Lauren Hunsecker

International Experience Country:
Cohort Year:
Home Institution:

Robert Morris University

Lauren Hunsecker is a junior political science major attending Robert Morris University. She is from Waynesboro, PA, and grew up playing travel softball, exploring the outdoors, living with five German shepherds or more at a time, and always having her eyes on the news. It wasn't until watching the tv show "Jack Ryan" as a young adult in college that she realized she could have the best of both worlds--finding a potential career where she could apply her academic intelligence with real-life hobbies, which include keeping up with and being knowledgeable in current world events. She will be interning in Washington, D.C. during the Spring 2022 semester and hopes to acquire an internship in the research and intelligence community while there. It would be her dream to study abroad in one of the richest historical countries in the world, Greece, to further develop her research, analytic, and writing skills. 
International Experience Summary:

Lauren Hunsecker had the opportunity to study abroad at the American College of Greece for a total of five weeks in Agia Paraskevi, Greece. She attended classes daily and in her spare time in the evenings practiced learning the Greek language by studying with her roommates and friends. They even practiced speaking the language with local shops, restaurants, and kiosk owners. Her courses allowed her to gain knowledge about ancient Greeks and how Greece truly represents the cradle of democracy. This was an important part of Lauren’s immersive experience in Greece because as a political science student, much of her studies have involved studying ancient Greek philosophers such as Aristotle and Plato and their works. Being able to see where they lived and how the culture influenced their works put a new perspective in Lauren’s mind as she continues her education, however this time in a master’s degree program.  

When Lauren wasn’t attending classes or practicing Greek with friends she enjoyed “island hopping” while in Greece. She was able to travel to three different islands: Aegina, Paros, and Spetses. This was where Lauren was fully immersed in Greek culture because these were non-tourist island locations that were in a sense cut off from the rest of Greece even though they were only a three-hour ride from the Piraeus port in Athens. She learned the importance of living in a collectivist society where people care for the community above all else. The Greek citizens she encountered on the islands were more than welcoming in introducing new aspects of Greek culture to Lauren and her American friends-aspects such as food, dancing, speaking, and even driving! While back in Agia Paraskevi, Lauren enjoyed learning to use the Greek public transportation system which allowed her to embark on a bus and metro to downtown Athens where she was able to visit the Acropolis, Agora, and ancient Greek neighborhoods such as the most beautiful and oldest neighborhood known as Plaka. This experience was incredibly rewarding for Lauren because she was truly able to immerse herself in Greek culture in nearly every way–educationally, professionally, and socially to gain a greater appreciation of life itself

Community Engagement Experience Summary:

CEE Title: Who Gets to be American 

Our CEE, titled “Who Gets to Be American” tackled the topics around the idea of what does it mean to identify as an American. We had a total of four RMU faculty members that either immigrated to the US from other countries or who have visited and/or lived outside of the United States for a number of years. These four faculty members were our panelists who provided insight on our main topics: what is national identity, what is distinctive about Americans’ sense of identity, and how have your perceptions changed since living in the US or after living abroad? Our panel ended with an open Q&A where audience members could ask individual panelists or the entire panel questions. We served snacks from each of our countries in addition to having displays that people could look at and ask us about. Overall, our CEE event generated conversation around the idea of national identity and brought new or different perspectives to audience members.