A window inside life at Augustana College

Top Reasons To Study Abroad In Africa

As you may already know, Augie provides many destinations to study abroad each year. Spring Term 2015, they are offering a trip to Africa (an awesome place and happens to be the program to which I’ve been accepted). The application is STILL OPEN and will be open until further notice.  Hopefully, even more students students will apply and enroll. Many are overlooking this AMAZING opportunity for whatever reason(s). In those emails, they don’t add too many words because then it may seem overwhelming.   Here, I will explore the top reasons why you should apply to Africa Term.


Live in Africa for a whole term!


Live in Ghana: one of the friendliest and welcoming countries in Africa.

Live in a house, not a hut!

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There won’t be any huts or camping out. Let’s defuse the stereotype! There will be actual houses. Perhaps that what’s making people hesitant to apply? Here you will be living with a family and a fellow Augie student.

Fulfill PA, PH, PP perspectives and G Suffix + Learning Community (Internship!)

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There are three 3-credit courses offered in Africa, which are all taught by Augie professors. You can take either 2 or all 3 of the courses provided below.

Art 342: Studio Art of Africa (PA, G). Taught by Dr. Rowen Schussheim-Anderson

History 375: West Africa Past & Present (PP).  Taught by Dr. Todd Cleveland

Music 342: Music & Culture of West Africa (PH, G).  Taught by Dr. John Pfautz

The internship you get depends on your major. The professors at Augie will be making their best efforts to get you an internship that fits.   This service learning internship will earn you 2 credits at Augie and is an awesome thing to add to your resume!

Open To Any Augustana Student Who…

…is currently a first-year, sophomore, or junior of any major!

The Following majors/minors are recommended, but is definitely not NOT LIMITED TO: Africana Studies, Anthropology, Art, Art History, Communication Sciences & Disorders, Communication Studies, Environmental Management, Environmental Studies, Geography, Geology, Graphic Design, History, Landscape Architecture, Music, Music Ed, Secondary ED, and Women & Gender Studies (Source: Augustana College International Programs, Dec. 2013)

Cost less than a spring term on campus


The tentative cost of this trip is $15,500 (includes insurance, tuition, ground transportation, airfare, lodging, meals while in homestays, and excursions). With Augie Choice, this program costs less than a Spring Term on campus! AUGIE CHOICE IS OPEN TO CURRENT FIRST-YEARS, SOPHOMORES, AND JUNIORS, TOO!

Many Free Meals!

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Unlike some study abroad programs, most of the meals are included in the cost! Your host family will be providing you will their own heart-warming and belly-filling cuisine. This includes all breakfasts and dinners.

Side Trips

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Take a safari. Visit historical sites like the slave castles.  Go to the beaches of the Atlantic Ocean Visit national parks and more!

English is the official language

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Don’t be afraid to make a mistake ordering your food and don’t be worried about saying anything offensive; English is the official language! All the preparation you need will be during Winter Term in ISS 302: Seminar on African Culture. This one credit course will provide you will all types of helpful info: from the best way to carry money, to African customs to communication with family at home… it covers it all!


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Elephants, moneys, etc.! There aren’t many opportunities like this. Be surrounded by nature and feel more connected to Earth. For me, this is something spiritually rejuvenating. While it’s still feeling like winter in Rock Island, it is feeling great in Africa. Your friends will be jealous. Ha. :p

Cultural Exchange and Bonding

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Experience the many parts of the culture hands on. The arts and music won’t be limited to the classroom. There will be music, dance, history, arts, crafts and more. The family you stay with will make you feel like part of their family and there’s nothing like learning from the source him/herself. African people are known to be some of the warmest and most interesting people in the world. Exchange your culture with theirs. Get mutual understanding and feel the warmth.

The Personal Experience

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You will leave understanding both the tragedies and many accomplishments of the African people. You can live a better person and will more culture competence. This will have you happy, but sad to leave people you have connected with. Understanding a culture that may be completely opposite from your own takes commitment. Patience can be gained and with that comes strength.  If you can connect with them, you can connect with anyone.

Other Perks

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This is a great conversation starter and wouldn’t look too shabby on your resume. Plus, one of the most difficult interview questions is “What is the biggest challenge you faced and how did you go about it”. The perfect answer could be about the one time in Africa when you may have had culture shock… or something of that nature. That one answer could earn you a job.

