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Park Scholars in London, etc.

Park Scholars in London, etc.

Greetings from across the pond!

Posted by Brenden McKim at 4:31PM   |  Add a comment
Rio de Janeiro

by Gabriel Whiteman, Senior Cinema and Photography Major

 

As I sit at my desk looking over Botafogo beach and Sugarloaf Mountain, it is really surreal that I am interning in Rio de Janeiro right now. Rio is known as A Cidade Marivilhosa (The Marvelous City) for good reason. Between the beautiful beaches and the amazing sunsets, it’s hard to believe any work ever gets done in this city. Everywhere you look seems like another postcard image. I really could marvel over this city for a while, but back to my internship. 

 

After a couple of email exchanges and a slightly awkward interview, I was lucky enough to land an internship at a digital studio called Visorama. Visorama is involved in a variety of projects including advertising, music videos, openings for TV shows, production design, and cartoons. It is my dream to work as a motion graphics artist, so getting this opportunity to get graphic design and animation experience is truly amazing.

 

I’ll be honest, I was nervous on my first day on the job. I rode twelve floors up an elevator and entered the Visorama office having no idea what to expect. On top of that, everyone in the office speaks Portuguese! A language I am still trying to grasp. But as I walked in, I was greeted with such warmth by the whole staff. Everyone at Visorama has treated me with kindness, and they all bear with my broken Portuguese. I was able to work on a stop-motion project for a new TV show called “Ta Na Ar,” and I learned so much from my co-worker Luciano.

 

It has been two months since I’ve started and it has been an awesome learning experience for me. Not only am I getting work experience, I am also making friends and learning about Brazilian culture. People from the city of Rio de Janeiro are called cariocas and cariocas are very proud of their city. The carioca lifestyle is marked by their love of nature, friendship, and leisure. Cariocas love their leisure time. It is a different lifestyle then I am used to, but I have really enjoyed living and working here. This is an experience that I am so grateful for and I will surely never forget.

 

Posted by Brenden McKim at 12:44PM   |  Add a comment
Rwandan man

by Erica Moriarty, Sophomore Documentary Studies and Production Major

 

In London, there’s an online magazine called the Londonist. Go figure, right? If you haven’t guessed already, the Londonist covers everything to do in and around the city. When I find myself asking, “What should I do today?” this is exactly where I go. 

 

A few weeks ago, I was finding a Tuesday quite dreary after an afternoon of discussion-based classes, so naturally I began to peruse the site. In the “What’s On” section, I found a panel and photography exhibit entitled “Rwanda: Death Then, Life Now.” I figured that could be interesting, so I hopped on the tube and headed to King’s College. 

 

First began the panel discussion. The panel consisted of a diverse group of people coming from an array of disciplines. The group included a broadcast journalist, a humanitarian worker, a PhD student, a professor, and a Rwandan man present during the genocide 20 years prior. They discussed where Rwanda is now socially, politically, and economically. Then began the Q&A session. 

 

As the first inquisitor stood up, I quickly realized that I was out of my league. First, an ambassador from the UN. Following him, a professor from King’s College. Following her, a Rwandan refugee. The questions were so eloquent and some filled with such rage. I knew anything I had to say would be meaningless and felt almost silly that I was sitting amongst people of such high knowledge and academic status, so instead I listened and attempted to comprehend. 

 

At the end of the panel, I concluded that the Rwandan people are doing much better… on paper. Economically, things are looking up. However, reconciliation between the government and its people, as well as neighbor to neighbor, has yet to be achieved fully. Following the panel, I went over a few rooms to the photo exhibit that sparked this panel as a part of a week’s worth of events at the college. 

 

"Rwanda: Death Then, Life Now" showcases various Rwandan photographers’ work in order to re-imagine the way the international audience views the country. Since the genocide of 1994, much of the world views Rwanda as a country riddled with violence. In reality, the country is highly functioning and prosperous today, as shown in the photographs. 

 

While I walked through the exhibit, I kept to myself, still feeling intimidated by the crowd. Instead, I quietly jotted down notes to myself – ways I would change the curating of the exhibit, feelings the photos evoked, which of the free wines was my favorite, anything I could think of really. 

 

As I rode the tube home, I reviewed the thoughts I wrote down. My final note: “I’m feeling…hopeful.” The photo exhibition reminded me that there are so many lenses through which media can spark change. In this case, these photographs sparked a week-long event at King’s College where professionals and academics came together to discuss change, progress and hope. Personally, they restored my faith in my major of Documentary Studies and Production as a discipline full of hope in challenging the typical portrayal of various places around the world. 


Posted by Brenden McKim at 4:50PM   |  Add a comment
Park Scholars at brunch

by Emily Masters, Sophomore Journalism Major

 

“Welcome to the family!”

 

These are the first words I heard from a Park Scholar after being accepted into the Program. I had called my finalist weekend host to tell her the good news and left a message when she didn’t pick up. A few minutes later I got a call back and heard her class yell in celebration: “Welcome to the family!”

 

These words are true. The Park Scholar program is more than a scholarship. It is a community. A community that extends beyond the classroom, the group service project, even graduation. A community that I can always count on for new ideas, fun and support.

