Through the Vira I. Heinz program, Kelly spent her study abroad opportunity in the Czech Republic. During her 5 weeks abroad, Kelly lived in the city of Prague and acted as a student at the historic Charles University. There, she pursued her passion for history and government and enrolled in a course centered on the development of the Czech Republic and Central Europe during the 20thCentury. She focused her studies on the Jewish experience in European countries as well as Totalitarianism. Through her research, she examined the cultural traditions of the Jewish community, how art acted as forms of resistance in Czechia’s recent history, and how the surviving architecture of Prague preserves the nation’s tumultuous past. Aside from her studies, she interviewed local historians and her program advisors about the Velvet Revolution, the dissolution of Czechoslovakia and the Czech's period of Communist rule. She toured numerous synagogues and churches that survived the Second World War, and visited the former concentration camp and ghetto, Theresienstadt. During her weekends, Kelly ventured outside of Prague to a number of European cities, visited Moravian Karst and explored the Punkva Caves, hiked through the scenic Český Ráj, and frequently enjoyed the sunset along the Vltava River. Prior to her travels, she knew very little of the Czech Republic. From her experience, she gained a deep love for travel, overcame her fear of flying, envisioned her life after graduation, and reflected on her opportunity to discover the world through Vira I. Heinz. She looks forward to entering her professional career, continuing her education, and hopes to further travel the world.
CEE Title: Not My Place and Not My Problem: A Discussion of Ethics Abroad
The Duquesne University 2018 VIH cohort centered their Community Engagement Experience around ethical issues that they observed and researched while abroad. From their traveling experiences in the countries of Italy, Jordan, and the Czech Republic, the CEE team found that ethical issues impacted each of their study abroad opportunities. Titled, “Not My Place and Not My Problem,” the CEE team shared the difficulties that they faced when wanting to intervene in regards to ethical issues abroad. The concerns of sexual assault, body image, immigration, homelessness, mental health stigmas, and human trafficking were addressed at the CEE. Each CEE team member presented on two of the issues mentioned in relation to their host country.
Due to the fact that the issues addressed are universal ones that can occur in any region, the team wanted to analyze these issues within their campus and Pittsburgh community. The event was discussion-based and invited a number of campus organizations to participate. Attendees actively participated in discussions by sharing their own experiences of ethical dilemmas whether abroad or in Pittsburgh. Attendees posed insightful questions for the CEE team which added to the evening’s discussion. Resources for additional information on the presented topics were discussed by the CEE team were offered to all attendees. The team created their event to encourage discussion, provide resources to highlight these issues in the Pittsburgh area and ultimately, hope to encourage others to gain greater global perspective. Although the topics discussed in the Community Engagement Experience were serious in nature, the interactions and participation from the CEE team and attendees created a hopeful environment that encouraged advocacy