A typical day in Africa

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Ghana: Wake up and eat a delicious breakfast while chatting at the table with your new family. Depending on your work schedule, you may be on your way to your internship. Maybe you’ll be working with children in a classroom, maybe you’ll be evaluating patients in a clinic, or perhaps you’ll be collecting water from Lake Volta. Afterwards you might be on your way to lunch with a fellow Augie student, then classes and dinner in the evening. On the weekends, there will be side trips with professors and other students.


Applying is easy as 1, 2, 3!


Go to www.augustana.edu/plus/ to apply NOW!


1.      Complete a brief section that’s asking for info like your name, languages you’ve taken, and your campus involvement.

2.     Complete a one page personal statement about your academic goals and how this trips fits and what not.

3.      Complete a budget narrative and submit!!!! Don’t forget to submit you $300 deposit to the Business office. If accepted, the deposit goes towards the program. If not, it will be refunded to you fully. 

Note: If you’re looking to apply for Augie Choice, there are three short answers to complete afterwards. Then you’re all done.

Remember: you’re chances of getting accepted are pretty likely since there are some spots left. Don’t wait until the last minute and miss out!

For more information, visit http://www.augustana.edu/academics/international-programs/trimester-abroad-programs/ghana-and-tanzania or contact Dr. Pfautz (Music), Dr. Cleveland (History) or Dr. Schussheim-Anderson (Art)

P.S. Though both Ghana & Tanzania are part of the program, I chose to only focus on Ghana. Depending on how many more people apply, that can determine whether we go to both or not. If we only go to Ghana, it will still be 10 weeks and the internship will be 10 weeks instead of 6 as well! If we do Ghana & Tanzania, there will be 6 weeks spent in Ghana and 4 in Tanzania (The internships are in Ghana only).

Someone Might Read This

I imagine Augustana student Dan Murray reading this in his bathrobe. He’s got a fresh cup of hot cocoa with some marshmallows melting upon it and some sprinkles of peppermint to give it that perfect hint of Winter coziness.

He’s clean shaven at the moment, but he’s considering not shaving to appear more mature to all the ladies at Augustana. The ladies at Augustana that might talk about him to the higher ups at Hot Guy Magazine. Were both not sure if it exists, but men can’t be certain that it doesn’t.

He’s spent hours on Facebook not really soaking up anything, but he’s contemplating what he’s going to do today. He remembers he enjoys a good giggle every once and again, so he decides to check out this blog before he heads off on the adventure of his day.

The blog reads.

1. 184 lb Augustana Wrestler Thomas Reyhons leads dual life as National Qualifying stud muffin and actor Clive Owen. He’s a chocolate chip stud muffin, with all the multivitamins one needs for daily nourishment.


2. Billy Mays sold me a genie in a bottle post mortem. I feel cheated but at the same time immensely impressed at the salesmanship of the bearded purveyor of good I believe I need, but ultimately don’t because food, shelter, and human companionship are all I truly need. With the genie in a bottle, I wished for three wishes. The genie said that comes standard. I argued with my genie for about an hour, 34 minutes of which were spent arguing about whether I can wish for even more wishes than three. I settled on three wishes and a burrito from Illegal Pete’s. If you don’t know about that kind of burrito I suggest you hop in a ride with me on my way to Colorado this summer in my lovely green truck that I’ve yet to name but love dearly. Their burritos might change the way you view Mexican food and the social hierarchy of America. With the first wish I asked to become a better writer. I’m still terrible so I guess wishing didn’t work. My second wish was for world peace, I then began laughing hysterically and said just kidding. I got a second wish back and used it to get the cast of St. Elmo’s Fire to do a combination theatre piece combining Erin Brokovich with Hamlet. I might be the only mind that can fathom how great it was. I wrote a review of it on Rotten Tomatoes.com that simply stated,

“I was riveted by the acting of Rob Lowe, my mom met him once. My mom is the most beautiful woman in the world. I know because my dad told me that more than I could count as a kid”.

My third wish was spent on finding out what happens at the end of this wonderful season of True Detective. I can’t tell.

3. There are a lot of movies used as references in this blog. Google them, then watch them you troglodyte.

Q. I am using a letter here. I don’t have to follow my own rules. If you truly want to break free from the establishment proudly say, “get shelved like a lost toy me”.

