A 10-week, “transition to impact” program, Davidson’s Education Scholars program places students in immersive, project-based internships with local partners seeking to improve the education system at various levels. This past summer, ten Davidson students served as Education Scholars in Charlotte, North Carolina. This blog provides a more in depth look at their experiences in the Charlotte education sphere:
In Fall 2014 I studied abroad in Vienna on a program focused on music. The school was run by the study abroad program IES, but the music professors were performers or teachers in the area – they either played with the Vienna Philharmonic or taught at the Universität für Musik und darstellende Kunst Wien, the largest conservatory in Austria. My semester focused on chamber music, so I generally played in groups of four or less in addition to studies at the conservatory. Highlights included performing multiple times in an 18th century Baroque palace. Along with being one of the best places in the world to study music, Vienna was also an incredible opportunity to visit relevant historical places in conjunction with my classes. The food, beer, wine, and deep history and traditions made Vienna a fantastic place to live, and I look forward to visiting soon.
I have been involved in two research projects during my Davidson career. I completed my first research project, in the chemistry department, the summer before my junior year. For six weeks, I worked on synthesizing a carbohydrate based compound that will eventually be used for influenza treatment. The summer was very successful and researchers in Zurich, Switzerland have now picked up the project. I completed my second project during the second semester of my junior year. In this project, we looked at the binding habits of the receptors that may contribute to cancer immunity. Despite its small size, Davidson has really great research opportunities. Having a smaller research group allowed me to grow close with both my advisor and the rest of my research group! I would suggest to anybody interested in a Davidson science major to consider research opportunities.
Even though I love Davidson, by junior fall I was ready to challenge myself in a new setting. So one beautiful August day instead of driving back to the brick buildings and amazing friends and faculty I had grown close to at Davidson, I boarded a plane to Bangkok, Thailand.
I had a full 32 hours of traveling to become thoroughly sleep deprived, delirious, and overwhelmed by the thought of not seeing any of my friends or family for 6 months. What I hadn’t managed to process yet was what my daily life in Thailand would be like, the amazing new people I would meet, and everything I would learn in 6 months.
I stepped off the plane into a world where I couldn’t read signs or menus. I couldn’t even pretend I understood what people were saying to me, and not a single person passed without noticing that I looked very different from them.
My 6 months in Thailand were filled with eating fish eyeballs for breakfast, and bugs, but study abroad provides so much more than a 2 week vacation. I lived with Thai families, learned how to manage public transportation and how to speak Thai, and made incredible life-long friends from all over the world.
This summer, I had the pleasure of traveling to Athens, Greece, thanks to the generosity of Dean Rusk. I obtained a grant to conduct independent research about the social and psychological implication of the Greek economic crisis. Specifically, I was looking at how the downturn of their economy affected the rate mental health disorders and the public health response to it. Through interviews, I got to speak with patients and health care providers such as psychologists, psychiatrists, and even professors at the medical school. I also got to work with the Metropolitan Community Clinic in the Helleniko district of Athens. Aside from my work, living in Athens was a perfect way to spend the summer. Although hot and humid most of the time, the city was very much alive. I had a great time living with two female university students who showed me the best shops, clubs, coffee shops, and late night street food (souvlaki!). I also got to take a short trip to Santorini and Mykonos and see the beautiful Mediterranean islands to escape the busy city life. It made me really excited for my future in the health care field, and also more passionate about mental health.