Eye-opening Study Abroad

Naomi Tice ’14 saw how Costa Ricans prize their natural resources, while Shelby Kienzle-Poppalardo ’13 learned that Ugandans rely on relationships to make them happy. They were two of more than 80 LC students participating in Study Summer Abroad this year.

Uganda and Kenya

“It was amazing,” said Shelby, who just returned from Uganda and Kenya. “I learned to value relationships more. People don’t have much, but they’re really, really happy.”

Shelby was one of nine students who accompanied Dr. Todd Olsen to the Gulu region of Uganda where they worked directly with local leaders and citizens to promote public health initiatives. Dr. Olsen and the Sports Outreach Institute, headquartered in Lynchburg, have extensive experience in the region.

Shelby, a psychology major from Greensburg, Penn., said the slums of Nairobi, Kenya were an eye-opener. She saw 6-year-olds save half their lunch to take home to their hungry families. She saw children with one outfit and no shoes. Still she was amazed by how many women, in particular, persevered through their faith. “The women gave me a new perspective on hope,” Shelby said. “It was more inspiring than depressing.”

“You were definitely touched in some way on this trip,” said Patrick McCleary ’13, a health promotion major from Wyoming, Del. He said the experience confirmed his desire to become an epidemiologist and help people live healtheir, happier lives. He most enjoyed the hands-on teaching he did in Kampala, Uganda and Nairobi, where he shared basic lessons on hand-washing, wound care, and nutrition.

“The thing that surprised me the most,” he said, “was how welcoming the people were. Even though they don’t have much, they’re still willing to share it all.”

Both Shelby and Patrick went to work for children’s camps this summer upon their return.

Costa Rica

Naomi was one of 13 students who studied ecology and environmental science in the Costa Rican rain forest with Dr. Tom Shahady. Nature walks and boat rides literally brought students face to face with howler monkeys and poison dart frogs.

“It was an awesome trip,” Naomi said, noting that 30 percent of Costa Rica is protected in some type of preserve. “Costa Rica has really found a way to market their natural resources.”

Naomi said she enjoyed seeing the sloths and caimans, touring a cheese factory, visiting a small coffee farm, and climbing around volcanoes. “My favorite was a mangrove tour near the Pacific coast,” she said. Mangroves provide natural protection against flooding and hurricanes, as well as nurseries for numerous species.

A chemistry major from Houston, Texas, Naomi returned from Costa Rica to do summer research with Dr. Shahady on testing plants that can remove phosphorus from storm-water runoff.

Other trips this summer include:


Thirty-two students traveled withDr. David Lipani and Barbara Rothermel to experience classical literature, art, and architecture firsthand through Homer and Virgil’s classic works as well as to visit Italy’s numerous World Heritage Sites as identified by UNESCO.

Quebec City

Six students traveled with Dr. Bruce Mayer to enjoy a “European” experience in one of the oldest cities in North America while studying at LC’s newest sister school. Laval University hosted LC students for a language and cultural immersion program.

South Korea

Seven students, led byDr. Eric Kyper, will experience a new culture and way of life during their visit to LC’s sister university in Daejeon. Classes focus on Korean language and culture while students explore Buddhist temples and taste Korean cuisine with their Korean “buddies.”