Last summer, Professional Writing (PW) major Grace Beltowski embarked on a study abroad that took her all the way to Peru, where she was able to utilize her writing skills while also expanding her knowledge of environmental concerns that exist in that part of the world. During her four weeks abroad, Grace traveled to a variety of environments to learn about the environmental challenges they face, and how to communicate these things to the rest of the world.
Grace spent the majority of her days on the move, learning about environmental issues like mining, deforestation, and climate change. She traveled to various locations such as universities, government agencies, environmental advocacy groups and scientific institutions. Grace mentioned that she enjoyed hearing from the external communicators at each of these places, as well as the glimpses into what a career for her might look like. She also enjoyed interacting with Peruvian students and professors. Additionally, Grace visited rainforest communities and heard from locals who deal with environmental challenges on a daily basis.
One of Grace’s favorite parts about her trip was gaining more knowledge about environmental concerns. She shared that prior to this study, she hadn’t had much experience working with scientific issues, and said that this study abroad provided “a good way to see the different avenues I could use my degree for.” Learning about these things opened her eyes to the communication measures in place to talk about these things to a wide audience. Communicating between politicians, scientists and journalists can be a challenge, and Grace said that having rhetoric and audience knowledge from her Professional Writing courses was very useful for achieving this goal.
Grace’s study abroad in Peru helped her to realize the impact she could have as a communicator working to make a positive impact on the world. Her trip helped her gain a new perspective as a writer, and the connections she made with other people across the globe are priceless. Furthermore, Grace advises her classmates to go abroad, because it will definitely be worth it.
Written by Blake Hedges
Photo provided by Grace Beltowski