Shelved is a new “thing” I’m trying. I’ll work it into sentences when I feel like it or don’t feel like it depending on how controlling I am of myself.


So, Dan Murray  decides to get on with his day. He texts Gary Miller, “Hey I hope your Sunday is fantastic”

It sure is Dan!



Spring Break in Minnesota

So we Augie students are currently on spring break. I know what you’re thinking, “Spring break in February?!?”, and I agree, it’s not exactly the most ideal time for spring break. However there are pro’s to this timing. Apparently going on trips to warm places is cheaper during our spring break versus other spring breaks, but I wouldn’t know that because I’ve never been on a spring break trip. Honestly, the only spring break information I can pass on is how I’ve spent my spring breaks in the good ol’ frozen tundra of Minnesota aka: Land of Ten Thousand Lakes, Land of Ten Thousand Potholes, Land of 8ft Snow Drifts.

Freshman year: I spent the two weeks sick in bed. It was miserable. I had tonsilitis, I couldn’t eat, I couldn’t drink, I couldn’t do anything. However I did knockout the whole series of Army Wives. The highlight of this break was making a birthday card for my friend Alli, who was in Brazil, and then taking a picture of it and emailing her the picture. Oh, there was also a snow day in Minnesota during this break and that definitely contributed to my overwhelming joy with spring break. But the snow day allowed me to get together with some of my hometown friends since their colleges closed. Oh, I also went to the Mall of America one day and we found a bat living in the bushes next to the swings in Nicklodeon Universe.

The card that I made Alli during spring break freshman year.

The card that I made Alli during spring break freshman year.

Sophomore year: I had 8+ doctors appointments in 2 weeks. I mean what could be better than countless blood draws, two types of allergy testing, a CATScan, and new glasses? Honestly, not much. I love going to the doctor. I love needles. And going to all of those appointments got me out of the house when I couldn’t hangout with friends. Over this break my TV of choice was Doctor Who. Oh, I also caught black ice on the dirt road on the way home from an appointment and I got stuck in a field. Then my stepdad came to help pull me out and he got stuck.

Both stuck.

Both stuck.

Junior year/This year: My boyfriend came home to meet my family so that was pretty major. I still had two papers to finish and submit so while he was here I spent a lot of time writing papers while he shoveled. On the first, full, day we were at home, my brother, Zeke got his car stuck on the way to school. My Mom, Joey and I went to go get the car. We had our friends help pull out the car with a tractor. The tractor got stuck. Then a snowplow came by and got stuck. Mom went back to get the car keys for Zeke’s car. In the mean time we used another tractor to pull the tractor with the car attached to it out. Mom come back but she got her car stuck. Then another plow came to pull out the first plow. Finally everyone but mom was out of the ditch so we got home and Joey and Zeke pulled her car out. Later that night, Carl, my stepdad, got our truck with a plow on it stuck in the driveway. It took us approximately 3 hours to dig it out. The rest of break has been rather uneventful. Tonight I’m going shopping!

Zeke stuck, waist deep, in a drift in our driveway.

Zeke stuck, waist deep, in a drift in our driveway.

Four Things I Never Realized I Learned from Greek Life

Have you read the article shared by the Greek Life Facebook page titled: Examining the benefits of Greek Life?

If you haven’t yet, I highly recommend doing so. It got me thinking of how four years in Greek Life has benefitted my own education, and since it’s almost time for Augie’s Greek Population to grow, I thought now would be a good time to share them.

Of course, everyone hears the stories of “I found my support group” and “I became a leader” so I’m going to stick to the things we Greeks probably don’t even realize we’ve taken away from our chapters. So here it is,

Four Things I Never Realized I Learned from Greek Life

  1. Keeping Commitments

My sorority quickly taught me that simply “having a lot of homework” is NOT an excuse to miss an important event. However, this is an excuse I hear all the time from students, and I gasp every time I hear it/read it in a text or email. Now, I’m not talking about last-minute plans like, “I would love to go on an impromptu Whitey’s trip with you, but I really want to finish this paper.” I’m talking about using homework as an excuse to get out of events that you have known about for a good amount of time. For example, “I know we scheduled this group project three days ago, but I just have too much other homework to come”. We are all students, we all have homework, and we’re all busy. We should also be able to manage our time properly to work around a schedule.  Imagine using this excuse in the real world, “sorry Mr. Bossman (yep, that will be his name), I can’t come to the staff meeting today because I just had so much filing to do.” Okay, it’s obvious I have no idea what businesses are like (I’m going to be a zookeeper), but you get what I mean. Overall, breaking plans is like breaking a promise.

