International travel, research, and engagement have long contributed to the experience of Marlboro students designing their own course of study in a diversity of fields. Now that travel experience just got more accessible, thanks to a generous gift from architect and Marlboro College friend Harvey Geiger.
“This past summer, I traveled to Japan to investigate through immersion Zen Buddhism in cultural context,” said Solomon Botwick-Reis, a Marlboro junior (pictured, right). “In essence, my trip was an investigation of a single question: What does it mean to participate in a tradition that is embedded in history and language, as a person steeped in a different tongue, both linguistically and culturally?”
Solomon practiced alongside monks in a Sōtō Zen temple in Okayama Prefecture, and volunteered on organic farms in the countryside of Daisen, Chugoku, to observe how Zen traditions were maintained in family environments. “I came to understand Zen Buddhism as a cultural artifact, a vocabulary not confined to a religious sphere,” said Solomon.
Meanwhile, senior Lauren Hunley traveled to Brazil last July for a month-long language intensive in Portuguese at Pontificia Universidade Católico do Rio, through CIEE. Lauren’s focus on Latin American studies led her to an interest in Brazilian-American literature, for which she needed a better understanding of the Portuguese language.
“I knew that I had to travel to Brazil to truly learn the language, as traveling to different Spanish-speaking countries and subjecting myself to total immersion is how I perfected my Spanish-speaking abilities,” said Lauren. “I am so incredibly grateful that I had this opportunity. By the result of my own hard work and the support I received from the Geiger Grant, I was able to achieve what I once thought impossible.” Other students traveled to Sweden, China, and rural West Virginia this fall, thanks to Geiger Grants