Alumni Share Their Stories
On social media, we asked: “What was the best part of your overseas study program?”
Laura Mundt BA ’91
My favorite part of our program (East/West Germany in 1990) was meeting the man who would become my husband, Tony Paolucci BA ’91. Last year, we celebrated our 27th anniversary in front of the student housing where we lived in East Berlin. As students, we were there for the Ostmark to Westmark currency conversion, the first joint Germany elections, and the day Coca Cola was available in East Berlin shops.
Hongda Jiang BA ’08
The best experience, by far, was getting arrested on the Russian-North Korean-Chinese trijuncture. I was studying abroad in Vladivostok, Russia, and I went with other foreign students on a long weekend trip to a border town called Khasan. We arrived by train around midnight, only to learn that this desolate settlement was considered a sensitive “border zone.” A receptionist promptly reported us to the FSB (the successor to the KGB), who immediately came and detained us.
The FSB agents, seeing that we were obviously just students looking for mischief, maintained a jovial and professional attitude throughout our arrest. They let us sleep in a room in their barracks for the night, gave us their only available space heater, shared cookies and coffee with us the next morning, then gave us a tour of the local museum. After all that hospitality, they let us off with a written warning.
To this day, I remain deeply nostalgic about this trip. It was a wonderful long weekend of adventure, where I experienced the kindness of locals, the natural scenic beauty of the Russian Far East, and discovered my love of dystopian, desolate landscapes.
Alix Soliman BA ’19
The most transformative experience during my New Zealand program was our canoe trip down the Whanganui River, led by Maori guides. We meandered slowly along its bends and curves, swimming in eddies with our feet sinking in nutrient-rich, loamy soil, exploring caves and tributaries off of the main stem, and listening to the legend of the river’s creation. I was ecstatic.
I now work in environmental nonprofit communications, sit on the board of the Carmel River Watershed Conservancy, and am applying to grad schools to get an M.S. in science journalism (where I will, hopefully, cover water management in the arid West).
Zørch BS ’71
I was not able to fit a study-abroad trip into my four years at L&C; however, I did participate in the Washington, D.C., program in 1970. The continual flow of classmates returning to campus from their trips abroad certainly brought new perspectives and appreciation for the wider world. As a result of this, I chose to study abroad after graduation. I spent the better part of two years attending schools in Denmark, while traveling into the other Scandinavian countries during school breaks. This changed my life at the time, and continues to have major impact 50 years later.
Wendy Bon BA ’77, MEd ’79
In 1976, I had an incredible opportunity to spend months in the South Pacific—Fiji, Tonga, Western Samoa, American Samoa, and Tahiti. I enjoyed amazing fish drives, singing, education, dancing, and basket and tapa cloth making. The people were amazing! There were so many highlights, but I think the best part was the lifelong friendships made and the reunions we’ve had since. (Consider giving to our scholarship for L&C students who are first-time travelers at go.lclark.edu/giving/bond.)
Michelle Anderson-Olivier BA ’89
As a small town girl from Montana, who had never flown more than a few states away, my faraway year abroad in Munich, Germany (1987– 88), was the single most impressionable and impactful moment of my lifetime. We were kids and so naive about life in East and West Germany. Boarding a bus, we crossed the border between countries divided by freedom and oppression. From Ludwig castles to art museums, operas to abbeys, bright city sights to dark history tours, our education was immersive, joyful, heartbreaking, eye-opening, confusing, and the list goes on.