It might be hard for those of us who are students to remember that there is a bigger and more exciting world outside of the friendly and accommodating bubble we live in here at Geneseo. We all hear about the opportunities to see the world, expand our horizons and step outside of our comfort zone. But do students at Geneseo really take advantage of these opportunities?
Personally, I can answer "yes." This past March, I was given the opportunity to travel to South America in the company of two Geneseo professors and two other students to attend an international conference on Hispanic literature in Cuzco, Peru. Anthropology department chair Dr. Ellen Kintz, accompanied by senior Kathryn Young and junior Patrick Geraghty, along with foreign languages and literatures department chair Dr. Rosemary McEwen and myself spent the week in Peru, traveling and learning about the ancient and impressive culture of the area.
The conference, titled the "VII Congreso Internacional de Literatura Hispánica," hosted a multitude of Hispanic literature scholars from the United States as well as around the world. Geneseo's group focused on the ancient Maya civilization in a presentation titled "Of Legends, Myths and Mythologies: The Natural, Social and Ideological World of the Maya in the Legends and Stories of the Yucatán, México." All five members worked tirelessly together prior to the trip researching, constructing and perfecting their presentations for the conference.
Kintz commented on the work our group put into the presentation and the bonds that were formed between faculty and students that most likely otherwise wouldn't have been possible.
"I think what is most important is that students realize that there are unique opportunities to work with faculty and to do their own research," said Kintz. "These opportunities, like the conference in Cuzco, broaden the horizon of undergraduates."
Aside from the presentation, we were also able to tour the Incan ruins of Saqsaywaman, Tambomachay and Ollantaytambo, among others. The highlight of the trip was our opportunity to explore what is deemed as the "Lost City of the Incas," Machu Picchu. Nestled high above the Urubamba River, Machu Picchu is an absolutely breathtaking and once-in-a-lifetime experience.
With my incredible trip behind me and only photos, memories and souvenirs to remind me of Cuzco, I would like to encourage other students to take advantage of the opportunities to travel that are available. Even more so, I am an advocate for any opportunity that may arise in which students can work with their professors on a more personal level. There is so much to be learned throughout four years in college, not only from textbooks and lectures, but through every student's ability to construct a personal relationship, work individually, or, if you're really lucky, travel with your professors.