Study Away – Yellowstone (CTZN 307)

Wow. I really went to the other side of the United States for a class. It was so cold, and it was a long 10 days away from my fiance and our cat, Rhys. This course taught me ideals and views that I would not have gotten otherwise, from the controversial wolves to the grizzly bear hunting around the park to climate change. The people out in this area are so knowledgeable and understanding that it almost felt like I was in a simulation where everyone wanted to talk to me and tell me their life stories. I loved nearly every minute of being in Yellowstone. I got to make many new friends, like Zack and Cosmo that I had to room with. I got to meet new professors, both from Longwood and other universities; I also got the opportunity to try some amazing food, like bison and elk. I have never really enjoyed doing Place-as-Text before, but doing it out in Cody, Gardiner, and Jackson were some of the most memorable times that I have had over the last few years. I got to learn so much about the community and its history, like the old hotel we visited in Gardiner that was run by the same husband and wife for over 50 years. There were some great stories we learned not only from locals to Gardiner, Cody, and Jackson, but also from Scott, the Native American guide that joined us during most of our trip in the west. He taught us the importance of water and the sun to his people, and why we need to show more respect towards them. The animals out in this area were amazing, as most of them I had never seen before. The bison were gigantic, the wolves were so fast, and the grizzly bears were honestly a little more terrifying than I was expecting.