Michelle Mendia

International Experience Country:
Cohort Year:
Home Institution:

Arcadia University

Heinz Programming Area:
Children, Youth, and Families
Study Abroad Country: Cohort Year:  Home Institution:  Programming Area: 
International Experience Summary:

As a Criminal Justice and Spanish double major, Michelle studied in Granada, Spain for one month refining her Spanish proficiency. She also took classes on the History of Latin America and the culture of Spain. Her studies broadened her understanding of the importance of history and the way government can shape the outcome of its society for better or worse. Her studies included the various regimes and violation of human rights in South America that continue to have effects. While in Granada, Michelle visited important cultural landmarks that showcased the influence of the various rulers and religions that has shaped Spain, such as its Muslim and Catholic roots. Through the student residence she resided in she was able to interact with Spanish students in casual settings. These connections allowed Michelle to better understand aspects of the Spanish culture that is not taught in a classroom. She was able to participate in cultural activities such as the custom of “tapas” and the viewing flamenco shows. Through her personal explorations of the city and encounters with locals she became aware of the political and economic issues Spain faces. Michelle was also able to visit cities in Morocco and detect first-hand how Spain and Morocco have influenced one another and continue to do so. She was able to truly recognize Spain as a gateway between Europe and Africa. 

Community Engagement Experience Summary:

CEE Title: Art Expression Across Three Nations 

Art Expression Across Three Nations offered an interactive experience for attendees to immerse themselves in a foreign culture through art. Art can be used to convey a multitude of messages and emotions without a single word. By using art from Taiwan, Spain, and the Czech Republic team members were able to showcase the ways in which art is used within each culture. For Taiwan, the Peking Opera houses man unique masks throughout performances reflecting a character’s function within a story. The many past rulers of Spain are displayed in the beautiful architecture left behind and preserved for people today to visit. The Czech Republic, which has gone through political turmoil in its past has found ways to display the emotions of the people through sculptures. Each country expresses a unique perspective reflecting a part of their history. Following a presentation on these countries and their art forms, attendees were given the chance to taste and make traditional food and art from each country. The team members facilitated activities as people enjoyed the food prepared by each member. The team members successfully presented the culture of their host countries respectfully and authentically.