World of Learning Outside the Classroom
studying abroad last year in Germany, Margaret Metzler ’11
embarked on a four-week trip, funded with a Blumberg Traveling
Fellowship, to capture in pictures depictions of the country’s
history and culture. She covered a large swath of the country,
visiting 23 cities, riding for more than 50 hours on trains, and
snapping more than 10,000 photos. “I have learned more about German
culture and history than I ever could have from the outside [of
the country],” says Metzler.
Hanna Meghji ’11 spent six weeks
in Tanzania last summer on a Praxis internship teaching English,
biology and math and leading other educational activities at the
Wali Ul Asr Education Center in Kibaha. “This experience changed
me in ways that I cannot entirely capture,” she says. “It has
completely redefined who I am and my list of goals, and it has
affected my lifestyle and how I think about race relations, sustainability
and foreign aid.”
Metzler and Meghji will be among
30 students who will describe and discuss their ventures off-campus,
through internships, study-abroad programs and community service
projects, during the fifth annual Smith Elects the World Conference.
The event will take place on Monday, Nov. 8, during two sessions—4:30
to 5:10 p.m. and 5:20 to 6 p.m.—in various Campus Center rooms
(). A pre-conference reception will be held
at 4 p.m. in the Wilson Atrium.
conference was established to explore the relationship between
formal classroom education and learning that takes place in off-campus
Others will talk about their experiences
in Argentina, the United Arab Emirates, China, France, Italy,
Uruguay, Jordan, Switzerland and other countries.
Of course, traveling
outside the United States is not necessary to gain invaluable
experience with different cultures and skills.
Elizabeth Cook ’11 took up residence
at the Buffalo Woman Ranch in southwestern Colorado last summer
via a Praxis internship, where she learned about ranching and
holistic therapy through interaction and work with horses. In
addition to the daily tasks of ranch maintenance and animal care,
Cook helped facilitate live-in training programs and worked with
Navajo at-risk youth who visited the ranch. “I had an excellent
and incredibly informative experience at the ranch,” she says.
The conference will also include
presentations on Praxis internships at SisterSong Women of Color
Reproductive Justice Collective in Atlanta, Ga., the Metropolitan
Museum of Art in New York, and several in Washington, D.C.; as
well as community service with Safe Passage in Amherst, the Food
Bank of Western Massachusetts, Smith’s Project Coach, and others.
The sessions will be moderated
by Smith faculty members. Smith Elects the World is sponsored
by the Office of the Dean of the College, the Career Development
Office and the Committee on Academic Priorities.