Tag Archives: Scott Christopher

Morocco: Gateway to Another World

Scott Barnes, a Parkland student, is living in Seville, Spain for a semester study abroad. As part of his study abroad experience he visited Morocco. I am looking forward to what he has to say!

Remember YOU can study abroad too.  We have lots of different experiences. Check out our study abroad options at http://www.parkland.edu/international/studyabroad

**********

When I first arrived in Europe, I knew very little about the history of the various countries in it and had very little knowledge about the many cultures that exist here. Other than the secondhand information I received via the media throughout the years, I didn’t have much of an idea about libarnes-blog-2016fe abroad.

The differences are what I noticed first and foremost, and those differences are what most students struggle with, initially. Changing mealtimes and sleep habits as well adjusting to the foreign way in which people greet each other and conduct themselves requires some time to understand and get comfortable with.

Despite the differences, there is a lot that Americans and Europeans have in common. Those similarities were brought to light after I took a trip to Morocco.

I hadn’t realized how much the way in which I live echoes the European way of life until I spent some time in the Rif Mountains. The social norms that westerners share exist to a lesser degree in northern Africa. For example, it is uncommon to see men and women together in a public setting and much of the daily routine is centered around practicing religion.

barnes-blog-3Although my visit to Morocco was very short, it had a significant impact on me. Rather than providing a detailed, firsthand account of the various activities that the International College of Seville planned out for our trip, I prefer to share with you what I found to be truly rewarding about the experience. It is wonderful to have pictures of riding camels and eating in authentic Moroccan restaurants, but what is more valuable is the perspective that is gained from visiting different countries and meeting new people. The stimulation that comes from trying to understand a different way of life or to see the perspective of things through another cultural lens has been life-changing for me.

The name of the game in the touristic areas of Morocco is buy and sell, and merchants love to engage in the act of negotiation. There are no set prices and the bargain to be had is largely determined by the ability of the buyer to be resolute. The confidence of knowing a low price has been paid may be confirmed by the statement, “you haggle like a Berber!” The country is a great place to purchase gifts for friends and family back home and that seems to be the objective for most of the tourists who visit. The products offered vary from handmade gifts and food to just about anything they think people might want to buy.barnes-blog-5

To my surprise, many Moroccan people know English and speak it very well. It is necessary when dealing with foreigners, and their linguistic capability is impressive. Many of them learn English at a very young age and likely have been speaking more than one language since they were children. In fact, it is normal for Moroccan people to speak three or four different languages; English, French and their own dialect of Arabic are the most common. I found that after the exchange of money was complete, the sellers were more open to conversation. A lot about their culture was conveyed in those brief interactions, and it was easy to feel their affection and see the kindness in their eyes.

barnes-blog-4Superficially, consumerism is obviously a part of their way of life, and tourism certainly supports the economy, but there is much more to the culture and history of Arabian people. There are stories behind the faces in the shops of the medina, or “Old Town,” district of Tetouan, or within the painted blue walls of Chefchaouen. There is a way of greeting people, of falling in love, of raising children, and of experiencing life that is unique to the culture.

I have found that tasting the different flavors, seeing the sights, hearing the sounds, and smelling the scents of various cultures is enlightening. The best way to learn about other countries is to visit them. Sharing face to face conversations is rewarding, even if the interaction is minimal.

barnes-blog-2Moving beyond being a tourist and finding commonality with people of another race is what is truly beneficial about traveling. Also, to tell the story of the person who sold you the gift makes the act of giving it more enjoyable. I may have left with a pair of high quality, handmade Moroccan leather sandals, but the real present is my new found view of the world and my life.

Perhaps the most beneficial aspect of studying abroad is the easy access to other worlds and the subsequent comprehensive understanding of culture that results from those adventures.

Study Abroad Spain: The Experience is Sinking In

Communication major Scott Barnes’ new study abroad acquaintance Corey Davis learns he should live life back home like he’s living it in Spain. “Get off the couch and quit watching Netflix,” I think, is a great message for all of us! Check out Corey’s interview below.

Remember, anyone can study abroad; I have people of all ages and backgrounds go on these trips. We have 10-day, 4-week, and 15-week programs available at a variety of times in the academic year.

*****************

The experience of living in another country is really beginning to set in, and most of the students at ICS are starting to understand how this program is changing the way they think and live. Corey Davis provides some wonderful insight into that phenomenon in this short interview.

****************

***The Illinois Consortium for International Studies and Programs and Parkland College work together to provide opportunities for Parkland students to study abroad. Multiple programs in various countries are available every semester. Students interested in enrolling should contact study abroad coordinator Jody Littleton via email at jlittleton@parkland.edu for more information.

[Associate Professor Jody Littleton teaches speech communication and serves as Parkland’s Study Abroad coordinator.]

Study Abroad Spain: Morocco, and a Friend

Communication major Scott Barnes’ introductory video to  his life-changing educational experiences in Spain happened more than a month ago now. In his latest video, Scott gets ready to visit yet another country and lets you meet a new friend he has made from the states.

Remember, anyone can study abroad; I have people of all ages and backgrounds go on these trips. We have 10-day, 4-week, and 15-week programs available at a variety of times in the academic year.

*************

My study abroad program is in its fourth week, and the weather is still quite warm in southern Spain. There are multiple trips that take place throughout the semester, and one of the most exciting excursions is this weekend – Morocco!

