Life lessons learned abroad

Even though Monmouth College is in the middle of nowhere, its students really have the opportunity to learn all about the world. Take Terri Woelfel, who spent 10 days in South Africa on a Monmouth College-sponsored trip with professors Tara McCoy, Joan Wertz, and other Monmouth students.

The trip started with an 11-hour plane ride and a layover in London, where the students were able to explore and see some cool stuff for just a little bit before they had to get back onto a plane.

As soon as they got off the plane, they were thrust onto a bus where they began their tour. According to Terri, the trip was “a nonstop journey with no time to rest.” They were always seeing something new.

They visited the towns of Johannesburg and Capetown. In both places, people were selling things on the street for a living. Seeing this was very shocking to Terri, who had never seen anything like this before. She also was surprised when she met a tour guide -who was white- that explained to the group that he wasn’t considered African even though he had lived in South Africa all his life.

In contrast to the social-political learning that the group did on different parts of the trip, they also went on a safari where an elephant sprayed Terri with water. She didn’t particularly enjoy having to go for hours soaking wet.

The most exotic thing Terri experienced in her time abroad was a night where the gang and her slept in some jungle huts, with monkeys hanging right outside the window. One person in the group said that she still believes a monkey stole her wallet.

Regardless of how tiring it was, Terri says that South Africa was a life-changing experience and would have loved to have stayed longer. Seeing children taking themselves and people selling things on the street made Terri learn that we Americans take a lot for granted that we really shouldn’t. International trips teach everyone that there is a lot of people in this world that don’t live the same as us and were should learn to respect those differences, or else terrible injustices might happen.

Jacob Duncan – Contributing Writer

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