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MC Students Spend Summer Around the World
Whether travel has taken them to studying abroad or to do missions in their home country, MC students return to campus after a summer immersed in new cultures.
The staff at MC encourages the students to engage in summer missions and study abroad. Many MC students do take advantage of these opportunities. However, there may be others who are more hesitant due to cost or fear of traveling overseas. MC offers a variety of options in order to satisfy all interests.
Like many students who have never done summer missions, Amber Cook, a general biology major from Richland, Miss., was anxious before leaving for her summer mission trip to San Francisco, Calif. with the program, GenSend, created by the North American Mission Board. GenSend disperses students all across the United States and Canada to train them how to live life on a mission. Other cities include Denver, Boston, NYC, New Orleans, Toronto, and Phoenix.
Cook discovered GenSend through a friend who had traveled the previous summer to New Orleans, La. Immediately, Cook researched more and looked into each city. On a whim, Cook applied. Students get to rank their three top cities and are interviewed by individuals from those cities. For Cook, her first preference was San Francisco. Once accepted, the realness of her first mission trip kicked in.
“I was very nervous just because I would be working with people from all over the country. I personally didn’t know anybody that was going,” said Cook.
Upon arriving in San Francisco, Cook had to live with 15 other people in a small apartment with only one bathroom for girls and one for boys. They spent the first weeks forming relationships with the team and building patterns and routines within the local community.
After the first three weeks, Cook and her team became too comfortable with their environment, and the team took a moment to evaluate themselves.
“My group talked about how to be bolder. Even though our group may not want to speak up to one particular person, we just needed to be bold,” said Cook.
Besides engaging with the community, the team aided a local church, Realm Church, with whatever it needed. Cook worked alongside church members to run a food bank and a backpack drive for local students. However, the trip didn’t come without its challenges, which came after returning home for Cook.
Cook loved every second of this trip and plans to go again. An option like GenSend is great for students who want to serve on missions but don’t want to travel across seas or spend the money to do so.
On the other hand, studying abroad is a wonderful opportunity for students who love to travel, learn, and be immersed in other cultures. Emily Grace Boutwell, an international studies major from Brookhaven, Miss., traveled with MC to Salamanca, Spain, this past June.
Every day, Boutwell and her MC companions studied Spanish at school and experienced what it's like living as a Spaniard. The group further learned the language through morning classes and cultural immersion. Students lived in host homes, so there was no break from hearing Spanish.
“My Spanish has really improved. My comprehension improved tremendously. By the end of it, I was very confident that I could listen to someone speak and know exactly what they were trying to say, but my response was harder,” said Boutwell.
Unlike the 9 to 5 work hours the average person experiences in the U.S., Spaniards have a very different type of daily schedule. The students’ daily routine included a morning of classes in Grammar and Conversations. The latter was a class filled with students from all over the world- China, Ireland, England, and Ukraine, with their only common language being Spanish.
After classes, lunch took place from 2 to 3 p.m., followed by a two-hour siesta, which is a time of rest. Boutwell chose this time of day to either nap, read, or do her quiet time. When the siesta was over, Spaniards returned to work until 8 or 9 p.m. However, MC students used this time to explore the city and shop.
“We would usually get tapas. We would hang out until dinner. We would walk around and go to the Carrefour, which is a grocery store. We would go to Corte Ingles, which is an awesome shopping center,” said Boutwell.
The aversion of stress is another factor that differentiates Spain from the U.S. When MC students experienced overwhelming situations, the locals would do anything they could to make them feel happier and more comfortable, fixing problems as soon as they arose. A part of Spanish culture that Boutwell would want to implement in the U.S.
For students with a passion for learning another language and experiencing new places, traveling abroad through MC is a great opportunity. There are thousands of choices when it comes to the summer. It’s important for students to not limit themselves and to use this unique time to try new things and to go new places.
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