romeo and Juliet in Stratford-upon-Avon, where Shakespeare was born.

Most of the students on the program noticed that their study skills and work ethic were switched on more than usual, especially when they went to the Bodleian Library, the famous research library with its amazing architectural design, that is available to all of Oxford’s colleges. Oxford’s work-hard, play-hard atmosphere brings out the best of what students already have—their talents.

For students considering a summer abroad, this program cannot be beaten. As a veteran of three summer study abroad programs (and I also highly recommend the program to Alcala-de-Henares, Spain), I honestly believe that I have grown more as a person this summer than I ever have grown in my whole life. In the paraphrased words of Dr. Glyn Redworth, a historian who was one of my tutors on the program, it’s highly probable that you will take away from the program a sense of who you are, what you are, why you believe what you believe, and why your personal identity is so complex, also realizing that the world is not so black and white as it might have seemed.

The City of Spires

by Thomas O. Robbins ’04
 

 

(Thom Robbins in front of Tom Tower at Christ Church, Oxford)

For almost a millennium, the University of Oxford has offered an unsurpassed education to students from around the world. For six weeks, eight Hampden-Sydney students (Will Albright, Mack Crockett, Dave McDonald, Preston Pittman, Thom Robbins, Mike Roberts, Teelo Rutledge, and Larry Wilkes) made their home in “The City of Spires” as part of the Virginia Program at Oxford. The Virginia Program at Oxford (VPO) is an intercollegiate summer program comprised of students from Hampden-Sydney and five other Virginia colleges and is the oldest of its kind at the University. While students are selected from different American universities, they lived at St. Anne’s College and studied Tudor-Stuart History and Literature on the British tutorial system.

Students began their academic endeavor with a visit to the Bodleian Library to become readers. The Bodleian Library is one of the most photographed architectural structures of the University, and its majestic interior is quite conducive for reading. Thus, the process to become a reader is extensive and requires one to swear an oath that he will not remove books from the library or light a fire in the library. Visitors are not allowed to venture beyond the front door without a reader’s card, so it is a privilege to be admitted. With the amount of weekly reading assigned, daily reading and studying were obligatory. Lectures were held each morning for an hour and followed by coffee and tea with biscuits (cookies to us Americans!). Tea time allowed students to talk with lecturers and ask questions. Questions and discourse were important because, in many cases, the lecturers had written the assigned books and articles. Lecturers included such prominent researchers and historians such as Dr. Christopher Haigh, fellow of Christ Church; Professor Peter Lake, Princeton University; and Professor Conrad Russell who is a hereditary peer and active member of the House of Lords. As well, lecturers did not shy away from critiquing another lecturer’s ideas, but the diversity in perspectives was helpful in forming a solid background on a particular topic.

(H-SC Students in Front of Hampton Court Palace. (left to right) Thom Robbins ’04, Teelo Rutledge ’04, Preston Pittman ’05, Larry Wilkes ’05, Dave McDonald ’05, Will Albright ’05, Mike Roberts ’05, and Mack Crockett ’04.)

After a week of lectures and mass amounts of reading, tutorials culminated the week’s events. Tutorials, composed of three students and the tutor, were held separately for English and history. Like our lecturers, our tutors were Oxford dons and experts in Tudor-Stuart History and English; therefore, careful and thorough preparation was critical to performing well in these sessions. Although most tutorials were conducted on premises at St. Anne’s, others were held at nearby St. John’s College, which dates back to the 1500s. Unlike typical American classes, tutorials are a very personal and in-depth analysis of the ideas regarding a particular topic. Students read their papers aloud, and they are questioned on their ideas or the particular analysis of the thoughts presented. At times, the tutorials can feel overwhelming, but good criticism in the free exchange of ideas makes us better thinkers and writers.

While each week was laden with studying and reading, there was considerable academic freedom to plan one’s own schedule. Students held to the Hampden-Sydney dictum: Work Hard, Play Hard. The vibrant social life of Oxford revolves around the pubs and clubs, which is typical in England. Moreover, there are a variety of pubs to visit ranging from new pubs to more historic pubs like the Turf Tavern. For over a century, the Turf has provided good English Ale and a locale for social gathering with its motto, “An Education in Intoxication.” Similarly, The Eagle and Child was the famous hangout of J.R.R. Tolkein. Pubs are a necessary part of a true Oxford experience.

