This tag features Augsburg students that are on study abroad/away programs all around the world, including the USA.

Student Reflection from China Delegation Program

The Congressional Black Caucus Foundation (CBCF) recently hosted a delegation of 20 STEM students to China for a 2-week study abroad program. Two Augsburg College STEM students were chosen for this prestigious program, Sadiya Roba Jiru and Hussein Umar Abdullahi.

Auggies were eligible for this program because Augsburg College is in Minnesota’s Fifth District and is represented by Rep. Keith Ellison – a CBCF member. Thank you for this wonderful opportunity! See the CBCF press release.

Below is a reflection from the program from Sadiya, along with a few photos she would like to share.

Continue reading “Student Reflection from China Delegation Program”

CGEE-Mexico students visit the childhood home of Sor Juana Inez De La Cruz

Words and photos from CGEE-Mexico Spring student, Tim Bishop.

A few weeks ago, the CGEE crew went to Hacienda Panoaya, the childhood home of Sor Juana Inez De La Cruz. If you don’t know who she is, please look her up – she is a truly spectacular human being and deserves to be known.

We did many things, from touring her house and grounds to getting lost in a maze. My personal favorite was the house of birds, where tiny little flapping-things would flit from ceiling to floor and sit on you.

An amazing experience to say the least.

Reflections on El Salvador from Augsburg College student Hannah Schmit

Post from Hannah Schmit, Augsburg College student who traveled to El Salvador as part of a winter break course. Hannah also recorded a YouTube video about her experience.  

The crowded plane jostled onto the tarmac and my travel-wearied body snapped Alert.  The piercing lights of distant planes cut through the dark blue haze of night. We had arrived in San Salvador.  For the following ten days, I along with my classmates and professor, journeyed through the streets, cities, and lives of the people of El Salvador.  We began in the city and were given invaluable experiences with church groups and speakers who explained the history of the tumultuous country and gave us glimpses of the true heart of the people. We traveled to a town called Suchitoto, where we heard pure voices of those who had experienced tragedy as they tried to teach us how to forgive. Another voice from Suchitoto spoke of peace and music, of dancing and love, and most importantly of using the gifts given to us by God to make the most out of our lives.  From Suchitoto we traveled to Nueva Esperanza, new hope, and met with calloused hands and friendly smiles. The people of Nueva Esperanza showed us the power of family and community in the face of adversity. We remember those who have shared their lives with us and we honor those who passed in the civil war.



More Student Photos: Mexico Edition!

These photos are from Augsburg Student, Amy Theurer, as she studies abroad on the Social Work program in Mexico! Find us on our Facebook page to post comments on the social work students’ other blog posts


Alumni Profile: Hannah Petterson, Study Abroad in Central America

An interview with Hannah Pettersen, Augsburg College, ’15.  Hannah studied abroad with CGE in Central America in 2014.

two students pose with horses
Hannah’s study abroad selfie in Central America!

Why did you decide to study abroad?

Since high school, going abroad was a dream of mine, and I was lucky enough to be able to fulfill that dream. I have such wanderlust, and going abroad only enhanced that.

Why did you choose to study abroad in Central America?

I was not looking for the typical study abroad experience, and this program fed into my craving for something different. Being able to live and learn in 3 different countries was remarkable, as well as being able to experience and see many things that changed my life. As a Sociology major, all of the topics that we learned about and discussed were incredibly relevant to what I am passionate about and I could not be happier with my decision.

Why was the Social Change in Central America program so interesting?

Being able to live and learn in multiple countries is what appealed to me about this program. What also made this program so interesting was the amount of homestays we were able to have, I felt that with this I was able to immerse myself in the culture as much as any US citizen could.

What is the best part of the program?

I absolutely loved my one-on-one Spanish course in Spanish. It was a crash course to learning Spanish for me and was definitely something I needed. Pati was an amazing teacher and this class was a great start to my semester.

What would you have done differently?

I wish that I had been able to travel more independently; the schedule throughout the semester is pretty tight.

How has the return affected you?

The return has been more difficult for me than I had anticipated, but it has opened my eyes to the world around me and encouraged me to make a change in myself and work to fight oppression in Minneapolis.

Reflections on Learning in Nueva Esperanza, El Salvador

This post is from Augsburg student Leah McDougall, who traveled to El Salvador with CGEE as part of an Augsburg College class.  

I have dreamed about traveling to Central America since I was in high school. Finally, I was given an opportunity to explore, first hand, the culture of that part of the world. El Salvador was an experience of a lifetime where I was able to become more awake and witness a different type of beauty in the world.

