SU students receive travel itineraries

Posted: November 14, 2013

The Winchester Star

Shenandoah University students, including Sarah Giunta (left), of Fairfax, and Jonathan Mills, of Elkton (second from left), react to the announcement that they will be going to Costa Rica for the school’s Global Citizenship Project. (Photo by Jeff Taylor/The Winchester Star)
Travel writer Shannon O'Donnell was the featured speaker during the Global Citizenship announcement Wednesday.
Shenandoah University Director of International Programs Bethany Galipeau-Konate leads the International Convocation at the school Wednesday where destinations for the Global Citizenship Projects were announced. (Photo by Jeff Taylor/The Winchester Star)

WINCHESTER — A group of Shenandoah University students spent part of Wednesday trying to figure out in what exotic locale they would be spending their spring break.

Their only clue was that the country had three official languages and boasted impressive heights but no ocean views.

Senior Kyle Contento thought immediately of the snowy mountains of Switzerland.

When he heard it was Bolivia — a South American country that borders Peru and Brazil — he was a bit confused.

“We’re too Euro-centric,” he said about why he and his cohorts guessed Switzerland.

On Wednesday, SU officials announced which faraway lands the approximately 60 students, staff and faculty will be traveling to for spring break, March 7-16, through the school’s 10th annual Global Citizenship Project.

SU funds the program, which is offered to increase student and staff knowledge of other countries and cultures.

To be selected to travel abroad, hundreds of applicants wrote essays without any identifying information about themselves. The winners were chosen by a committee made up of student and staff alumni from the program.

Applicants must sign on without prior knowledge of the destination to which they might travel.

When asked what she knew about Bolivia, freshman Kaitlynne Dennis laughed.

“Uh, nothing,” she said.

Dennis has never been out of the country and said she is excited about learning a new culture.

“I’m so excited,” she said. “I’m on cloud nine.”

Her future traveling partner, sophomore Grace Eisenhauer, said she, too, didn’t know much about their destination.

“As soon as I’m done with classes today, I’m going to research it,” she said.

Junior Ashley Landes admitted she was a bit nervous about traveling to Costa Rica because the last time she was out of the country was when she went to the Bahamas at 7 years old.

“I was born and raised in Winchester, so this is what I know,” she said.

When Landes was a senior in high school, her family’s house burned down. Although she was interested in attending college as far away as Hawaii, she decided to stay in Winchester to give support to her loved ones.

“This is the travel experience I didn’t really get to have,” she said.

Senior Joey Santangelo was “super, super excited” when he heard he was going to the North African country of Morocco for spring break. He said he can’t wait to experience the diverse culture, architecture, food and fashion.

“It’s very colorful,” he said. “Different than a North American country.”

Students will also head to Albania in southeastern Europe and South Korea.

The Global Citizen Project began during the 2004-05 school year with the help of a gift from Nancy Larrick Crosby, longtime friend and former trustee of the university. Since then, the project has sent more than 550 members of the university community to nearly 50 destinations.

— Contact Rebecca Layne at rlayne@winchesterstar.com