In addition, group activities were organized to immerse students in the Oxford and England experience. At the nearby University Park, some students tried their hand at Cricket or participated in the group sponsored Pimm’s and Croquet party. Pimm’s is a traditional summer drink served with fruit and cucumber – quite interesting! With an unusually warm summer, passing the evening away punting and sipping champagne was also a common escape. Academic excursions were planned to the Globe Theater in London and Royal Shakespeare Company in Stratford-on-Avon to see Cymbeline, Richard III, and The Tamer Tamed. As one might imagine, theater productions were the perfect complement to the academic curriculum. Other excursions included a visit to Hampton Court Palace and the home of William Shakespeare. Many students took advantage of their time in England to make day trips to historic sites like Windsor Castle, Stonehenge, Buckingham Palace, and Blenheim Palace. As many students found, weekends were an ideal time for more extensive travel throughout the British Isles and Europe. While Scotland, Wales, and Paris seem to be the most popular destinations, some students found time to make trips to Venice, Normandy, and even Barcelona.

Throughout their time at Oxford, students read immensely, questioned profusely, experienced the social appeal of pubs, traveled, and found new friends.  They left “The City of Spires”  with fond memories. Students interested in the Virginia Program at Oxford should contact Professor Shirley Kagan in the Department of Fine Arts.

(Tutors Pose with their Students at the Final Party. (left to right) Alexis Thompson of Roanoke College, Mike McLauglin of VMI, Glyn Redworth, History Tutor, Tom Robbins, and Frank Romany, English Tutor and Lecturer at St. John’s College, Oxford)

Gibson meets the Iron Lady

In the summer of 2002, John David Gibson ’03 interned for the United States Studies Institute within the University of London. The program has around 30 students and seven professors. Subjects focus on American politics, history, and economics. His work involved contacting American universities and spreading the word about the program.

He also attended many of the seminars held by the Institute. Professors from several universities, including Oxford and Cambridge, gave lectures on various topics including the relationship between America and Great Britain and on America’s foreign policy after September 11. 

According to John David, “To my surprise, I learned that Lady Thatcher had been the sponsor of the program for 11 years. She retired this summer and the institute held a celebration in her honor. I had the privilege of not only to meet her but also to discuss her relationship with Ronald Reagan, the potential of war with Iraq, and how beautiful she thinks Virginia is.”

An incredible experience

On September 6, many of the nearly 60 Hampden-Sydney students who had engaged in international study during the past year gathered to talk about their experiences.

Most frequently used expressions: “I would go back in a heart beat,” “It was good for me,” “I made great friends,” “It made me appreciate Hampden-Sydney.” Consensus: the food was so, so; it rains a great deal in the British Isles, much beer and wine was consumed; we learned a lot, and it was an incredible experience.

For Hampden-Sydney students who grew up in small towns, one of the greatest adjustments was to city life. During a metro strike in Paris, David Price ’02 from Collinsville, VA, who was with the Sweet Briar Program, had to walk two and half hours to class. “Really, once you get to understand how the French think and what their ideas are and what their customs are, they are very nice people, and I made numerous friends.”

For Edward Finnerty ’02 from Charleston, SC, Dublin was a challenge. Good public transportation is nonexistent, “everyday something happened, but you just had to laugh.” Despite the municipal shortcomings, Teddy, who studied psychology at Trinity College, asserts that in Dublin, “every night was a brand new experience; it was really fun. Anybody our age should definitely go there…just to witness the madness.”

Logan Wanamaker ’02 spent a year in Granada. He stayed with a host family for the first semester. “It was a little overwhelming when they picked me up and drove me into the city; I am from a small town [Durango, CO] and had never lived in a city.” Second semester, Logan lived in an apartment downtown with two young Italian women and two young Spanish women, which was “a big switch from Hampden-Sydney. First semester I got in a rut and I was hanging out with Americans and going out with Americans but once I moved in with my other roommates, my Spanish really took off.” He spent free days on the beach at la Costa del Sol and on weekends went skiing in the Sierra Nevada. “I brought my skis over and made great friends up at the ski resort, so I had buddies that I got to go skiing with. To have something that you really enjoy to share with someone from another country was really special to me.” He traveled all over Spain, to southern Portugal, Morocco, into the Sahara by camel to Marrakech, to Majorca, and through the Basque country. “Now when I look at a map of Spain I know what every town looks like and all the history behind it. It was an incredible experience.”

