Every year Bethel sponsors a contest featuring photographs taken by students while studying off-campus. See the whole “Beyond Bethel” collection here (at the excellent and growing Bethel University Digital Library): it’s a great way to get some insight into the value of study abroad.
Several History and Social Studies alumni have contributed entries over the years, including the following: (click to see larger version; all photos used by permission of the Bethel University Office of Off-Campus Study/International Studies)
Emily Osborne, “The Road Less Traveled” (Oxford, 2005)
Emily’s description: “Our house in Oxford was a good thirty-minute walk from the city centre. Although many people walked and biked along the main roads, several of us decided to make a habit of traveling through the parks to reach our destinations. In a city of stonewalls, busses, bikes and books the winding paths with their greenery and February blooms never ceased to encourage me.”
Tim Connerton, “Rooftops” (Cairo, 2007)
Tim’s description: “My Egyptian Arabic instructor Mediha often spoke of the dust storms that occasionally strike Cairo with little warning in the winter and spring months. Her descriptions of these natural phenomena (dictated in a thick Middle-Eastern accent) always invoked images of the raging desert winds in Aladdin, The Mummy or Lawrence of Arabia, and I hoped I’d get to play Indiana Jones at some point through my semester. Well it turns out that romanticized Hollywood impressions sometimes actually parallel the first-hand experience, and towards the end of my semester, I found myself in the middle of one of those surreal experiences. While all native Cairenes are smart enough to stay inside during one of these dust storms, I was confused that my entire neighborhood was closed up this day. But as the storm set in, whirling gusts of sand and hot air roared down the streets, violently rattling the window shutters and blowing garbage everywhere. The sheer volume of sand and dust in the air drastically reduced visibility and coated everything in sight with a fine dust. As I braved the volatile conditions to capture this view from the rooftop of my flat, I felt the grit clinging to my skin, nostrils, lungs, and eyelids, irritating everything. The powerful wind even brought a full size tree down right across the street. By evening, the storm had made its sluggish course and left Cairo dirtier than I had previously believed possible. And I thought blizzards were exclusive to Minnesota…”
Kendra Rimmereid, “Colors of India” (Jaipur, 2008)
Kendra’s description: “All of these girls are from rural villages around Jaipur, India. They have come to Budh Shiksha Samiti (a Nongovernment Organization) to get the quality education that they won’t receive if they stay in their villages. I did an internship with this NGO and had the opportunity of interacting with these girls for six weeks. On this particular Sunday they are shelling pea pods for dinner.”