You said it, Mr. Bossman



2. The Horrors of the Bystander Effect

For those not familiar with psychology (or is it sociology? Whatever), the Bystander Effect happens when people pass responsibility off in a large group assuming that somebody else will do it, or has already done it. A large sorority like mine is definitely not safe from this effect. I know I’ve been guilty of sitting awkwardly, avoiding eye contact while a girl in our sorority asks for “one more person for our IM team.” Once I realized what was happening, though, I started stepping up more. Sometimes all it takes is one volunteer to inspire people to step up as well. I can’t tell you how glad I am to have done this. It has given me so many more opportunities to do great things, not only for my sorority, but for the school and community as well. My Advice: never pass responsibility off to someone else if you know you can handle it yourself. You never know what adventure will come from stepping up and taking responsibility.


I had the best time stepping up and joining our Camp Kessem Trivia table: We didn’t win, but we definitely won “Most Attractive Table”


3. How to deal with disagreement

Imagine a group of 100+ girls being asked to decide on the best Whitey’s ice cream flavor. Obviously they are not going to all say the same thing (even though it’s obviously Mississippi Mud). That is essentially what happens all the time, but maybe not with something as trivial as ice cream flavors. Maybe at first it’s overwhelming to be so confidant of an answer only to be outnumbered; have a majority of people disagree with you. But it’s going to happen, and the first time, you may take it a little personally (maybe not). Either way, it’s OKAY! My sorority stands on the value of individuality, so we disagree about everything, but in the best way possible. From my sorority, I’ve heard so many opinions, ideas, and thoughts that I could have never dreamed of. I’ve learned to never look at disagreement as an attack, but a new viewpoint or idea. You could learn so much from hearing an opposing viewpoint. It could change your mind or make you value your own opinion even more, always cherish that.


Just don’t try to change my mind about ice cream…




4. YOU are important 

Like I mentioned before, I come from a BIG chapter. Sometimes it’s easy to feel like you don’t stand out in a group of 100+ girls let alone a society of billions of people. My sisters are so talented, smart, and downright beautiful. They offer so much to Augustana and the world and sometimes I feel like the ugly duckling when I compare my little old self to them and their successes. However, from the constant support of my sisters, I can learn to love myself and see that my place in the sorority and the world is an important one. I may not be the smartest or most successful, and I’m definitely not the most athletic, but I am the only one who can offer exactly who I am to the world. There is truly nobody like me, and my sisters provide a constant reminder that there is nothing better than being exactly who you are.

And it doesn’t get much better than this



To the Person Leaving Letters All Over the Library

Hello! I just have a short post for today:

To the person leaving letters all over the library,

I just want to say Thank You. Thank you for making other people’s days a little bit brighter, especially since it’s finals week. Thank you for proving that people still write in cursive (remember when we were all taught that in 2nd grade? How much we HATED it?). Thank you for proving that people actually read my last post (“The World Needs More Love Letters”).




Finals Week – Round 8

I’m just now realizing that I am closer to graduating from college than I am from having started college, as in I’ve completed 2.66 years here and I only have 1.3 years left. It’s amazing how time flies and I can’t believe that this is my eighth finals week at Augustana. This means I only have 4 finals weeks left after this one; and one of those weeks will be spent in Brazil, so does that even count?

Happy birthday to me!

My birthday was last Thursday, and I just want to say that it was amazing. After being able to be back in Minnesota for m birthday last year I wasn’t sure how I was going to feel about having my birthday during Week 10 at Augie this year; but it was GREAT! Despite the fact that it was my 21st birthday, I really didn’t go crazy. First, I had to go to four hours of class, just like every other Thursday this term. Then I also had to coach the little kidlets on how to swim. So the actual “day” part of my birthday was pretty normal. However, the morning started off great when my roommates surprised me with a balloon bouquet, a gift basket, gluten free cupcakes, and an awesome sign with a baby on it! The night also ended fantastically when I was able to just lay on the coach and watch UP, may favorite movie and my roommates chosen theme for my birthday gifts.

Happy Birthday

The wonderful gifts my roommates gave me. From left to right: gift basket with UP, my favorite candy and various other awesome things, a tray of gluten free cupcakes decorated like balloons, and a balloon bouquet.

