August 22, 2018
Two Susquehanna University students spent their summers as Cultural Vistas Fellows, completing an eight-week, international internship.
Both used experiences that are common to many of us—learning a new language and running—to learn about a different culture.
Aiyona Hayman, a senior creative writing major from Catawissa, Pa., taught English with the Refugee Academy in Berlin, Germany.
“While teaching students English, I also learned a lot about culture, world politics and the many languages that come with being in an international city,” Hayman said. “One of my favorite moments was sharing a traditional Syrian dinner with one of my students and his family! It was delicious and we enjoyed a great evening of discussion and socialization!”
Donovan Gayles, a junior political science major from Budd Lake, N.J., interned at Youth RunOurCity (Youth.ROC) in Hong Kong, a program to challenge teenagers to train for distance running and achieve their goals while improving health and developing a positive attitude.
“Being able to interact with the Youth ROC kids not only broadened my understanding of Hong Kong but helped them learn a little about the United States,” Gayles said. “One time I asked a young male runner, who is 15, what he likes to do on the weekend and he told me he likes to go out with his friends at night and try to pick up girls! I thought this was a hilarious response and showed that some things do remain the same across different cultures.”
The Cultural Vistas program selects up to 12 fellows to take part in this multinational professional development program that includes eight-week summer internships in Argentina, Germany and Hong Kong.
Gayles and Hayman are part of the sixth class of Cultural Vistas Fellows. Fellows enrich their academic learning through professional internship and immersion experiences focused on civic engagement and youth involvement.
Hayman hopes her experience in Germany demonstrates to future employers her ability to adapt to change.
“I believe I will be well-prepared to pursue future work teaching English abroad to refugees, migrants, newcomers and residents alike,” Hayman said. “This experience will greatly aid my English and writing career, as well as my personal development in being an active, participating member of the global community.”