Lebanon Valley College Study Abroad

High Tide Rising

The majesty of nature only stays majestic as long as you remain free of bug bites and sunburns. After that, it’s only a matter of time before you need a shower and a bed in a location that doesn’t carry the risk of malaria.

So long, Cape Tribulation, and thanks for all of the crocodiles. We’re headed back to Cairns.
Of course, there’s more to our rainforest story than that. I haven’t told you about the best thing about the trip.
No, it’s not camaraderie or friendship. That’s dumb. I’m talking about stars, not glow worms, but giant balls of gas floating somewhere out in space. Our little slice of sky, without any light to interrupt it, let us see all the way to the Milky Way. I watched several stars jet off on their merry way to oblivion, making a wish each time but mostly just staring in slack jawed awe.

So, with a song in my heart and a song on the radio, that one by Avicii that played about once every ten minutes, we drove back to Cairns to meet four others, fresh from Sydney with their own stories to tell.
When we met our fellow Americans, they were fresh from their own trip to the rainforest, where the brutality of the wild could be viewed from the comfort of an air conditioned bus. Luckily for them, there was still plenty of time to experience nature the way it was intended: while screaming and running.
Our first trip was out to the Great Barrier Reef, in the midst of a minor storm that turned the deck of the boat into a nonstop drunken dance party, complete with that one guy vomiting in the corner.

The reef was just as rough, fish tossed to and fro along with all of the hapless snorkelers. Underwater was far different, with the relaxing quiet punctuated only by the Darth Vader noises of the snorkel. The fish, distressed as they were by the weather, were less than happy to find a gangly intruder in their midst, but nonetheless stuck around for a photo opportunity with this long armed newcomer.

Is it a great white shark? Not sure if it's great, but it's definitely white.

Is it a great white shark? Not sure if it’s great, but it’s definitely white.

Speaking of the weather, the storm had riled up the briny depths quite fiercely over the past several hours, and took its salty vengeance on our boat, a poorly timed wave rocking the vessel and flinging a member of our group down a flight of steps. Ironically, she had been told to go downstairs to recover from a bout of seasickness, which remained an issue even after she had been transferred to the rear of the ship, repurposed into an emergency triage for the sick and wounded.

The meeting on our ship's staircase was far less romantic.

The meeting on our ship’s staircase was far less romantic.

And so, Australia claimed another victim, leaving a network of bruises as a grim reminder of Neptune’s wrath. We angered no more sea gods after that, instead slinking back to our hostel to lick our wounds, apply lots of aloe, and snorkel somewhere else the next day.

On the other hand, towards the end of our stay, we trekked up the Crystal Cascades. No, we didn’t just go up to the waterfall, take a few selfies, nod somberly at the majesty of nature, and then leave. We took a route up the rocks and past thunderous cascades, white water rapids, and soaring cliffs.

And here I thought that the only soaring was going to be done by me.

And here I thought that the only soaring was going to be done by me.

Once we reached the top, we were greeted by the largest waterfall we had seen yet, but sadly, we had no cameras with which to photograph ourselves. I mused that this was what the trip was all about, making memories instead of taking one cool picture after another for social media, until one of my friends went back the next day and did exactly that. Oh well. There would be plenty more to silently appreciate down south…

Far Afield

Cairns is a town sitting on the edge of nowhere. With wilderness and mountains on all sides, it continues the grand tradition of the Wild West, of frontier towns serving as the last bastions of civilization before the housing developments and liquor stores are consumed by jungle, or desert, or whatever nature has managed to defy the determined progress of mankind. A sort of manifest destiny scenario, in which pavement keeps moving until it hits ocean, with nobody ever quite sure when the process needs to end.

"I might be a bit late. There's a three whale pileup along the interstate."

“I might be a bit late. There’s a three whale pileup along the interstate.”

Huh? What was that? What did I do in Australia? Oh. Right. Yeah, I’ll get to that.

To sum it up in a single sentence: I appreciated nature and its vast marvels until I really, really itched for a movie and a bucket of KFC.

I also itched because of my multitude of bug bites. You see, though we had landed in Cairns, we did so mainly out of a desire to camp out in the Daintree rainforest for a week without showers or anything to eat that wasn’t peanut butter and jelly.

