Monday, April 25, 2016

2 More Weeks!

Hi everybody, it's Gina Zaccagnini! Happy April and happy almost summer! Hard to believe there are only two more week of the semester... just like that, my sophomore year is over and I will officially be a Junior here at Purdue (crazy to think about that)! However, I wanted to say that I hope all of the graduating high school seniors have made (or are close to making) a decision for the upcoming fall... congrats if you did and if you are still deciding, do not fret! You will make a great decision.. this is for YOU! Do what YOU want to do!
Now, the last time I posted, I was getting ready to leave for my spring break study abroad trip to Cartagena, Colombia. Now that has sadly come and gone, I have to say, for my first time ever being abroad, I absolutely loved the country, its people, and having the chance through Purdue to be a part of such an amazing opportunity and be able to study abroad. The city of Cartagena was absolutely magnificent, and it was extremely rich in history and culture. We took a tour of the city and got to "site-see" many of the historical landmarks and places that represented how Cartagena developed under Spanish rule from the late 1400s until the country gained its independence.

In addition, myself and the 15 other students who also went on the trip were able to perform different service learning projects in the Palenque Village, located about two hours out of the city. The Palenque Village was created by escaped slaves (under Spanish rule), and the overall culture is known as "Palenque". They speak the Palenquero language which is comprised of Spanish, Portuguese, and Bantu, which is the language of a certain African village. We spent three very long days in the village, becoming accustomed with the Palenque culture, and interviewing some of the villagers who left the Palenque to seek education and a job within the cities of Colombia. The experience was quite amazing honestly. I had absolutely no idea about this culture, let alone did not know any of these people, and yet, they were so welcoming and overjoyed at the fact that us, as students of Purdue and the Colombian students (who were with us the entire week helping us translate and communicate with the Palenque villagers), were so interested in their unique and amazing culture. After this study abroad opportunity, it brought me closer to so many new friends here on campus, it opened my eyes even more about what is out there in the world, and has shown me that I definitely want to do another study abroad; whether it be for a semester, a Maymester, or even a week again. There is so much out there to see, and Purdue has so much to offer in regards to this... so take advantage!

With that being said, I would like to say good luck to everyone with finishing school, and best of luck on your finals (whenever they may be)! Study hard and keep your head up... almost done and almost summertime! I hope everyone has a nice, relaxing summer ahead and see you all next year!

Best of luck with everything,

Gina :)

Gina Zaccagnini
Natural Resources and Environmental Science
Purdue University 2018

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