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Published April 17, 2023
By UWYO Magazine
This blog is a modified and condensed version of "A Big, Wide World" in UWYO Magazine's
Winter 2023 Edition.
Not sure how to spend your summer? There’s still time to earn credits and gain amazing experiences around the world on a summer education abroad trip through the University of Wyoming.
Hundreds of UW students study abroad each year, traveling to every corner of the world. UW is home to one of the largest education-abroad endowments of any public land-grand university, making education abroad affordable. And Summer Session can be the perfect time for students to fit an international experience into their degree plan.
Shane Epping and two students traveled to a remote part of Peru to help build an elementary school and document the experience through video and photography, while also connecting with the local community and wildlife.
Not all education-abroad opportunities are built on research or a course. Some are crafted on making a difference. For example, this past summer, Shane Epping, who holds the Bobby Model Professorship in Photojournalism, took two students to help build an elementary school in a remote part of Peru that is only accessible by boat. There, they served with Be the Change Volunteers, a development aid nonprofit organization dedicated to creating better education opportunities worldwide.
“Three of the four goals for global engagement at UW are driving excellence, inspiring students and impacting communities,” Epping says. “Our work in Peru fulfilled all of these.”
Epping and seniors, Vanta Coda III (an environment and natural resources and communication major from Duluth, Minn.) and Emily Smith (a communication major from Lakewood, Colo.) spent nine days helping build the school and documenting the experience via video and photography.
“Not only did we connect with a very remote community in high need of educational resources, but we also experienced what the Amazon has to offer: tarantulas, piranhas, electric eels, leeches, sloths, monkeys, river otters, pink dolphins, etc. The students and I proved that we could do hard things in an uncomfortable environment. But, more importantly, we spent quality time and shared sweat equity with people very different from ourselves in the spirit of learning from one another and advancing the well-being of all involved.”
UW Education Abroad offers over 30 faculty-led programs annually as well as 400 other options. Studying abroad during Summer Session is a realistic option for students seeking experiences abroad, but unable to fit semester-long programs into their degree plan. While it’s generally recommended to plan five or more months in advance, there are still spots available for some of this year’s faculty-led summer programs. Email firstname.lastname@example.org to learn more.