That’s not to say that the trip was unenjoyable; I really was amazed at the diversity of spiders that found their way into my tent.

This one is known to the scientific community simply as, "that thing."

This one is known to the scientific community simply as, “that thing.”

What I soon discovered was that the animals of the jungle were quite keen on avoiding humans, though my traveling companion was just as excited to capture every single lizard that he came across. Fortunately, there were much more exciting activities than lizard wrangling to occupy our time.
As would be expected from a place called Cape Tribulation, the landmarks are often given similarly depressing names, such as Mount Sorrow. The folks in charge of the national park had been kind enough to carve a trail up the mountain, though that trail only usually ranged from “narrow” to “vague suggestion.”

Turning every few minutes into a game of "spot the trail before nightfall."

Turning every few minutes into a game of “spot the trail before nightfall.”

In five hours, we made our way up the slopes of the mountain, sweating our body weight and fending off the occasional enterprising spider that had built its web across the trail.

"It'll be worth it. Wait until you see the meat on these guys."

“It’ll be worth it. Wait until you see the meat on these guys.”

By the time we got to the top, we had opened, consumed, and sweat most of our water supply. Marveling at the wonder of nature was our itinerary for the summit, but the child like wonder was quickly replaced by the dread of having to slither back down.
I’d like to think we left some part of us on that mountain, some semblance of civilization. Even our clothes were muddy and scratched by the plants that reached across the trail. At the very least, I know I left some blood on that mountain. Those leeches are persistent.

At least they don't ask you if you've eaten recently.

At least they don’t ask you if you’ve eaten recently.

The Last Will and Testament of Ryan Jones

This document was written in response to a thorough Internet search concerning the venomous snakes, spiders, scorpions, and people that can be found in Australia.

I, Ryan Jones, being of sound mind and body, do declare this document my last will and testament, written in preparation for a holiday (if one can call it that) in Australia. In the event that this document is recovered, likely next to my mangled body, do not attempt to read it. Run. Retreat to a safe distance, and from there, assess the situation and notify my next of kin.
Chances are, whatever hellspawn has done me in is still in the area, and has likely not satisfied its lust for human blood.
Further action to ensure that the area is secure may be necessary, and complete immolation is an acceptable and encouraged course of action. At this point, you may attempt to retrieve my body. If it is damaged beyond recognition, feel free to scoop up my remains with a shovel, trowel, spatula, or whatever implement is most relevant to the nature of the situation.
Now that you’ve hopefully completed whatever grisly work needs to be done, let’s talk about the circumstances surrounding my death. I’m not entirely sure what has become of me, but really, the amount of ways that misfortune could have befallen me in this part of the world are diverse and prolific. For instance, if I went out trying to fight say, a great white shark, it would sound a whole lot more heroic and interesting than if I was bitten on the ankle by a passing death adder. Please use some flourish when describing my last moments on earth. Sure, that whole “crying at a funeral” business is very traditional, but I’ve never been one to follow trends. Instead, I’d like dozens, no, hundreds, of mouths agape as you recount the way I wrested myself from the shark’s jaws, suplexing it onto the ocean floor before finally succumbing to my injuries. I fully expect the women to swoon and the men to listen, teeth clenched, in awed silence.
It is up to you, dear reader, to craft a memorial that will really blow the lid off of this figurative casket. In fact, if you are able, I would like you to compose a three (3) act rock opera detailing my life, my exploits, and my eventual demise at the hands (fins?) of a shark three sharks.
By now, you’d probably like to know what I’ll be doing with my somewhat limited wealth and property. If you have to ask, you’re probably not getting anything. Eight of my closest friends and family have already received pieces of a map. Whoever collects all of the pieces and arrives at the specified location first will receive all of my worldly possessions, and some of my otherworldly possessions as well. Dividing everything out is such a pain.

Sincerely, (is that how you’re supposed to end these things?)
Ryan Jones

Author’s note: though this will has proven irrelevant upon my safe return to New Zealand, I stand by everything I said about the sharks and the rock opera. As you know, the maps are still out there as well. Happy hunting!

