Marissa Booth

International Experience Country:
Cohort Year:
Home Institution:

University of Pittsburgh | Bradford

Heinz Programming Area:
International Experience Summary:

Marissa Booth studied Spanish in Buenos Aires, Argentina for eight weeks at the University of Belgrano. She spent twenty-five hours in class per week. She lived with a host mother approximately ten blocks away from school. Living with a host mother and interacting with locals allowed Marissa to get an understanding of the Argentinian culture. Her host mother was blind and did not know any English, which created a difficult situation from day one as Marissa barely knew any Spanish upon her arrival. Once Marissa learned more Spanish, she and her host mother became very close. Her home-stay alone taught Marissa a lot about communication and life itself.
On the weekends, Marissa tried to use her time to see and experience other parts of Buenos Aires and Argentina. Her main goal in her travels was to learn about the regional cultures in Argentina all while learning about who she was as an individual. She was able to travel to Iguazu Falls, which is one of the Seven Natural Wonders of the World, Mendoza, and Salta. Closer to Buenos Aires, she was also able to visit Plaza del Mayo, which is where most of the governmental buildings are and where Marissa saw Argentina's President, Cristina Fernández de Kirchner, at the festival for the Revolución de Mayo; the Museo de Evita, which teaches visitors about one of the First Ladys of Argentina-Eva Peron; the San Telmo Market, one of the big Sunday markets; the Feria de Mattadores, an old fashioned market with rancheros (cowboys); the Obilisque, a famous monument; La Bomba de Tiempo, a very famous improvisation percussion ensemble; the Basilica de Nuestra Senora del Pilar, the second oldest church in Buenos Aires; La Recoleta Cemetery, which is all individual family mausoleums side by side; and even Colonia, Uruguay, a very historic town with incredible architecture. 

Community Engagement Experience Summary:

CEE Title: Cry Like a Man, Throw Like a Woman

After an immense amount of brainstorming, Alyssa Gregg, Falon Ljunggren, and I created our Community Engagement Experience: Cry Like A Man, Throw Like A Woman. During our brainstorming sessions, we decided to design an event that provided something to improve campus life. Something we all agreed our campus needed was a greater understanding of why gender stereotypes are taking away from our campus’s overall environment We also wanted to attempt to help our audience realize why the portrayal of each gender in the media as a singular mold with very little variation is ridiculous. It is harmful because men and women differ in so many aspects that it is blatantly inaccurate for the media to portray men and women in such a narrow view. Cry Like A Man, Throw Like A Woman had a primary goal of creating an environment that would allow the audience to open up about gender roles and stereotypes. Its secondary goal was to spark something in each audience member that would inspire them to continue the conversation on campus and in the community after the CEE ended. In order to achieve these goals, Cry Like A Man, Throw Like A Woman involved watching six videos that showed how each sex is stereotyped and portrayed in the media. The videos included clips from Miss Representation, The Mask You Live In, videos that discussed the different sexes, and videos that compiled ads. After each video, there was a 10-15 minute discussion based off of questions tailored to each video that was shown. When guests arrived, they were given a large piece of colored construction paper and told to write down their experiences with gender stereotypes. During the discussions, guests were able to write down any thoughts they had or anything they learned. After the CEE ended, they were able to take their paper and hang it up to remind themselves of the discussions they took part in. The paper could also be a point of reference for them to continue the discussion in other places on campus. The overall affect our CEE had on those in attendance was almost immediately seen and felt. The event lasted from 7:30 to 9 PM, but attendees were so passionate about the subject area, they did not want to end the discussion. It easily could have lasted longer, and it definitely opened the door for this event to be held again.