Amanda Latta

International Experience Country:
South Africa & South Korea
Cohort Year:
Home Institution:

Waynesburg University

Heinz Programming Area:
My name is Amanda Latta and I am a junior at Waynesburg University. I am pursuing a double major in Political Science and International Culture as well as a double minor in Psychology and History. I am currently in the VIH program with the 2021 cohort and am hoping to study in Florianopolis, Brazil. Along with my classes, I work as a Resident Assistant and am also a member of Pi Gamma Mu honors society for the Social Sciences. One of the things that has always inspired me is discovering how to solve problems by understanding an individual’s thought process. My goal for after graduation is uncertain, but ideas include teaching English in Thailand, working as a translator in Brazil, or joining the United Nations. I have already learned so much through the Vira I. Heinz program and am certain that this is only the beginning.
International Experience Summary:

Amanda Latta participated in a five-week virtual internship in South Africa for diplomacy, conflict resolution, and international relations; in addition, she participated for four weeks in a virtual Korean language class. While in the internship, she was able to interview an African youth activist leader, partner with the Institute for Global Dialogue, and be immersed in the historical changes of a Post-Apartheid South Africa. While in the internship, she was also able to observe the current events happening in South Africa around the Jacob Zuma incarceration riots which evoked the greatest unrest in South Africa since 1994 when Apartheid ended. From her experience, Amanda has developed a stronger desire to go into foreign service to aid in international conflict resolution via individual connections. She would like to implore others to deliberate over difficult questions, find the most accurate truth, and engage in actions concerning the truth.

Amanda was also able to study virtually at the University of Korea in a Korean language class. While there she marveled at the complexity of language families as this was her 4th time learning a new language. The Korean language is intimidating yet devised in such an ordered pattern that it is truly beautiful. Aside from learning the language, Amanda (or 아만다) was able to observe the nature of Korean education, as it is rigorous and engaging. In a mere four weeks, she went from not being able to write a word of Korean to write complete paragraphs, all to the credit of the phenomenal education structure that South Korea offers; it is robust. As a result of her experiences, Amanda is humbled by the magnitude of knowledge left unlearned available to her only through individual cultural engagements. She encourages anyone she can to participate in expanding their worldviews through the challenges and blessings of international involvement.

Community Engagement Experience Summary:

CEE Title: Cultural Workshop: Travel The World 

The Waynesburg 2021 VIH Cohort was able to connect with the Waynesburg and VIH community as well as anyone else joining virtually. In our CEE, we were able to show the commonality among specific cultures as well as the nuances that give the globe its flavor. Representing Italy, South Africa, Costa Rica, and South Korea, a common theme was the perception and use of time. By traveling from station to station, our audience could succinctly be informed of the current cultures from our perspective countries. Beyond the culture, the CEE allowed us to share with our audience different methods of international law, health care, journalism, marine biology, and politics. Discussing such a wide range of topics further added to the magnitude of wonder in the world where each life can be extraordinarily different. By contrasting America’s methodology with that of our countries, our audience was able to engage in critical thinking over which method is better or simply different. Relying on each other’s strengths, the WU 2021 cohort effectively shared our passions with our peers and university faculty. Summarizing four different summer experiences from various cultures into an hour presentation made the intelligence acquired specific and digestible. Certainly, the best method of teaching is to experience life, and our CEE took our experiences and compressed them into something easy for our audience to comprehend. Community members were brought together to experience something beyond themselves or the community: the world. By engaging in a big picture, our hope is that the audience was able to step outside of themselves and their culture and marvel at the wonder of the Other while critically analyzing what personal and cultural improvements everyone can make.