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Leading 18 first-year students for 18 days in a far-away land.

By Nicole Simpson on July 2, 2013

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Enough said. Some people thought I was crazy taking 18 students to Argentina on my own for 18 days. I have to admit – I had a few moments of anxiety prior to the trip. But it was all for naught. This group of students was amazing. After being back in the U.S. for almost 3 weeks, I think back on the trip and remember so many rewarding moments: the utter enthusiasm the students had day in and day out about all of our activities, their attempts at using Spanish to facilitate conversations, the interesting questions they would pose to people we met and to each other, the fascination they had with the dual exchange rate system, their deep appreciation for Argentine culture, their willingness to try almost anything, their excitement when getting absolutely drenched on a boat ride under Iguazu Falls, the camaraderie the students had with each other and with me; the list goes on and on.

Here is what I hope this trip does for them… I hope I have helped them open their eyes to the vast world around them. I hope that they are motivated to learn a new language and/or continue to master a foreign language. I hope they realize that the time they spend learning about a destination ahead of time will pay-off during their travels so that they have a deeper understanding of what they experience. I hope that they continue to represent themselves and their culture as responsibly as they did during our trip. I hope this trip has planted a seed for them, so that they may accomplish unbelievable things all over the world…

I would like to thank all of the people around the world (literally) who helped make our Benton Scholars trip to Argentina extra special. Thank you so much for providing me with insight and support in preparations for our trip. Our trip was truly amazing, and much of that was due to the great advice and support I received from so many people.

I have to say that I have one of the best jobs in the world – to be able to lead a group of smart and motivated students to a destination that is unfamiliar, yet beautiful in so many ways and know that I have contributed to their intellectual and personal growth in a very real way…. all while being deeply appreciated and respected. Wow. Would I do it all over again? Absolutely.


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