 

Before I left for London I got countless emails and texts from scholars who had studied at the ICLC -- wishing me luck, giving me advice and telling me to have the time of my life. I even heard from an alum who wished me a fabulous semester and said I was welcome to visit her in Galway while I was abroad.

 

Lauren Mateer ‘13 and I became friends while teaching media literacy and media production skills to fourth and fifth graders at Beverly J. Martin Elementary School in Ithaca, as part of our Media Club group service project. Even though we hadn’t talked much since she graduated, she graciously extended the invitation to host me in Ireland, where she is studying for her Masters in Publishing.

 

In March I had the pleasure of joining her and exploring this incredible Irish city. We walked along the promenade, visited the weekend market, went out dancing, spent time with her Irish friends, and even got a delicious brunch at a restaurant recommended by none other than our program director, Dr. Matt Fee.

 

As I took the bus back to Dublin to my flight back to London I realized it was one of my favorite weekends of travel yet (London is the perfect place to study if you really want to travel a lot!) because I got a look at what it is like to live abroad, make close friends, and become a member of the city. Lauren has found a new home, and success, after leaving IC.

 

But even after graduation, the PS Program sticks with us. If not for this program, I probably wouldn’t have met Lauren, visited her in Ireland, or be making plans for her to come visit me in London.

 

I know that, even after I leave Ithaca, I will dearly miss the Park Scholar Program. The opportunities. The challenges. And mostly the people. Luckily, as I’ve been told, we’re a family and graduation doesn’t end this journey.


Posted by Brenden McKim at 8:30AM   |  Add a comment
"go somewhere" art

by Kaitlyn Tyncuzk, Sophomore Communications Management and Design Major

 

At a rather young age, I developed a strong case of wanderlust. By the age of eleven I could hardly stay put in one place for long. Most kids at that age saved their money to buy various gadgets and toys; I saved my money to go on a cruise with my aunt.  I have always felt that the opportunity to experience different cultures is well worth spending countless hours working during the summer. At times, I’ll even work as a traveling au pair. For years I have been coasting my way in, out and around the country and this semester I have ended up in the bustling city of London. 

 

During my stay here, I have been interning for Dinner Dates, which offers a wide variety of social events for single business people. As successful business people, owners Cynthia and Peter Spillman understand how difficult it is to meet the hectic demands of work life while maintaining an active social life. This is exactly where Dinner Dates comes in. The company is not a matchmaking service, but rather an opportunity to allow their members to comfortably leave their office, turn off their work phones and indulge themselves in a relaxing night out with fellow workaholics. 

 

While at Dinner Dates, I work as one of the events executives. Most of my days are spent on the phone talking with members, looking for venues, analyzing survey results to improve our events, designing promotional advertisements, selecting dinner menus, and conducting basic website maintenance. On top of the various office responsibilities, I also attend some of our events as a host to make sure they are executed as fluidly as possible. 

 

After interning in London for nearly three months, I have learned to adapt to British culture, but the first few weeks were definitely a rough transition. One of the bigger cultural differences that I ran into at work is the nature of calling clients. In America phone calls, even to clients, are normally formal; this is quite the opposite for the other side of the pond. Unfortunately for me and by consequence, the members, proper phone etiquette was never explained to me. Thankfully after several uncomfortably awkward phone calls, I have successfully adapted to the appropriate level of informality. 

 

Traveling far exceeds just visiting a different place. The wonder of wanderlust gives you the opportunity to experience countless aspects of cultures and meet new people while gaining a perspective of what makes you truly happy. My experience here at my internship and with my friends has beyond exceeded my expectations. I couldn’t be more fortunate. 


Posted by Brenden McKim at 9:47AM   |  Add a comment
St. Helens Bishopsgate

by Erica Steinhoff, Sophomore Communication Management and Design Major

 

When I decided to study abroad in England, one of my main goals was to learn about the culture as much as possible— the usual goal of the study abroad student.  Before coming I knew that I was going to have countless opportunities to learn about the culture at my fingertips. I was signing up for classes that would take me to sporting events, art galleries, and plays; I had been placed in an internship at a UK-wide charity and I had starting looking up places to volunteer. So far all of those experiences have been great ways to learn about British culture, but I have learned the most from the people that I have met at a local church.  

 

It all started when I stumbled into the Saint Helen’s Bishopsgate Church on a Sunday evening to see over 100 college students and young adults at their evening service.  I was looking for a church community to be a part of while I was here in London, but I wasn’t expecting to be as energetically greeted and warmly welcomed as I was. I was quickly invited to join a small group Bible study on Wednesday nights, at which I have now formed my most intimate relationships with Britons.

 

There are Brits in my group that have grown up in London and know it like the back of their hand and there are Brits who are in London for only a couple months and for the first time—just like me. Yet, I learn so much from each of them every week. I am constantly adding to my vocabulary when I hear them use a uniquely British word in our conversations and I am frequently noticing different British customs by observing the way they act.

 

Moreover, through our conversations we have been able to compare many different aspects of British and American culture. We have shared stories about our education systems, politics, family lives and so much more. I truly love being able to learn about the culture while spending time with locals and building friendships. I am grateful to have found a group of people that are glad to share their experiences and perspectives with me and I am excited to continue sharing my experiences with them for the next two months! 


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