Across the Pond

Once upon a time, there was a country so beautiful that people flocked to it just to take in its gorgeous expanses of nature. This was a gentle country, like something out of a storybook, filled with babbling brooks, friendly animals, and people with smiles on their faces.

They don't know who you are, but they want to be your friend.

They don’t know who you are, but they want to be your friend.

Whether admiring the rolling, pastoral landscapes (the inspiration for many a masterpiece), or sleeping under the stars, anybody visiting this country is absolutely enthralled by how peaceful and safe it is.

We’re not going to this country. Instead, we’re going to…


Tune in for the next several days as I map out my travels across the only country in the world that is living, breathing, and biting proof that whatever deity in charge has a venomous sense of humor.

Class Meeting

Hello everyone,

I just had my first class meeting with my professor for the Human Rights course. Dr. Dolan gave us our syllabus. Our goals for the semester are to visit sites of human rights and intergovernmental organizations. We will be using our textbook, A Problem From Hell: American and the Age of Genocide by Samantha Powers, to our real life experiences and observations. We will develop written and oral communication skills by writing and understanding various international laws and ethical norms that shape global human rights.

I am looking forward to develop a clearer understanding of global culture and systems. I wanted to be able to apply and integrate the human right challenges with what I observe on field trips, prior research, and classroom discussion.

I would like to share what I will be experiencing with the course. The first week we will not have this course. We will start with orientation and the intercultural communication course. This course will begin May 18 and we will have this course for two sessions one in the morning that will pertain to discussion and one in the afternoon that will be followed with a written exam. The next day will follow the same format with a second exam. Friday that 22 we will be experiencing the European Union and we will visit the European Commission in Brussels as a class. The next week will be followed with the same format of having class discussions and two written exams on Tuesday and Thursday. The following week in June we will have another class trip to the International Criminal Court, The Hague. We will have to wear formal attire and experience the court case: War Crimes Tribunal of Bosco Ntagada.

Bosco Ntagada was a former alleged Deputy Chief of the Staff and commander of operations of the Patriotic Forces for the Liberation of Congo. In a pre-trail they unanimously confirmed the charges consisting in 13 counts of war crimes (murder and attempted murder; attacking civilians; rape; sexual slavery of civilians; pillaging; displacement of civilians; attacking protected objects; destroying the enemy’s property; and rape, sexual slavery, enlistment and conscription of child soldiers under the age of 15 years old). He is also convicted of 5 counts of against humanity. These crimes were allegedly committed in 2002-2003 in the Ituri Province, Democratic Republic of the Congo (DCR).


Bosco Ntagada

After experiencing the court case we will have two more classes with the last class ending in a final exam. The last Friday night we are together it is expected we will be able to go to the soccer game that will be featuring the US against the Dutch!

Dutch Soccer

Dutch Soccer

As the semester is coming to an end I am feeling excited and nervous! I believe this experience will allow me to become more of a critical thinker, become more confident, and become more comfortable traveling!

Thank you for reading,

Corby Myers


One more month…

Hello everyone,

I am currently a sophomore business administration major and international affairs minor student at Lebanon Valley College. I am from New Oxford, PA, which is right outside of Gettysburg, PA. Living in a small town my entire life I never thought I would see myself moving away or traveling. However, after experiencing a globalization course my thoughts toward traveling and learning about the relations we share as a global unit changed. I realized that I wanted to become more globally aware, experience other culture, and travel. After hearing about the Netherlands Study abroad program I instantly knew I wanted to go! Previously, I researched and compared foreign investments between the Netherlands and Norway with business principles within the European Union as well as researching the Supply and Demand of the Global Sex Slave Trade that partially focused on the Red light District. Upon completion I knew the Human Rights course would be the right fit for me to take!

With that being said it is exactly one month until I fly from the Philadelphia International Airport over the North Atlantic Ocean to Brussels! I cannot wait to share my experiences and thoughts during my abroad time at the Netherlands! In preparation of this trip I bought new luggage, luggage tags and locks, a tablet laptop, and converters. This is my first experience traveling without my parents, so I am expecting to become more independent, gain skills that will allow me to think on my feet more, and to become a safer and more knowledge traveler. I also expect to observe culture differences, specifically within the business setting. I would like to take this opportunity to apply these differences to my internship at the World Trade Center Harrisburg. Last, I expect to observe of what I researched on paper in person.

