How NKU’s study abroad program changes lives
July 13, 2018
Last May, Northern Kentucky University sent a group of Electronic Media and Broadcasting students in the study abroad program to Los Andes, Guatemala.
The purpose of the trip was to film five different mini-documentaries in the area. Stories ranged from tea farming and production, the country’s emphasis on the importance of family, ancient Mayan ruins in Tikal, to the national bird of Guatemala and the use of hydroelectric power as a main source of energy for the area.
The students stayed there for 12 days, spending most of their time working on each film outside of the nation’s capital, the city of Los Andes.
The group chose the location based on the recommendation of assistant EMB professor Tracy Songer. She described the importance of visiting different countries and experiencing unfamiliar cultures.
Tracy visited Guatemala before on other trips in the Study Abroad Program and “fell in love,” according to one of her students, Ryan Murphy.
Murphy is a senior at NKU who previously studied abroad in London before going to Guatemala this May.
“[The trip was] one of the happiest times for the people that were there…I want to be back already,” Murphy said, laughing at the memory.
When referring to the culture and people of Guatemala, Murphy believes that both the less materialistic approach to life and the strong focus on family are what really differentiates the country from the United States.
“When you look at the people that are in the documentary and all of the different interviews, take a look at how happy they are, how prideful they are,” Murphy said.
Since returning to America, Murphy and the other students on the trip have all tried to incorporate the important values and happiness of the Guatemalan people into their own personal lives.
The general consensus from students is that traveling, experiencing different cultures and meeting new people leaves a lasting impression.
Being able to study abroad has changed their whole perspective on life as well as their overall mindset, and every college student should have that same opportunity.