Elm Staff Writer
With February coming to an end, Washington College students who studied abroad in the fall are settling on campus, while a new group of adventurers have just submitted their applications for the next year.
The Global Education Office (GEO) provides the opportunity for students to capture their experiences abroad and share them with the rest of the campus through 4Corners, an online journal.
“4Corners is the GEO’s online publication where students who have studied abroad, or currently are, can showcase their experiences,” said junior Gabrielle Rente, editor of the journal.
Originally a printed newsletter in the early 2000s, the publication was moved online to make it more accessible to both current and prospective students, according to Rente.
Alexandra Levy, assistant director for study abroad, agreed that the journal has gained popularity after transitioning to online publication.
“A few years ago, we transitioned from a printed magazine to an online publication and so it’s taken us a few issues to get our feet under us, so to speak. As a very busy office with a small staff, it was hard for this publication to get the kind of attention it needed and ultimately deserved,” Levy said.
Past submissions have included pictures, interviews, videos, and input from alumni.
“The journal provides a space for students of all backgrounds to talk about and share what they’ve learned,” Rente said.
The online journal also seeks to reach international students who have studied at WC.
According to the 4Corners website, the campus welcomed 18 students from 11 countries in the fall semester, including Germany, Peru, China, Finland, and Morocco.
Additionally, 25 WC students traveled to 11 countries including Hong Kong, Spain, France, Ireland, and England.
Themes of the pieces include learn how to “appreciate other cultures, gain confidence and experience personal growth by traveling beyond their own national borders,” according to the journal website.
Rente reflected on the value of studying abroad, especially during college.
“I think having the ability to travel to other countries and experience life from a different angle is awesome, and to do that during a stage of your life dedicated to learning is an opportunity like no other. Studying abroad forces you out of your comfort bubble and lets you obtain insight and knowledge not just about the country but the people there. It’s not just about knowledge but forging bonds with people you would never know otherwise,” she said.
Levy described how submitting to the journal can help students who studied abroad transition back to WC.
“For a lot of our students, coming back [to WC] can be just as difficult as leaving it. After spending a semester or a year abroad, learning, growing, and changing, it can be a bit jarring to return to our small, rural campus,” she said.
Crafting an essay or simply sharing photos can allow students to reflect upon their time in a foreign country.
“I think 4Corners is a great avenue of expression for these students, because it provides a structured environment for them to process their experiences, but it also allows them to share it with others,” Levy said.
Rente also shared what 4Corners has in store for the future.
“There will be two publications this semester, but also expect the urge of wanderlust to overcome you,” Rente said. “I want readers to feel the need to travel, to experience something new, after they read 4Corners.”
Levy believes that the journal also serves to promote the variety of study abroad options offered by the GEO.
“I am excited about where Gabby is going to take this next issue. Not only is it a great space for our returnees and international students, it’s a great way for our campus community to learn about different places and difference cultures, but also all the fantastic opportunities WC has for them to travel,” she said.
Students who studied abroad in the fall semester or participated in a short-term course over winter break are encouraged to share their experiences. Submissions are due on Monday, Feb. 25 at midnight to Rente at firstname.lastname@example.org.