Bethany was given the opportunity to travel to Buenos Aires, Argentina. During the first four weeks, she studied New Argentina Cinema, and through the class she was able to not only watch films from famous Argentine directors but was also given the opportunity to interview them, including prominent directors Mariano Llinás and Gaston Solnicki. Bethany also took a gender, sexuality, and politics in Argentina course during her stay. This course helped her to learn more about hot-topic issues currently happening in Argentina, as well as provided a better understanding of Argentina’s history and culture.
During her time abroad Bethany was able to work on her photography skills, specifically in the area of documentary photography and photojournalism. She attended a large demonstration of the pro-choice movement during the historical vote on abortion by the Argentine Chamber of Deputies. The photo journalistic photos she captured during the rallies, along with a collection of photographs documenting the various pro and anti movement graffiti around the city, will be implemented into her senior thesis which will detail the events that took place surrounding the Argentine abortion issue this summer. Bethany was able to visit other locations around Argentina, including Alta Garcia in Cordoba and Colon in Entre Rios. These excursions gave her the opportunity to explore museums and churches and extend her knowledge of Argentina’s history during the “Dirty War” that took place in the late 70’s. She explored the palm tree forests in the Palmar National Park, climbed to the top of Palacio Barolo to overlook Buenos Aires, was sung to by a Payador in San Jose Palace, and lived blocks from El Ateneo Book Store and the Recoleta Cemetery. Bethany looks forward to future travel, as well as one day returning to Argentina to visit her favorite sights again.
The Robert Morris University Cohort had out Community Engagement Experience, “Mind the Gap: Building Cross-Cultural Understanding at RMU” to improve the global perspective of students and faculty at Robert Morris University. We held a presentation that identified that there is a gap at our university between the American and international students and why we need to work together to bridge this gap. Bethany, Margo, and I built close relationships with the locals of the countries we visited, and we think that type of environment can be created at RMU. The presentation started with a video of the international students we interviewed talking about their experiences with American students and if they felt welcomed overall. We walked the students and faculty in attendance through a story that drew parallels between a trip on a train and the experiences they have at theuniversity. We then discussed ways that both American and international students can work towards bridging the gap between us. To close, we broke into round-table discussions with optional guided questions, but most groups spoke on their personal experiences and views.