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UC Blue Ash Students Save Sea Turtles and Study Empires

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Saving a damaged sea turtle nest along the coast of Costa Rica and visiting the Palace of the Emperors in Austria; those were just a few of the life-changing activities students enjoyed this summer as part of two study abroad trips hosted by the University of Cincinnati Blue Ash College.

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Students in Costa Rica experienced various ecosystems, plants, and animals through field trips they took each day.

The Costa Rica Study Abroad trip was based on the Osa Peninsula, home to about three-percent of the world’s biodiversity. The 19 students who participated took a course on Tropical Natural History and Conservation in Costa Rica and experienced different examples of ecosystems, plants, and animals through field trips they took each day.  That’s how they came across the damaged sea turtle nest.

“A few research scientists we worked with as part of our field studies were planning to move the nest after it was partially damaged. There were 30 eggs in the nest, so our students helped remove them and re-built the nest in a different location, making sure to match the exact same size and depth. It was an incredibly valuable experience,” says Susan Willis, UC Blue Ash biology professor and faculty leader for Costa Rica Study Abroad.

The students also had the opportunity to monitor local streams, study indigenous plants, take a boat tour of the gulf, and learn more about the wildlife in the area. Some of the more than 200 species they saw included monkeys, the jaguarundi (a mini jaguar), and the fer-de-lance, one of the most poisonous snakes in the world.

Professor Debbie Page leads a class on German Cultural History at Hofburg Palace in Vienna, Austria.

Professor Debbie Page leads a class on German Cultural History at Hofburg Palace in Vienna, Austria.

Brittany Jenkins is a UC Blue Ash student who studied in Costa Rica. She was impressed by all of the plants and animals that were new to her and appreciated everything that she learned, especially outside the classroom. “It was a life-changing experience; it definitely taught me more about the environment, but also about the people of Costa Rica and the culture. It was amazing.”

Prague, Vienna, and London were all part of the itinerary for the 2016 Summer British Study Abroad trip hosted by the college. The 17 students who participated could choose from courses in German Cultural History that focused on empires and royalty, or gothic literature, which included the works of Franz Kafka, Sigmund Freud, and Thomas Hardy.

The students were based at Harlaxton Manor, a 150-room mansion located in Lincolnshire, England. They also visited the Schönbrunn Palace, the Prague Castle, the Kafka Museum, and the hunting lodge of Archduke Ferdinand of Austria-Este, along with many other sites during their travels across Europe. The students consistently talked about how impactful it was to learn about an historic figure in class and then experience their world firsthand.

“In one part of our class we studied Rudolf I and then we went to his castle in Austria. When we learned about Kafka, we went to the town where he lived and visited his museum. It really changes how you learn when you have that experience to go with it,” UC Blue Ash Student Dana Lentz wrote in her blog.  All of the students were required to keep an online journal as part of the trip where they reflected on their experiences.

Students exploring during their British Study Abroad Experience

Students exploring during their British Study Abroad Experience

Each of the students also commented about how much the trip opened their eyes to the world and made them appreciate different cultures for the first time in their lives.  The multi-cultural experience helped them realize that we may have differences in our daily routines and customs, and adapting to different cultures is a valuable skill. “In the future I hope to use this information to change how I interpret and react to cultural differences by having more of a curious and open mind,” wrote UC Blue Ash Student Nicholas Burkhart.

About UC Blue Ash College

UC Blue Ash College is a regional college within the University of Cincinnati. It offers one of the best values in higher education with access to a nationally recognized UC education in nearly 50 degrees and certificates, as well as tuition that is about half of most colleges and universities. The college is located on a scenic 135-acre wooded campus in the heart of Blue Ash, Ohio.

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