Jason is a Theatre major and is aiming to graduate in 2015.
Where did you study abroad? How did you choose your programs?
I studied abroad in Matanzas, Cuba; San Sebastian, Spain; Amsterdam, The Netherlands; and London, England. I chose my experiences mainly based off the reputation of the academic programs, but also due to my fervent desire to visit and study in those program areas.
How has studying abroad changed your global perspective?
I realize how similar the world is as a whole when you get down to human nature, and that cultural differences should only enhance the interconnectedness of our nations. We should embrace unity through diversity. It’s incredible how innovative and artistic every culture is in their own unique ways, and I believe different cultures should recognize the phenomenal attributes in each other.
What was something funny that happened to you while studying abroad?
While I was in London, I went to a performance of Good People by David Lindsay-Abaire, a very American social comedy in the West End with an American student from my program. Naturally, we found many instances of the play funny and would often laugh out loud…but to our surprise the largely British audience around us would often remain stoic to scenes that we believed were clearly meant invoke humor. On the other hand, the British theatre goers would find aspects of the play humorous that we felt were moments of transition or simply constructs to keep the play moving. The British were paying impeccable attention to detail!
How did classes you took abroad differ from courses offered on campus at CWRU?
Classes abroad were largely outside of a classroom context. In Cuba, we were constantly exploring museums and sites in the quaint artistic town of Matanzas (called the “Athens of Cuba”) as well as other famed cities such as Havana and Pinar del Rio and sites such as La Floridita, which author Ernest Hemingway frequented often, and the Castillo de los Tres Reyes Magos del Morro which served as a fort to protect the city in the 16th and 17th Centuries. In San Sebastian, we explored the Basque city and met with professionals at famed restaurants such as La Cuchara de San Telmo. In Amsterdam, we visited Mental Health institutions and met with the top Dutch professionals in alternative care for mental health and substance abuse disabilities. In London, while at the Royal Academy of Dramatic Art, I was constantly on my feet, literally, as I explored different performing styles from major theatrical countries and time periods from the Ancient Greeks to Bertolt Brecht’s Threepenny Opera.
What was one thing you did abroad that you couldn’t have done in Cleveland?
I never could have gone zip-lining through the Cuban jungles in Pinar del Rio. Or try a completely authentic Pina Colada.
What advice do you have for students who are considering study abroad?
Take advantage of the opportunities you have to study abroad. This may be the only time where you can have an experience that is relatively affordable and which you can earn college credit while travelling. Seeing other parts of the world can give you a more complete perspective about human society as a whole.
What places are next on your bucket list?
I am planning on studying in Athens, Greece this coming Spring break. But I really want to learn and explore the countries and cultures of South America.