Last year, I was studying abroad in Madrid, Spain and I received an email about a new program, Language in Motion, at Middlebury’s Community Engagement office. At that time, I was thinking about how I would readjust to my life at Middlebury, and all of the memories I had made. The email could not have come at a better time, as I started to think about classes and what I wanted to do for the upcoming year. One thing I wanted to do was to make more of an effort to promote travel and studying abroad even more than I had in the past. Community Engagement has allowed me to do just that.
Through Language in Motion, I found that I could reflect on my experiences to share and pique other students’ curiosities. One thing I missed was how I spent my mealtimes in Spain. I enjoyed the culture of eating because I felt like I had time to both catch up with my friends and eat. When I was planning what I wanted to present to students, I immediately thought about the culture of mealtimes, and I led a small activity in the school’s kitchen where I tried to recreate the ambience of eating tapas at a bar. It was great being able to talk about food and connecting that to life, values, and cultures because I saw how my connections to food made the students think about their lives.
This experience would not have been possible without the Community Engagement office where there are so many different opportunities that anyone can take advantage of. Whether it is sharing experiences like eating, mentoring youth, or applying for a grant to do something you find meaningful (just to name three things you can do), the Community Engagement office can help you find a way to leverage your interests and curiosities to connect with the community. There is more to Middlebury than what happens on the hill, and the Community Engagement office makes it that much easier to discovering ways you can get involved.
-Mandy Kwan ’15
To learn more about Language in Motion, click here!