Mapping the past: NKU trip to Guatemala

July 13, 2018

Sri Lanka. Thailand. Rome. Argentina. The list of countries visited by Northern Kentucky University students through the study abroad program is seemingly endless, and as of May 2018, grew by one more country: Guatemala.

Ryan Murphy, a senior electronic media & broadcasting major, got the unique opportunity to travel to the Guatemalan city of Tikal, where he and a group of Northern students filmed five broadcasts about tea plantations, hydroelectricity, family, the national bird, the Quetzal and original mapping of the Mayan ruins.

The documentaries, mainly filmed about the original efforts of mapping ancient Mayan ruins, will be edited and completed during the next academic school year.   

Pride in work, and the quality of work being done is something Americans and Europeans both value, while Guatemalans place pride for their country and love for their families before everything else.

“I’ve definitely tried to live a happier life since then. I was always trying to just be my best at my job, and my career, which I still think is very prevalent, but I’ve definitely opened my arms back up to my family more,” Murphy said.

“One of the first nights we were there, one of my best friends and I were just sitting on a rooftop and we saw some sparks flying through the air…it [volcano] was spouting out some lava,” Murphy said.

“It was crazy. Of course, no one else thought anything of it and we were like ‘oh my God.’”

Having previously traveled to London through the same program that brought him to Guatemala, Murphy got the opportunity to see volcanic eruptions.

Despite the eruption being a small one, which Murphy said was a daily occurrence in Guatemala, it is one thing that he wouldn’t have been able to experience in Kentucky. Murphy said that he would consider traveling back to Guatemala someday.

“That was one of the happiest times for a lot of the people there. We all just felt free, happy,” Murphy said.

He recommends that every college student travel abroad.

Spanning over six different continents and surpassing four oceans, the study abroad program sends more than 250 students across the globe every year.


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Mapping the past: NKU trip to Guatemala