Not Your Average Valentine’s Day Post

The title may be a little deceiving… this will most definitely be a pretty average Valentine’s Day post. But it’s written by yours truly, so it’s just that much better.

Let me just start with a brief history of Valentine’s Day: good ole Wikipedia tells me that Valentine’s Day (or St. Valentine’s Day) began as a liturgical (that means church, it’s fine I didn’t know either) holiday that celebrated saints named Valentinus (why were there more than one…). Some fictitious martyrdom stories were created to further celebrate these Valentines and yada yada yada. So where did all this love stuff come in? That one goes to our good friend, Geoff. Geoffrey Chaucer, of course (Canterbury Tales, ya know what I’m sayin). So the whole 18th century, courtly love thing was in full swing and suddenly V-Day was all about expressing love and giving flowers and stuff. Cool, now you know.

So I could go one of two ways with the rest of this post. One could be about how as a single college girl, Valentine’s Day is the reason that anti-depressants were invented. Or two, I could go all feminist on you guys and tell you today should be about empowering us single women…. But instead I’m going to do both because I’m just that talented.

While not nearly as bad as being a single high school girl, (you know all the kiddos running around, hand in hand, kissing all gross all over your locker?) so far being a single college girl isn’t much better. They’ve got these Vocal Valentine things, super cool… only if you’re the lucky one receiving it. And everything is pink and flowery and there’s so much candy. And while sharing Valentine’s Day with your closet girl friends is great, it’s not the same as a guy buying you loads of stuff you don’t need and telling you’re pretty all day. BUT, I’m a woman, a strong, powerful, independent woman. And I don’t a need a man to do those things for me. I can buy myself things I don’t need! And I can look in the mirror and tell myself I’m pretty whenever I want!

Okay, so if you can’t tell, I’m not the biggest fan of Valentine’s Day. If you’re in a relationship, you should not need an excuse to treat your significant other better, you should do that everyday. And if you aren’t in a relationship, we don’t need a day to remind us we’re alone.

Moral of the story: Make sure you go to Walgreens tomorrow to buy all the Valentine’s Day candy on sale, it’ll be dirt cheap I swear.

Until next time -Caitlin


Loves Me Not

Oh Valentines Day, the one day a year that makes couples “official” and single people ever more depressed. For those in a relationship, I would like to say “Congratulations.” I am truly happy that you found someone that takes away the loneliness, and I hope your love never burns out. But this post isn’t directed at you. No, it’s directed at the majority of us who are (once again) alone on Valentines Day.  Now stop me if you’ve heard this one:

If you’ve ever been alone on Valentines Day or even February, you begin to notice all the other people who are in relationships. Don’t even get me started on the music. You can’t turn on the radio or go onto YouTube without having love songs shoved into your ears.  And if you’re like me, you know it hurts. You ask yourself all kinds of questions like “Why don’t I have a boyfriend/girlfriend?” or “Will I ever find someone?’ After a while, you enter what’s known as the Lonely Hearts Club. You are now one of millions, if not billions, of people who are alone on Valentines Day. But, what’s funny is, you’re in this Lonely Hearts Club, but aren’t clubs where a group of people, of a similar interest/mindset,  actually get together? But instead of getting together with our single friends, we quietly mop for 24 hours, simply because we don’t have one person all others to give chocolate to? And for the people who either just got over a breakup or is stilling licking their wounds, I know it hurts now, but in time you get over him/her.  Guy/girls are like buses; there’ll be another one in ten minutes.

The point is, you don’t have to be alone on Valentines Day. Make a party of it! Get some friends and have fun, heck give them candy. Personally, I would much rather have fun with some friends than be lonely. So to those broken hearts that play the blues, find each other and play a different tune.



“Love is Matter; it Cannot be Created nor Destroyed”

Due to the special event on February 14th, also known as Valentines Day or as I like to call it Single Awareness Day, I decided to post something to those who find this day their least favorite or for those who have a broken heart. Love is not everything. Even when you have lost someone you have loved, broken up with your boyfriend or just feel like I do, single and depressed, remember this: “Love is matter; it cannot be created or destroyed”. Follow the link (or copy and paste the link, if it is not blue, into your search bar) to read more about this inspirational message. It made me feel better and I am sure it will do the same for you.