 

***The Illinois Consortium for International Studies and Programs and Parkland College work together to provide opportunities for Parkland students to study abroad. Multiple programs in various countries are available every semester. Students interested in enrolling should contact study abroad coordinator Jody Littleton via email at jlittleton@parkland.edu for more information.

[Associate Professor Jody Littleton teaches speech communication and serves as Parkland’s Study Abroad coordinator.]

5 Reasons Why You Should Study Abroad

Hopefully you’ve already seen Communication major Scott Barnes’ introduction last week, as he began his life-changing educational experiences in Spain. In this latest post, Scott entices all students to try study abroad, listing some fabulous reasons for doing so.

Remember, anyone can study abroad; I have people of all ages and backgrounds go on these trips. We have 10-day, 4-week, and 15-week programs available at a variety of times in the academic year.

Enjoy some tapas for me, Scott!

*************

I now have firsthand knowledge of what culture shock is! But I also know that it just takes a few deep breaths and a little bit of time to overcome it. Despite the difficulties of living day-to-day life in a foreign country and speaking a language that is relatively new to me, I have survived. I have just completed week number two of my first semester studying abroad, and the experience has been all I thought it would be and more.

I have been in Seville, Spain, for 14 days and am already beginning to see how this experience will impact the rest of my life. I have spent the last year of my life contemplating pros and cons, researching Spanish culture, practicing the language, and wondering if the investment is worth it. I can say with confidence that it is!  I made a serious commitment and left behind the comforts of home in order to further my education, and I recommend every college student do the same. There are many reasons why studying abroad is a wise decision. Here are just five of them.

Resume. Students whose main objective for pursuing a college degree is to increase employment opportunities should put study abroad at the top of their list. The workplace is becoming increasingly diverse, and companies are looking for employees who have an understanding of other cultures. Therefore, a solid candidate is one who possesses intercultural competency and an ability to speak multiple languages, two skills that are immediately put to the test when studying in a foreign country.

Immersion. There is only so much a student can learn sitting at a desk. The classroom is a great setting to gain knowledge about any given field of study but, as many students already know, learning how to apply that knowledge is essential to developing a career. The process of learning a new language is much the same. I have taken three Spanish courses at Parkland and have spent hours memorizing vocabulary and verb conjugation. I’ve learned more about the language in the last two weeks than I did during those three semesters. Studying was a great way to prepare myself but actually being immersed has forced me to understand the nuances and begin to think in a “Spanish” way, which has been a truly stimulating experience for me.

Networking. In the short amount of time I’ve been here in Spain, I have already made new friends as well as professional acquaintances. In my opinion, meeting new people and increasing the Rolodex is just as important to career ambitions as developing a well-rounded portfolio or an impressive resume. To have contacts in other countries increases the reach of my social circle. It also fosters more global awareness and provides different perspectives on worldly issues. My social and professional life will be forever changed because the connections I’ve made here.

Culture. Spending a significant amount of time in another country gives students the benefit of moving beyond the limitations of being a tourist and helps them adopt new ways of thinking and living. I began my journey in Paris, France, and have been to multiple cities since then. I have been lucky enough to spend time in different houses and hostels around France as well as in Madrid and Barcelona. I spent at least a few days in each location and made an effort to interact with the locals, which has actually been pretty easy to do! Studying outside of America has helped me realize what it’s like to be a foreigner as well as develop a better understanding of my own culture. I’ve also gotten an outside perspective on the United States and how American culture is viewed here in Europe. I think that this insight and knowledge is very beneficial to my intellectual development and is valuable to me no matter what career path I choose to take. Interacting with people from various cultural backgrounds has been enlightening in many ways for me.

Experience. Studying abroad has presented me with a myriad of challenges. Whether it was dealing with the feeling of being homesick or confronting the uneasiness of culture shock, these adverse situations provided me an opportunity to grow and have boosted my self-confidence. I have bonded with travelers from all over the world as well as other American students who have had the same kind of experiences. In many ways, studying abroad is a good excuse to visit new lands and learn about new cultures. Once inside Europe, it is relatively cheap and easy to travel to multiple countries and experience multiple cultures. There are many new activities and customs to experience that aren’t available in the States. All of this adds up to a rewarding and enriching experience for those who are curious about the world and a new way of life different than what they are accustomed to.

*************
***The Illinois Consortium for International Studies and Programs and Parkland College work together to provide opportunities for Parkland students to study abroad. Multiple programs in various countries are available every semester. Students interested in enrolling should contact study abroad coordinator Jody Littleton via email at jlittleton@parkland.edu for more information.

[Associate Professor Jody Littleton teaches speech communication and serves as Parkland’s Study Abroad coordinator.]

Parkland Study Abroad: Meet Scott Christopher

What’s the first thing a student tells me when they come back from study abroad? This was the best experience of my life and has changed my life forever.” I encourage you to follow Communication major Scott Christopher Barnes on his life-changing experience abroad and live vicariously through him until you can go on your own Parkland study abroad! In this first video, Scott introduces himself and a few new friends.

Remember, anyone can study abroad; I have people of all ages and backgrounds go on these trips. We have 10-day, 4-week, and 15-week programs available at a variety of times in the academic year.


***The Illinois Consortium for International Studies and Programs and Parkland College work together to provide opportunities for Parkland students to study abroad. Multiple programs in various countries are available every semester. Students interested in enrolling should contact study abroad coordinator Jody Littleton via email at jlittleton@parkland.edu for more information.