Keeley Criswell

International Experience Country:
Cohort Year:
Home Institution:

Thiel College

Heinz Programming Area:
Arts and Culture
International Experience Summary:

Keeley Criswell studied abroad in Salamanca, Spain for six weeks. She took classes about the Spanish language and lived with a host family. Living with a host family gave her a fantastic opportunity to practice the Spanish that she was learning in her classes with her host mother, Luisi. Because Luisi has had many exchange students before, she was very good at speaking slowly, using common words, and explaining unfamiliar words. Keeley was able to speak without a worry of saying the wrong thing because Luisi was very kind and would help Keeley with her pronunciation and sentence structure. Keeley also took a Spanish cooking class during her free time. This class provided her with the opportunity to improve her cooking, an activity that she greatly enjoys, as well as practice her Spanish listening and conversing skills with individuals other than her host mother. Many of the other students in the class knew more Spanish so they were able to help her understand the professor when he spoke too quickly. During the weekends, Keeley traveled to various parts of Spain and Portugal. She was able to see Roman aqueducts in Sevilla and walk the halls of Alhambra in southern Spain. On these trips she was able to interact with individuals who lived outside of Salamanca and better understand the different cultures across Spain. Struggling with a second language in another country was both challenging and rewarding. In the future Keeley’s newfound Spanish skills and problem solving skills will be an invaluable asset.

Community Engagement Experience Summary:

CEE Title: Meandering the Maze

Our CEE was entitled Meandering the Maze. It was a seminar geared towards adolescent girls in the range of grades 7-9.  The seminar was broken into three sections: the relationship with oneself, relationships with others, and role models.  We also included a craft – a jar for the storage of personal pick-me-up notes.  On their personal pick-me-up notes, the girls could include favorite quotes, positive notions about themselves, encouraging words, and whatever else they wished to include.  We provided fabric, ribbons, rhinestones and glue so that the girls could decorate while we talked about the purpose of the jars.  Each jar is to be personal, and its contents are for the owner alone.  

During each sections of the night, Hildebrand, Challingsworth, and I told stories about our own experiences, and one of us lead a discussion.  Hildebrand led the discussion about the relationship with oneself. I led the discussion about relationships with others. Challingsworth led the discussion about role models.  We allowed adequate time for the young women in attendance to ask questions and provide their own input.