Leyah Williams

International Experience Country:
Cohort Year:
Home Institution:

Arcadia University

Heinz Programming Area:
Arts and Culture
International Experience Summary:

Leyah Williams spent her summer in Nanjing, China where she studied the language and history of U.S.-China relations. She attended Nanjing University, which is known to be one of the country’s top five schools and most historic universities. She observed differences in cultural formalities between the U.S. and China as well as discrepancies in Chinese history compared to United States history. Nanjing is one of China’s oldest and most historical cities with prevalence during the Second World War as Chinese soldiers battled against the Japanese in the Second Sino-Japanese war in 1937, resulting in the Nanjing Massacre. During her stay, she was able to work with a language partner and travel around Nanjing’s lively city to restaurants and various shopping centers. Later, she visited Dr. Sun Yat Sen’s, a well-known and coveted Chinese revolutionary during the early 1900s, mausoleum where she learned about the importance of Feng Shui and its significance to Chinese culture. Leyah attended various lectures regarding the state of U.S.- China relations today, especially after a 20-year absence during Mao Zedong’s reign over China. She was then able to visit China’s capital city, Beijing, to see Tiananmen Square, and learn about its historical significance, as well as the Forbidden City which has lasted from the Ming Dynasty (1420) to the Qing Dynasty (1912) and served as a home for emperors and their households. When not immersed in her studies, Leyah spent her weekends further exploring the big city that is Nanjing and visiting places such as the Nanjing Museum and the Confucius Temple. 

Community Engagement Experience Summary:

CEE Title: Dare to be a Force of Nature

Leyah and Chelsea hosted Dare to be a Force of Nature, an event that focused on the negative impacts that humans have on the global environment. To begin, Leyah and Chelsea each gave a presentation on their experiences concerning environmental awareness and the ways the population has negatively impacted the environment. Participants were provided with information on climate change and environmental sustainability that helped the community to take charge and create change. Although Arcadia is a very small campus, Chelsea and Leyah wanted staff and students to know that they could still make a difference in terms of the condition of the environment. Attendees then had a debate where they broke into four teams (Team Government, Team STEM researchers, Team People(Average Americans), and Team Businesses) in order to discuss amongst the group who had the biggest impact on climate change and pollution. Each group had a small “fact sheet” about their team’s contribution and influence of global warming which they read to help them prepare an opening statement. Leyah and Chelsea's PowerPoint presentation had three detailed debate questions which each team argued for or against their importance in impacting America’s climate. Finally, the first portion of the event closed with a debrief of the debate and educated the participants about which teams impact the environment. The second portion of the event consisted of Leyah and Chelsea providing the participants with resources which they could use to reduce their impact on the environment; each participant was given an eco-friendly “kit” which contained pencils-- which can be planted after they have been used-- soil, a pamphlet, seeds, and a recyclable “pot.” Participants could choose from planting tomatoes, carrots, parsley, and basil. The group was guided to the next room where there were recyclable bottles transformed into “self-watering” gardens. Overall, the group concluded that it everyone affects the environment, regardless of their place in society.