Scott Wentzell ’11: Apia, Samoa (SIT)
I studied abroad last semester in the South Pacific island nation of Samoa on an SIT program. I lived and studied at the University of the South Pacific just outside of Apia in a dormitory with around 100 students from around the Pacific islands. In addition to my time in Apia I also traveled to Savaii, the other major island comprising Samoa, to Fiji, to American Samoa, and to Hawaii. I stayed with three separate host families, one each in Samoa, American Samoa, and Fiji. By traveling to several islands in the Pacific and living with students from dozens more I was able to immerse myself in cultures from around the broad and diverse Pacific region. The best part of the whole experience for me was studying under our Academic Director, Jackie, who was simultaneously a professor, chauffeur, guide, mother, and friend. I would recommend this program to any anthropology major.
Debbie Merzbach ’11: Auckland, New Zealand
I studied abroad this past spring in Auckland, New Zealand with a program based out of Butler University. The five months I spent there were incredible, and I would emphatically encourage anyone with even the slightest interest in study abroad to DO IT. I lived in university housing with four other US American students from different parts of the country and attended classes at Auckland University. Some of the classes weren’t too different from ones I’ve taken here (besides having more students, since Auckland is a huge school), but for one of them I learned and performed “traditional” Maori (New Zealand’s first settlers) songs and dances. In addition to going to class, I traveled weekly and went hiking whenever I could (New Zealand is famous for its remarkable peaks–one of my favorites was Mount Doom from Lord of the Rings!). Other trips took me to hot water beaches (you could excavate sand to form a hot tub!) and other coastlines to surf, paddle, or see penguins and sea lions! From an anthropological standpoint, the trip was memorable in the sense that the country is still experiencing a lot of political and social tension due to its colonial past. This was present in many of the interactions in which I took part or observed, so I was continuously drawing upon anthropological knowledge to structure my understanding of situations or relationships.