Embedded: Art 297 - Social and Cultural Explorations in the Visual Arts: Sydney, Australia
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Shana-Kay Hart

Major: CAS, Spanish
Minor: Latin American Studies
Hometown: Wynnewood, PA

How did you learn about this opportunity?

I first learned about this enrichment experience online. After contacting the program director for more information, I was kept in the loop with details and updates regarding the program. Once I was given more information on the program and how to apply, I submitted an application and it went on from there.

Tell us a little bit about your experience.

I studied for two weeks in Sydney, Australia, where I learned about forms of cultural representation and social expression in Sydney. With the class, we explored ideas and engagement with issues through personal encounters with art in public settings, communities and museums. Our activities ranged from street tours to lectures in which we learned of Aboriginal people's history, culture, and present day struggles for basic human rights. We hiked through Australia’s famous Blue Mountains, had interactive museum visits, and walked the city of Sydney. This all helped expose us to Australia in a way many people can only dream of. We met world famous artists and saw beautiful street art created through activism. We met interesting people from all over the world and enjoyed the unique food culture of Sydney. By the end of the twelve-day immersive experience, I was able to walk away with a better understanding and appreciation for Sydney, Australia, the country's people and their culture.

"By the end of the twelve-day immersive experience, I was able to walk away with a better understanding and appreciation for Sydney, the people of Australia and their culture."

How did this experience impact you academically?

Academically, this experience definitely changed the way I view my education. Through the interactive activities, this program broke the usual cycle that we have grown accustomed to when it comes to classes and learning approaches. Our daily activities ranged from trips museums and cultural sites to walking street tours. This helped me to see that there are different approaches for learning and what you are used to might not always be the "right" way. This is something that has and will further continue to impact my academic career because I have learned the importance of adapting to different environments and different approaches to a matter.

What are your career goals and plans?  How did this experience impact them?

After completing my undergraduate studies at Penn State, I hope to attend graduate school to study Journalism. I would like to either work for the United Nations or Teach for America after graduating as well. I aspire to work for a magazine company such as Afar Media or Conde Nast as a travel journalist because of my passion for traveling and writing. Furthermore, I aspire to begin my own educational organization, first in Jamaica and hopefully in other islands such as Haiti and the Dominican Republic. Last summer, I organized a fundraiser for an education center in Kingston, Jamaica, and this encouraged me to continue these activities to provide assistance to children who are struggling to finish their education due to a lack of school supplies or the means to do so.

Would you recommend this experience to other Liberal Arts students?

I would definitely recommend this experience to other Liberal Arts students. Studying abroad is an experience that is truly enriching and allows us to learn in a different way that is crucial to every person's development in life. This specific enrichment experience allowed me to see the reality of a country that far too often is labeled and assigned to this one single story.

For more information on global opportunities for Liberal Arts students, visit our website.
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