Rachel Bentzel

International Experience Country:
Cohort Year:
Home Institution:

Washington & Jefferson College

Heinz Programming Area:
Children, Youth, and Families
International Experience Summary:

Rachel Bentzel spent the month of July 2012 in London, England, where she enrolled in two classes through the University of Kingston. She learned about the development and codification of the quintessential British sports of football, rugby, cricket, boxing, golf, and tennis. Her studies examined the progression of these pastimes and reflected influential topics such as the importance of class in British society, role of women in sports, tensions between the nations of Great Britain, and cultural influences from countries of the British Empire throughout the world, which helped her to better understand British culture as a whole. Rachel visited a number of key sporting venues including Wembley Stadium, Twickenham Rugby Stadium, Stamford Bridge (home of Chelsea FC), Emirates (home of Arsenal FC), and even queued for a ground pass to Wimbledon. These studies were particularly timely with London hosting the 2012 Olympics. Rachel was able to examine how the games have evolved since the 1908, 1948, and now 2012 games and learn more about the way the Olympics unite the many cultures of the world. She was able to see many of the final preparations made to Olympic Park, to experience British hospitality in welcoming the world to London, and to celebrate the opening ceremonies with a large British audience. In her additional course of British culture and society, Rachel broadened her understanding of the culture as a whole by exploring the importance of history in England, the media and other major issues of Great Britain today, and the growing multi-cultural influence in London. Rachel furthered her understanding through visits to Hampton Court Palace, Stonehenge and Bath, Brighton, Oxford, the Tower of London, and Southall Gurdwara, one of the largest Sikh temples outside of India. She also had the opportunity to experience a play at Shakespeare’s Globe, sit in on a session in the House of Lords, and dabble in London Theater by seeing the Phantom of the Opera and the British comedy One Man Two Guvnors.

Community Engagement Experience Summary:

Rachel assisted in the creation of the Holi Festival of Colors, a two-part CEE that occurred at Washington & Jefferson College and the LeMoyne Center in Washington, PA. At the first event, Rachel and her team infused Indian culture into W&J’s annual spring street fair where students and community members threw vibrant colors similar to the actual Holi Festival of Colors in India as well as danced to Indian music. At the second event, Rachel and her team taught a lesson on Indian culture to elementary students at the LeMoyne Center. They incorporated the celebration of colors into the activities by finger-painting t-shirts, decorating cookies and learning Indian dance.