|Popular with school children, “choose your own adventure” fiction books allow readers to make choices which lead them on trips all over the world, ending in grand quests in foreign lands. Several Bradley students lived out their own adventures over the summer, traveling to South Korea, China and other exotic locations. Through their escapades, they attained invaluable job experiences, leadership skills, and an appreciation of foreign cultures.
An American girl in Seoul
Life in the confines of a Heitz Hall dorm room can seem cramped. Lisa Park ’08 found her experiences as a Heitz assistant resident advisor adequate preparation for Seoul, South Korea, one of the most densely populated cities in the world.
Lisa Park ’08
An average day for her at Access Communications and Consulting PR firm began by examining information sites such as newspapers, magazines, and blogs. After summarizing any client-related information, Park, who is fluent in Korean, Spanish, and English, translated Korean-written summaries for the firm’s English-speaking clients.
In addition to job experience, Park learned to adjust to a different culture. “Korea is still somewhat a male-dominated country,” she said. “People are a bit ruder than I’m used to.” Clothing choices were also an issue. “People stared at me if I showed up at a restaurant or mall in a Bradley T-shirt, basketball shorts and flip-flops,” Park said.
Roughing it in the Pacific Northwest
For entrepreneurship major Charlie Lordo ’09 a standard retail position led to outdoor summer adventure complete with black bears, 10-mile hikes, and valuable leadership experience.
Through his work at Outdoors Incorporated, a retailer of active apparel and equipment, Lordo was introduced to the National Outdoor Leadership School. The NOLS program teaches leadership by utilizing outdoor activities such as backpacking, mountaineering, and kayaking.
Lordo’s trek took him from his home in St. Louis to the wilderness of Washington state. “During the trip, there were 10 kids plus two guides,” Lordo said. “There were leaders of the day and people who figure out the trail and how long it would take to get to the destination. It really helped me learn how to work and live with others.”
Lordo’s march through the Pasadean rough country began every day with breakfast at 6 a.m. Afterwards, the group launched their daily six- to 10-mile hike, stopping every hour to re-hydrate and eat. At the end of the trek, they set up camp, ate dinner, and plotted the next day’s course, eventually hiking a total of 163 miles.
“We also had class every day,” Lordo said. “I learned a huge amount of First Aid. We were prepared to be a few steps below a paramedic.”
“It was an awesome trip and a really good experience,” he said. “I love doing outdoors activities. I’d do it again in a second.”
Balancing work and play in Hawaii
The Trump Tower under construction in Honolulu, Hawaii, is an elaborate project. A viewer of The Apprentice will agree that nothing but the best satisfies Donald Trump. Adil Chandiwala ’08 knew for his internship with Ferguson, a plumbing equipment distribution company working on the new Trump Tower, he had to be on the top of his game.
“My internship involved working as an outside sales intern,” explained the entrepreneurship major. “Basically, I accompanied a sales representative to different construction projects and helped negotiate prices for the development.”
Chandiwala visited several new hotel sites and military bases, including Pearl Harbor. In his free time, Chandiwala enjoyed scuba diving, parasailing, skydiving, and hiking. He frequently took his moped down the beach to enjoy Hawaii’s scenic views and ocean waves.
The best part of Hawaii, according to the Des Plaines resident, was opening his window in the morning to a view of the ocean and mountains. “Beats an alarm clock every day,” he said.
Group studying abroad ‘ads’ up
Alan Pearcy ’08 was one of 10 Bradley students who traveled with professor John Schweitzer to Beijing, China, to learn more about advertising practices. Students undertook a complex task to advise Maui Jim Inc. on the probable success of entry into the Chinese market. Pearcy said this project was the most real-life advertising experience he’s had. “It was good insight to our future. We learned different slogans and taglines aren’t going to work everywhere, and it’s important not to offend other cultures.”
One of Pearcy’s favorite memories was visiting the Great Wall of China, which he described as “one of those places where you couldn’t think you were anywhere else.” He urges fellow students to take advantage of Bradley’s study abroad program.
Living with Buddhist monks
Brian Biggs '08, philosophy and economics double major, lived in a Buddhist monastery in Taiwan for a month. The up-close view of modern monastic life included a seven-day silent meditation retreat, dharma talks, community service, personal projects, and of course, classes.
“I miss the monastics,” Biggs said. “They’re some of the most beautiful and giving people I’ve ever met in my life.”
Biggs described the monastery as a “huge hotel” where he and 40 other international students enjoyed a vegan lifestyle and picked up a foreign language and meditative training techniques. He continues to practice his meditation each day, which helps him to better function under stress.
Biggs said one of his greatest lessons from the journey was realizing there’s no such thing as a mundane instant. “Every moment is a treasure,” he said. “It makes me appreciate everything I get instead of marking it off as trite.”