Thank you for reading,

Corby Myers


The Devil His Due

It’s been a month. Since February 21st, I have gone surfing and camping, hiked through a volcanic valley, visited a neighborhood of Hobbits, spent more money than I care to admit on obviously essential items, and caught a seagull.

However, at this point in the process, we’ve settled into a routine. It’s almost like-dare I say it-we’re attending a university. We eat. We sleep. We watch The Walking Dead.

The parallels that can be drawn are painfully obvious.

The parallels that can be drawn are painfully obvious.

There was a mountain once. We wanted to visit that mountain. That mountain is now comprised of papers, notebooks, and coffee rather than the much more traditional stone and earth.

But hey, we did end up mucking around in a cave, so that’s pretty exciting. Let’s talk about that, shall we?

You know you’re in a tourist town when shops simply sell “New Zealand Related Items.” So, after purchasing our weight in postcards, shot glasses, and fridge magnets, we made our way to Waitomo caves. The name “Waitomo” can be roughly translated to “water running through a hole,” which is about as good of a description of our time there as it gets.

Oh, and there are stars, not millions of miles away, but meters away, glowing to attract mates, so that they can reproduce before their tragically short lifespans are over. The constellations are a lot less romantic when one realizes that Orion is totally trying to get it on with Libra. Chances are, Ursa Major is going to be talking about it on Monday. What a gossip.

"Come here often?"

“Come here often?”

As far as my own photography goes, I don’t have a whole lot, and what I do have is mostly dark video footage of me stumbling and cursing. So this account of the caves is a lot less “show” and a little more “tell.”

A weekend later, and we found ourselves at Hukanui Marae, a Maori encampment dedicated to maintaining tradition, and, occasionally, educating hapless international students about their culture. Suffice to say, there was singing involved.

This may very well have been "I'm a Little Teapot," for all we knew.

This may very well have been “I’m a Little Teapot,” for all we knew.

Anyway, the main event of the weekend was learning traditions such as the Poi, which would be a lot like hacky sack if the sack was on a length of rope, and the Haka, an intimidating war dance which was undercut by my scratchy voice, courtesy of a cold.

"Give him some time. Maybe coughing up blood is part of the act."

“Give him some time. Maybe coughing up blood is part of the act.”

Also, there was a meal about every hour or so. The Maori really know how to serve guests, and the food far outclassed the catering at the University, most of which is carbs, some of which is hard enough to be used as a weapon.

The traditional war potato is often overlooked by history.

The traditional war potato is often overlooked by history.

Over the hump

Shortly after I arrived in Montpellier, I realized I needed to plan trips for the month of March because there wasn’t a break from school during March.  By doing that, I hoped that it would make the time go faster, and it would make sure that March wasn’t dragging on…

I pretty much occupied all of my free time by going somewhere this month.  My first trip was an excursion to Carcassonne. Carcassonne is a medieval fortified city in the south west of France.  Many movies, such as Robin Hood with Kevin Costner, include scenes that were filmed at Carcassonne.  It is also the largest fortified city in Europe that still exists today.  This city was interesting to me because there was also a city outside of the walls, but as soon as you entered the fortified part of the city, you felt completely different.  The city was beautiful, and while walking along the ramparts, you could see the Pyrenees in the distance. That was the first time I had seen the Pyrenees, and I was mesmerized by them. We just don’t have mountains like that on the east coast in the States! I also met some people on this trip from Switzerland, Germany, and Australia.



The next trip that I made was to Brussels, Belgium.  I’ve heard from many people that there is not much to do there, and that I should go to Bruges instead, but honestly, I was content in Brussels for the weekend.  I could definitely notice a huge difference in the look of the city between Montpellier and Brussels (southern vs. northern Europe).  Brussels was dark with cobblestone streets and barren trees, and Montpellier is sunny, with medium shaded stone, and palm trees.  The first night in Brussels, I realized that Belgium does not have any open container laws. People were sitting in a circle with their friends on the ground in the Grande Place, just drinking and having a good time.  The next day I tried the standard Belgian snacks: frites, waffles, and chocolate. All three were amazingly good! I saw Mannequin Pis, which was highly anticlimactic but worth seeing.  He has over 900 outfits that they constantly change.  The day that I saw him, he was wearing a neon yellow suit.  Later, I went to Atomium which was built for the Universal Exposition in the 1950s in Brussels.  Basically, it is this giant molecule sticking up in the air.  Inside there are exhibitions and a light show. It was the most psychedelic thing I’ve ever seen, and in the 1950s they probably just thought it was futuristic.


