CMC students share off-campus experiences at annual ‘Moments in Minutes’ event

Editor’s Note: This story was written before the final Moments in Minutes results were announced. The first place winner is Lindsey Mattila ’17, the second place winner is Emily Chambard ’16 and third place winner is Jenya Green ’16 . In the coming weeks, all the presentations will be posted on the Office of Off-Campus Study website.

By OCS Peer Ambassador Jenya Green ’16

At the Office of Off-Campus Study’s third annual “Moments in Minutes” event, CMC students showcased their diverse experiences living and traveling around the world. Eleven CMCers shared two-minute snapshots of their off-campus experiences through creative narratives, poems, photos, and jokes.

Through their presentations, CMCers transported the audience of 60 from D.C. to Denmark and Scotland to South Africa. The presentations highlighted personal challenges and new relationships, and had the audience laughing at the slip-ups that are inevitable aspects of living abroad. Each presentation made clear that time off-campus pushed CMC students out of their comfort zones and into challenging spaces that enabled them to learn and grow.

Student performers contrasted their lifestyles at CMC with the pace of life they encountered abroad. For some students, such as Anoush Baghdassarian ’17, living in Buenos Aires provided an opportunity to stop planning ahead and appreciate the beauty of the moment. Others, such as Kennedy Holland ’17, found that life on a crowded ship during her SEA Semester taught her to value a peaceful moment alone. Sophie Breider ’17, who studied in Quito, Ecuador, reminisced about allowing her worries to float away while floating in the Amazon River.

A semester off-campus enabled Vivan Marwaha ’17, a participant in the Washington Program, to observe the theories he had studied in CMC classrooms at play in the real world. Others, such as Emily Chambard ’16, who studied abroad in Buenos Aires, found herself learning on her feet as she was thrust into new cultural contexts. Adam Hilborn ’16 recounted an evening in a Scottish comedy club, reminding the audience that being able to laugh at yourself is an invaluable tool when traveling.

Other presentations focused on the people who made their off-campus experiences special. Chris Chang ’16, who spent a semester in South Africa, recounted feeling fortunate to be embraced into her local community. Jenya Green ’16 recalled the warm welcomes she repeatedly encountered while living in Amman, Jordan, and Jerusalem.

Students creatively expressed times when life abroad forced them out of their comfort zones. In a poem about her time in Copenhagen, Lindsey Mattila ’17 recalled diving headfirst into her semester — and the ocean — on her first day in Denmark. Stephanie Doi ’17, another Copenhagen alumna, recounted her first time traveling abroad in her poem “When I Jumped.”

Each student presenter made clear that the opportunity to live outside the “Claremont bubble” enabled students to not only develop global perspectives, but also to discover previously unknown aspects of themselves. Above all, this year’s Moments in Minutes event highlighted the strong connections CMC students built with their host communities. Theron Simpson ’16, a Copenhagen alumnus, spoke for many Moments in Minutes participants when he repeated the refrain, “I have to go back.”

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