RC students travel the world during off campus study programs

By: Emily Janssen
Last semester eight Ripon College students left Ripon College to study in other places. These students are some of many Ripon College students who have left campus to gain experience through the off campus study program.

“Ripon College has supported off campus study programs for decades,” Associate Dean of Faculty and Registrar Michele Wittler said, “Ripon College has a program, which we administer, at Bonn University in Bonn Germany. In addition, we are a member of the Associated Colleges of the Midwest (ACM), an academic consortium through which we are able to offer programs we would be unable to offer by ourselves.”

Ripon College has 35 off campus study programs that have been reviewed by the faculty. These programs allow students to go everywhere from Washington D.C. to London to Tokyo. Students can go one trips focusing on most disciplines.

“There is a Ripon College process for students considering an off campus study program,” Wittler says “Students interested in participating in an off campus study program in 2017-18 should declare their interest by February 17, 2017. Students may do so through the online finalization of registration process at the beginning of the semester, or by communicating their interest to the Office of the Registrar.”

Just because a student declares their interest in study off campus does not mean they are obliged to go. However, it is a good idea to do this to get better access to the the Ripon College Off Campus Study Grant.

“Ripon College graduates often list having attended an off campus study program as one of their most important undergraduate experiences,” Wittler said. “Those who did not take advantage of the opportunity often wish they had. In many cases, students describe the combination of coursework in a unique setting, particularly suited to the curriculum, and the social experience living somewhere else as transformative. Students find their studies while on a program enhance and inform their studies upon returning to campus.”

Lauren Hince, Washington DC
Q. What is life like in Washington DC?
A. Life in Washington DC can be defined as practical, selfish, and ambitious. It is practical because during rush hour you will see people running around in suits and sneakers, for comfort. It is selfish because everyone is usually staring at their phone screen, I have been run into several times. Most importantly DC is ambitious, a lot of people I encounter are starting out their professional lives and take pride in their work. It’s a very young city, full of proud young professionals.
Q. Do you have any advice for people considering off campus programs?
A. Just do it, it’s so important to get away and gain valuable experiences and learn about the world around you. For those worried about going outside the US, the Washington Semester Program is a nice alternative. Many people don’t realize how many different areas the program covers, it’s not just about politics. You can take a journalism course, business, law, and even sustainable development. You don’t have to be a POGO major to enjoy Washington DC.

Courtney Olsen, Costa Rica
Q. What is your favorite thing about Costa Rica and/or off campus study?
A. My favorite thing is traveling on the weekends to visit beaches and national parks throughout the country.
Q. What is your most entertaining story (that can be printed) from off campus study?
A. When I was living in Llano Bonito, my group and I just finished bottling shampoo and were cleaning up the area. Suddenly we saw cockroaches and large beetles running into the room. Seconds later ants started pouring into room, covering the floor and the walls near our only exit. We quickly grabbed all of the bottles of shampoo, hurdled the bugs, and went to the main part of the building. We started working again, but I remembered that I left my phone in the ant infested room. I returned to the room, jumping over patches of ants. Since the others did not want to go near these bugs, I also had the fun job of closing and locking the backroom. Luckily, I only had four ants on me, and they did not bite me. Later on, we found out from our host families that they were army ants and that they have a powerful bite.

Mherete Mherete, Shanghai, China
Q. What is your favorite thing about Shanghai and/or studying off campus?
A. To be honest my favorite thing is going out with friends, you say why? Going out here is very different because as a foreigner all clubs and most bars have free drinks and free entry ALL THE TIME. A lot of Chinese people will offer to buy you a drink as well. Everyone is super friendly and fun, because of this reason I have met a lot of new people.
My other favorite thing about studying abroad in shanghai was the chance it provided me to make friends from all over the world. I could not believe there were so many foreigners here. I have become really close friends with one of my Chinese classmate Peyman who is from France. He and others I met have encouraged me to visit their countries and cities also offered to host me. Meeting all those people has opened my eyes to a different world and able me to think about traveling more.
Q. What is your most entertaining story (that can be printed) from studying off campus?
A. Most entertaining story would be my birthday a couple of weeks back. I was not sure if was going to celebrate my birthday since I did not know anyone when I went to China. I ended up have a big birthday celebration at a club with free entry, free drinks, and cake to all my friends that came. The best part about this was we even had a shuttle bus to take us there and the cost was $0, not thing!! I think that was the coolest thing that has happened to me and my friends. (If this doesn’t work let me know and I can think of a different story)