The Grande Place by night

After visiting Belgium, I went on an shorter excursion to Arles, France.  Arles is situated in Provence just next to Langedoc-Rousillon where Montpellier is. I wanted to go to Arles because my French teacher in high school always talked about it.  It is the sister city of York, PA where I live. Also Van Gogh lived in Arles in his later years, so I wanted to see what all of the fuss was about.  Arles is one of many Roman cities in southern France with it’s coliseum, amphitheater, Roman baths, etc.  I really enjoyed seeing those places along with the Rhone River, the cathedral, the café in one of Van Gogh’s paintings, and the hospital where Van Gogh ended up after he cut his ear off! I found it interesting that they still use the coliseum in Arles.  Coming up there is a huge bull fighting festival in the coliseum, and there are many concerts held there.  The Romans probably never would have guessed that!

The courtyard of the hospital where Van Gogh ended up after cutting off his ear.

The courtyard of the hospital where Van Gogh ended up after cutting off his ear.

The next stop was Rome.  (I went from one coliseum to another). I took a long weekend to go to Rome with another LVC student who is in Perugia this semester.  I had a great time in Rome.  It was not much different than Montpellier, minus the speaking Italian part, because they are both Mediterranean cities.  I found that Italian resembled Spanish more than French, even though French people have told me that they can understand when someone speaks Italian, but not when someone speaks Spanish.  The weather was great the first day in Rome, so I took advantage of it. I saw the Coliseum, the Roman Forum, Palatine Hill, the Pantheon, Piazza Navona, the Trevi Fountain, and much more that I probably didn’t even realize was significant.  The next day, I went to the Vatican and did a guided tour. I’m not Catholic, so I mainly went for the art.  We had a great tour guide who was born and raised in Rome and who was an art historian (so I really lucked out with that).  She had an enormous vocabulary, and I was very impressed! I was in awe at all of the detail and precision of the artwork in the Vatican.  Michelangelo and Raphael were truly two gifted artists! I saw my favorite painting thus far at the Vatican, The School of Athens.  After visiting the Vatican, I took advantage of the famous gelato in Italy. We went to a gelato shop that had over 150 flavors to choose from!!  Needless to say, at the end of this trip, I was exhausted. I think I’m still trying to recover.


St. Peter’s Square at the Vatican

At this point, I am over half way through my study abroad trip, and I definitely think the trips that I planned helped me reach the half way point with ease.  I’m glad I thought of that right away, so March for me was not boring or slow! This weekend, I am going to the caves of Roquefort where they make Roquefort cheese (bleu cheese with the veins in it).  I’m excited to learn about how they make it and the effects that the caves have on the cheese.


Caity Stevens

Greetings everyone!

I’m Caity and its safe to say I’m a pretty laid back, slightly funny, sophomore Digital Communications major, minoring in Business Administrations. I am also a member of the field hockey team!

In May, I will be in Maastricht, Netherlands for a 4 week study abroad experience. Studying abroad is on my bucket list and I can’t wait to cross it off! Stay tuned to hear (and see!) about all of my adventures in Europe.


Despite What You’ve Been Told

There seems to have been some confusion as to the events that occurred between the 14th and 15th of March, 2015. Rest assured, I have decided to shed some light on the investigation of anomaly NZ-348, hereby referred to as, “The Everywhere Tree.” Some pictures may have been censored, to protect the identities of the people involved.

I inspected the picture on the unfortunately sparse dossier that I had been given. It looked so stupidly ordinary that I considered tossing it in the lake and calling it a day. Looking at the other occupants of the boat, it appeared that they were considering the same.

Investigator Parke, contemplating the choices that have led her up to this point.

Investigator Parke, contemplating the choices that have led her up to this point.

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