IROP Q&A

Sarah Macinski, Ivy Carlson, Heather Moher

Q: Do you now see the world as a larger or smaller place?

IC: I consider it much smaller now that I have visited Tanzania and conducted research there. I now have the independence to travel by myself, and I have learned that it is possible to go anywhere and study anything. I've also learned that no matter where you go, certain things will always be the same. For example, the children I encountered played the same types of games we did when we were young. Kidai is the Tanzanian equivalent of tag, and is played with as much vigor.

HM: In terms of geography, it feels larger. For example, I thought I would be able to travel all around England easily, but I found it took more time and money than I had expected. I learned a valuable lesson, however, and that is to slow down and enjoy everything a place has to offer. In a philosophical sense, the world feels smaller. I learned that people are not so different in terms of basic life goals. Cultural differences can be deceiving, making you think people are different, too. But when you talk with them, you learn they have a lot of the same ideas you do.

SM: I see it as both larger and smaller. My summer completely opened my eyes as to how much there is to learn and explore. On the other hand, I learned that this vast greatness is obtainable. It is possible to be anywhere within 24 hours. I met a girl from my hometown at the Thai Elephant Conservation Center. The world is a small place, but with an incredible magnitude of diversity.

Q: How did IROP change how you looked at your education?

IC: It made me more aware of my options and the opportunities that exist if I look for them. I'm applying for the Peace Corps—something that I never truly thought I would do—because of my experiences in Tanzania.

HM: It didn't change my view. I have always believed education is more than going to classes. The most valuable learning is often gained by experience—not just lab experience, but "people" experience, communicating with people cross-culturally. This was just confirmed when I went to Oxford.

SM: It changed me—my outlook, my goals, and my way of accomplishing them. I feel research is essential to growing and learning, but I still see lecture halls the same way.

Q: Name one thing you learned about yourself.

IC: I am wealthy. My family may not be wealthy by American standards, but we have so much compared to global standards. I used to convince myself I was a frugal person who didn't spend money—now I recognize my behavior as a privilege of birth; I understand I am lucky to be where I am.

HM: I can start a conversation with just about anyone, even in another country.

SM: I can accomplish great things.