2008-05-12 CPSP Reflection

2008-05-12 CPSP Reflection - Reflections of a College Park...

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Reflections of a College Park Scholar By Alan VanToai CPSP239 R May 12, 2008 Dr. Sangeeta Ray
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My non-scholars friends still cannot believe how lucky I am. This semester, for 3 credits, my American Cultures Spring Project consisted of a week-long field trip to the beautiful island of Puerto Rico, a journal documenting the trip, and a five page, 1750 word essay reflecting my experiences abroad and in the College Park Scholars Program as a whole. My reason for taking the trip to Puerto Rico as opposed to fulfilling an internship was simple. According to Wikipedia, the average temperature in Washington D.C. in January is somewhere around 30* F. The same for Puerto Rico? 75 degrees Fahrenheit. The answer was obvious, and as soon as the first snow fell in December, I began counting down the days until January 20 th . Looking back on the sunny, warm Puerto Rican Adventure, it was so much more than just a warm vacation from the D.C. winter. The Puerto Rico Study Abroad program was the perfect conclusion to my entire College Park Scholars experience. From our weekly colloquium discussions, to the co-curricular activities outside the classroom, to my “Living and Learning” experience in the College Park Scholar’s Cambridge Community, every aspect of my American Cultures Scholars experience culminated in the week long trip, and I cannot imagine a more appropriate finale. While our discussions, projects, service and activities inside and outside colloquium were often interesting and insightful, they never allowed me to fully appreciate the differences between the cultures outside the United States as the Puerto Rican field trip did. And while I did make lasting friendships inside the classroom and on my floor in Centreville Hall, the experiences and relationships forged on the beaches of San Juan will never be forgotten. For three semesters, the purpose of our colloquium discussions had been “to allow us to fully appreciate the United States in all its diversity… [by placing] it in the context of the hemisphere… and exploring the roots and routes of people living in the Americas.” These discussions and classroom activities that we participated in achieved that end as good as any in-
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class discussions or activities could have, but there was still room for true appreciation of Cultures and Societies outside of the United States. The classroom discussions that I remember the most revolved around our presentations and projects. A handful of times, we were divided into groups and given a project investigating a Central or Southern American country, and tasked
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This note was uploaded on 05/14/2008 for the course CPSP 250 taught by Professor Ray during the Spring '08 term at Maryland.

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2008-05-12 CPSP Reflection - Reflections of a College Park...

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