Every year Le Moyne students become “road scholars.” They leave behind the comfort and familiarity of campus to grow, explore and test themselves in European capitals, remote Asian villages and bucolic New England hamlets – as part of their coursework. They return changed – inspired, more invested in what they’ve learned, and a little further along on their journey to become the best possible version of themselves.
Driving along the side of an active volcano. Staring in awe as a geyser erupts. Trekking deep into a hole in the earth, the remnant of the melting of an enormous block of ice. For Le Moyne students, that was a typical day in the field – in Iceland. The undergraduates spent about two weeks exploring the island nation to cap off their course, Earth’s Global Environment: Iceland. Aided by nearly 24 hours of sunlight and armed with shovels, they studied soil and plants in places covered by ice just a few years ago. These scientists honed their research skills and recorded the ways in which our climate is changing. And they came to this conclusion: “Iceland is like no other place in the world.”
Paris or Bust
Why did Brianna Felldin ’17 enroll in Literary Paris? Short answer: The class concluded with a trip to the French capital. “And who doesn’t want to go to Paris?” Many see the city as a romantic utopia, but Felldin and her classmates witnessed how diverse, complex and global it truly is. They made the stops you would expect in the City of Light – the Arc de Triomphe, the Louvre, the Eiffel Tower. But they also ventured off of that well-worn path – to author Edith Wharton’s grave, an ancient basilica, even the Chanel fashion house. The students learned about literature, as well as sociology, architecture and urban design. Plus they thought on their feet while asking for directions and ordering food – in French. Not bad, les Américains.
Bridging the Generation Gap in Thailand
The generation gap isn’t an American phenomenon. It’s a global one. That’s one of the (many) lessons Le Moyne students learned during a visit to rural Thailand, where they spent a summer living among the Akha people. The students’ research spanned diverse fields, including medicine, education and linguistics, but centered on a single theme: the relationship between the youngest and eldest villagers. The budding sociologists sparked an intergenerational dialog among the Akha that continues today. An added bonus? They filled Deborah Tooker, Ph.D., who taught their Research in Anthropology class, with renewed hope for the future. “The trip showed me the deep commitment that the younger generation has for the less fortunate and others in the world, and it made me optimistic about the future.”
A Thoreau Understanding of Literature
To better understand Henry David Thoreau’s connection to nature, the students in Literary New England walked in the same woods he did. To untangle what Emily Dickinson meant when she wrote, I’m Nobody. Who are you?, they visited her home. And to see what inspired Ralph Waldo Emerson as he worked, they gazed out the window of his room. Discussing the ideas, themes and symbols in a book is one thing. Visiting the places where the authors lived and retracing their steps is quite another. It’s the difference between a lesson and an experience. It leads to something central to Jesuit education – understanding the broader world.