McKay Johnson ’02 from Atlanta, GA, studied international business at the University of Victoria in Wellington, New Zealand. He traveled all over New Zealand, which is “absolutely beautiful, very green, mountains everywhere.” The New Zealanders call hiking tramping, and McKay did plenty of tramping. The study was initiative based. There were no textbooks; it was up to you how much you learned, and people there study “real hard.” The New Zealanders are “absolutely great people, friendly, real nice.” He encountered the indigenous Moari culture that, although poorly treated in the beginning, the New Zealanders did not try to exterminate them as was done to the indigenous populations in the United States and Australia. Today, the two cultures live well together. McKay visited Australia, Thailand, Malaysia, and Burma. “It is incredible [in Burma] to see the struggle that is going on for human rights.” He spent a month in China traveling from Hong Kong to Beijing meeting local people. “It was an incredible experience. The government is screwed up, but I cannot tell you how nice the people are and how beautiful the country is.”

Bert Drummond ’02 from Hampton, VA, participated in the Antioch College Program in Germany, Poland, Hungary, and the United Kingdom. There were 11 students in the program with a 23-year old Polish leader: according to Bert, “she is beautiful with a moving personality.” The program centered on an independent research project based on interviews and experiences. “Our professor, Manfred McDowell, is a brilliant man and an atheist, which contrasted to me as a Christian, and one of my majors is religion. My independent study had to do with the theory of secularization in terms of Europe. I had to be extremely objective and use nothing but facts and data in writing. It was really challenging for me and healthy. Poland and Hungary are extraordinary places with extraordinary people. Hungary has a large Romanian population who, believe it or not, are more discriminated against than African-Americans in the United States. In the Polish villages, people are under such [economic] duress. They are in a completely different situation than we are; yet, we had so much in common when we talked to each other. I lived with a Jewish family in Budapest; Jewish life in Europe, especially Central Europe, is an whole different world.”

“We stayed in London for a month. We went from Poland where people are warm, compassionate, and friendly to London where everyone is not so warm, compassionate, and friendly. England is an extremely secular society. I think I saw the sun for maybe two consecutive hours on one day, but you get used to it after awhile. It was so fun, so fun.”

Six Hampden-Sydney students participated in the Virginia Program at Oxford and studied at St. Anne’s College. According to Kerr Ramsay of Raleigh, NC, dormitory life was less than luxurious, “the shower was the size of a toilet,” but “the library you study in was founded by James I, I think about the time of Jamestown. In the upper reading rooms you can see where Charles I had his government during the English Civil War and there is a place where you can still see the burn marks where Bloody Mary [Mary Tudor] burned Protestants at the stake.”

Andrew Walshe ’02, from Herndon, VA, spent a year at the London School of Economics. “It was more work than I thought it would be, but it was a good experience.” The school was filled with a very diverse group of people and “absolutely brilliant” people. “I was just hanging on for dear life at the beginning, but, by the end of it, I was doing OK, and everything worked out really well. We had amazing lecturers. It was tremendous. After lectures, you go to class with graduate students; every graduate assistant I had was from a different country: England, Germany, Italy, Greece, and Holland. On all, it was good experience and a good time. Living in London was tremendous.”

Andy Yarborough ’02, Gulf Shores, AL, studied for a semester at James Cook University in Cairns, Australia, a small, about 3000, university on the northeast coast. He lived in student lodge with students from all over world. “The land is unbelievable: it is nearly impossible to be bored: you can draw so much enjoyment from the land.” In his indigenous studies courses, Andy learned that the treatment of Aborigines was comparable to that of Native Americans, and race relations in Australia are still delicate. He went out into different aboriginal communities and befriended a head of a clan who took him out into the bush, interpreted aboriginal rock art, and to ancient initiation sites. “I was lucky to be able to go and to get in with the people I did. I saw places where land is still totally pristine and untouched by civilization, a far cry from anything that I have seen in the States.”