Class of 2014
English and Philosophy & Religion Double Major
As a student at Bridgewater College, you may find yourself camping in the rainforest in northern Australia, scuba diving in the Great Barrier Reef, or canyon swinging in New Zealand.
These were some of the experiences that Jesse Winter had as a participant in Bridgewater’s study abroad program in conjunction with International Student Exchange Programs (ISEP).
During the fall semester of 2012, Jesse had the opportunity to study at La Trobe University in Melbourne, Australia.
As an English and philosophy and religion double major, Jesse was looking for classes that would fit his field of study. One class, Minds, Brains and Machines, explored Western and Buddhist philosophy of the mind. To complement that course, he selected another philosophy class that dealt with the philosophy of the body. He also took classes that focused on Shakespeare and writing fiction.
“All of the classes I took were in my majors,” Jesse said, “but taking classes at another institution helped broaden my exposure to different views and emphases in each discipline.”
Living in a dorm on campus that had a large student population gave the feeling of being its own community. “I had a single room,” Jesse said, “so I had my own space, but there were always people – Australian and international – for me to hang out with.”
Jesse has stayed in contact with many of his new friends via Facebook and hopes to reunite with some of them when they come to the U.S.
Not only did Jesse’s travel abroad experiences take him to Australia, but as a sophomore he traveled to Israel and Jordan with Dr. Robert Miller’s The Lands of the Bible class during Interterm.
Through this experience, Jesse observed how the daily lives of the people – especially in Jerusalem – are embedded in the religious and cultural history of the region.
“It was interesting seeing so many distinct groups coexisting together despite their many differences,” Jesse said.
Through his experiences traveling abroad, Jesse has grown personally. Leaving the BC bubble and being put in a new environment helped him gain self-confidence and independence.
“Studying abroad helped expand my view of the world,” said Jesse, “because I could look at my home country from the outside. I was able to see others’ perceptions of the U.S. and it helped me think critically about my own cultural biases.”
Would Jesse recommend study abroad to other students? “Absolutely! I think it is one of the best opportunities to learn about oneself and the larger world,” he said.
Following graduation from BC, Jesse is looking to continue his international experience by spending a year or two doing volunteer work abroad.