Honors Program students are expected to track their progress and notify Dr. Rhodes if any changes occur which may impact completion of the requirements. The Curriculum page has information on course requirements and checklists to assist you.
- Reviewed your Honors Program course requirements lately?
- Visited the Career Center for advice and guidance?
- Applied for scholarships or summer study opportunities?
- Registered for your next Honors Program course?
- We're looking for a few good pictures, articles, stories, etc. Keep a journal or collect some interesting pictures of your summer activities. We are very interested in adding your experiences to our website.
Below are reports from current Honors Program cadets on their summer travels, made possible by Star of the West scholarships.
Summer Study in Germany
My name is Brandon Bohrn and I am currently a German major, with minors in Business Administration and Fine Arts. With the support of the Star of the West scholarship, I was able to visit Europe for ten weeks this summer. Over the course of these ten weeks, I completed a five week B-2 intensity level German language course, experienced several cities throughout western Europe, and also completed a three week internship at a German secondary school.
I arrived in Berlin, Germany and immediately began taking German language courses. During my time outside of the classroom, I set off to immerse myself into the community. I took what I learned each day and applied it in practical settings. Whether ordering food in a restaurant, paying for groceries, asking for directions, I communicated in German. By the time I left Berlin, I was able to have intellectual conversations. I gained a sense of confidence with my language abilities – a sense of confidence I previously thought unattainable.
A good friend of mine, Thomas McGuire (also a Star of the West recipient), met me in Berlin for my last two weeks. It was surreal at moments, to think just two to three weeks earlier, I was studying for finals in the barracks, and now was in the center of one of the greatest cities in the world. Thomas and I devoted our afternoons to museums, sites, and simply enjoying and experiencing the city. We saw Charlottenburg Palace, walked along the East-side gallery, and made our way through all of the major museums on and around the “Museum Island”.
After my courses were completed, Thomas and I made our way around Europe visiting several cities, to include Paris, Amsterdam, Munich, Salzburg, Venice, and Rome. We often spoke of how fortunate we were to be given this opportunity, and it would not have been possible without the help of the Star of the West foundation. We made our way through all of the cities with ease and never seemed to sit. In Paris, we made our way to Versailles and in Rome, we saw the pope at his weekly Wednesday address to the public.
After our two week travel period, I returned to Magdeburg, Germany to stay with an old host family of mine. I returned to the school, in which I had interned in a few years prior. My wish to receive a Fulbright ETA motivated me to go to school every day and help the students with English instruction. I conducted small conversational groups, which helped each student with their spoken English. It gave them an opportunity to apply what they had learned in the classroom. By living with the German host family for three weeks, my level of German reached highly proficient levels. I had conversations about complex topics, such as the world cup, German politics, and even American German relations.
Adventures in Ecuador
If you had told me at the beginning of my college career that I would visit a country called Ecuador not only once, but twice, I would have called you crazy. Ecuador, a country not even on my radar as a list of places I wanted to go. Life has a funny way of taking you where you need to be, however, and Ecuador has become a place I truly love. It's been over a year now since I first flew into the capital, Quito, and I'm still trying to place into words what an experience the past two summers have been. Last year, I studied in a city of about 500,000 people called Cuenca, and this year I was actually in Quito, a much larger city. Both were amazing places to live in for a month, though very different. For as much as I learned about Ecuadorian culture while visiting, I learned a lot about myself as well.
This summer I participated in The Citadel Spanish Study Abroad program, traveling to Quito, Ecuador for about 30 days to be immersed in the Spanish language and to experience a new culture. I went with two professors from the Spanish department, Dr. Segle and Dr. Urroz, and about 30 other students. This trip was interesting in that I was the only girl in the group! This made for a challenge occasionally when arranging to meet, because walking by yourself in South America is not a good idea. For a little background, I would consider Ecuador to be one of the safest and most stable countries in South America, and Quito is not plagued by any problems that other large cities in North America and Europe face. However, I learned a lot about living in a city during my time in Quito, such as how to cross the street in the face of flying traffic, how to barter with vendors and negotiating taxi rides.
We studied at a school called Academia Columbus, which I found happily to be only about four houses down from mine on the same street. This made for easier mornings when I was running out of the house with a piece of pan (bread) trying to be on time. There were about 6 teachers at the school, so it wasn't particularly large, but it allowed us to get to know our teachers fairly well. My teacher was named Danny, and I have to say he was the best instructor there. He always kept us on task but also understood when we just had to have class with the TV on so we could watch the World Cup games! We watched a lot of soccer while we were there, because of the World Cup finals. It was honestly really neat to be in a soccer-crazy country while all of this was going on. We cheered for Ecuador, the United States, watched Holland rout Spain in an utterly unpredictable fashion, hated it when Ecuador and the US were eliminated and kept watching in the US because we had to know who was going to take the title.
I did some things that I never thought that I would get to do, like zip lining across a thousand-foot gorge over two waterfalls, relaxing in a natural hotspring, kayaking on a crater lake called Quilatoa, rode a horse almost to the summit of the Rucu Pichincha volcano and stood in the exact middle of the world. Nothing I can think of could beat having these experiences, and I am so glad that I was able to travel with help from the Star of the West foundation. I am a small town girl and before I had traveled to Ecuador I had never left the United States or even been on an airplane. It's safe to say that no one in my family had ever done something like this. I also improved on my Spanish quite a bit. There is really no better way to learn a language than being immersed. Last year I was quite nervous to talk to my host family in Spanish, because what would they think if my Spanish was not very good? However, this year I was so much more confident in my Spanish speaking that I had no trouble conversing with my host mother. This was great because the more you practice the better you get. I also feel a lot more confident that I could learn other languages now. Before I thought that learning a language was impossible and something that I would never be good at. It turns out, it just takes time.
Something in my heart said, "I'm home", when I visited Ecuador for the first time. The second time was no different, and it actually took me several days to process the fact that I was there again. I had been dreaming of returning since the minute I arrived back in the United States in 2013, so I felt so grateful to be there. I was also excited to gather more stories to tell my family back home, who had been listening to the tales of my first trip over and over again for the past year. They still can't get over the fact that I ate cuy (guinea pig), which is a cultural delicacy in Ecuador. Trust me, it's actually not bad. For about $20 you can buy one cuy which surprisingly is enough to feed four or five people. For a while I threatened to ship one home in dry ice so that they could try it.
I knew when I went into college that studying abroad was something I wanted to do. My father studied in England for a semester when he was in college, and the stories he told me while I was growing up inspired me. I always thought to myself, "I'm going to do that. I don't know how, but I will." I couldn't have predicted it would have been to South America, but what a happy surprise. I don't know what lies in the future, if any more trips to Ecuador await. You never know where life will take you, and perhaps that is a good thing. There are 193 other countries in the world that I haven't seen yet but are waiting for me to explore. I can't wait.