There are many factors that made this trip very memorable, well-rounded, and life changing. The leaders of the trip planned it so we would get a large perspective of the country.  We spent time in three different cities: San Salvador, Suchitoto, and Nueva Esperanza, and were able to see life in El Salvador from many different perspectives.  We met with local historians, attended a local mass, toured church and plaza where Archbishop Oscar Romero preached and was killed, checked out the local markets, toured museums with loads of information about the Civil War, met war and massacre survivors, spent time with Sister Peggy at the Art Center for Peace, talked with the two main political parties, visited with the US Embassy, and spent a night on the beach. Throughout all the travel within the small country, I felt pain, anger. and sadness because of the terrible war they had been through and the amount of people in severe poverty today. But I also felt a sense of hope and beauty that is hard to explain. The people we encountered were very hopeful about the future and not bitter about the past. Religion was a large impact in their life and it showed thro ugh their actions and conversations. They relied on each other’s company and companionship to get through the pain of the war, the struggles of daily life and the hardship of life.

My favorite part of the trip was the time in Nueva Esperanza. It is a small agricultural community that functions like a cooperative. In the 1980s, they were forced out of their homeland and moved to San Salvador because of the dangers of the Civil War. Later, they were sent to a refugee camp in Nicaragua where they remained until the early 1990s. I was exposed to the power of a community in three ways.  First, the majority of this community chose to stay together throughout the war and move back to their homeland together.  Second, the sense of responsibility they had for each other was prominent. They all looked after each other financially, emotionally, and physically. They made it clear through their words and actions that they would never let anyone in their community go hungry or struggle alone. Lastly, the simple lifestyle overall was something very different yet comforting to me.They worked hard and made a lot of time to be in the company of others and be present in each other’s lives. This is something I don’t always experience in my day to day life.

Leah McDougall and her CGEE group worked together with local youth the repaint this mural in Nueva Esperanza, El Salvador
Leah McDougall and her CGEE group worked together with local youth the repaint this mural in Nueva Esperanza, El Salvador

Finding the Light after War

By Maly Thao

Maly received the Mary Witt Scholarship to help support her short-term travel to El Salvador in January 2015. The below is excerpted from a a reflective paper she wrote about the seminar. 

As I sit here reflecting back upon my study abroad short term winter break journey in El Salvador, I keep going back to the time the group departed to Copapayo Viejo and was taken across the lake into the forest where we got a chance to listen to two testimony from the massacre survivors: Rogelio Miranda and Mercedes Menjivar. Both of these stories made a huge impact on me that I felt like I was there with them the whole time on their tragic journey. Most especially, Rogelio’s story because he went through and seen so much at such a young age. This man is so strong. If I were to imagine myself in his shoe, I would not know how to continue on living life being a massacre survivor.

I felt many emotions going through me as I was standing and listening to Rogelio and Mercedes. It was long listening to their heartbreaking stories in the heat and my legs started hurting but, I could not give up letting myself sit down. The reason why I choose to stay standing was because I wanted to feel what Rogelio and Mercedes was feeling as they stood and shared their story. Also, I thought about the long hours of walking the soldiers made all the survivors at the time traveled and some may have walk barefooted. My mind and emotions was all over the place.

Again, Rogelio’s story hit me the most. He watched his sister, aunt, and many loved ones from behind a line they were all standing in get shot at the age of nine years old. He was a smart boy who dodged death; his life flashed right in front of his eyes so many times and yet, he managed to survive. With this, he stated that he knew somehow God was protecting him every step of the way. I do believe in this too and that there is a place and a time for everything.

Listening to Rogelio’s story, I was drifting in and out of my mind. The experience that they went through, I can also relate it on to a personal level because my parents, great grandparents, and cousins went through a similar experience: their journey from the war that is known as the Secret War or Silent War. I know a little about my parents’ journey because they would talk about it when I was younger growing up. It was always tied into some kind of lecturing about how they struggled migrating to the United States of America and was not able to get all the opportunities here and we (their children) should go in all our ways to obtain the most of it for them. I knew my role as a Hmong American daughter and know well what my parents wants for us but, was rebellious because I have some things against my culture and still do. I struggle daily to see why the gender role is what it is today in my culture and is something hard to explain, but I realized that I never took my culture and its history in that serious. It was always like you don’t want to believe the horrible things a human being can do to another human being. I came to realizing that one’s culture is important because somehow, in some way, you will always come back to your own roots.

Again and again, the experience in El Salvador left me with a huge impact that I am processing all my thoughts down. After listening to both the stories, the group did a prayer together around a tree, and ended with giving each other hugs. We then got back onto the boat and I turned to glance one last time to the place we were at, and saw the sun shining onto the tree we prayed around on. At that very moment, it hit me that there in the deepest darkness tragedy one goes through, they can find the light (happiness) again. I am thankful for this powerful short moment of my life that impacted me in so many ways unimaginable.