Make The Connection

December 14, 2017 | By Cole Hatcher

Rachel Scherrer ’18 visits a farm in New Zealand as part of a semester abroad at Victoria University of Wellington. ‘I was chosen to feed this little lamb in a bottle-feeding competition,’ she says. ‘My little fella won, but I credit that to teamwork.’ (Photo courtesy of Rachel Scherrer)

‘A New Lens to View the World Through’

Ohio Wesleyan Student Spends Semester in New Zealand

Name: Rachel Scherrer ’18

Major: Theatre

Minor: English

Hometown: Sebastopol, California

Experience: Semester-long study abroad at Victoria University of Wellington, New Zealand

Lessons learned: “It’s hard being away from home, or from a place you’ve made your home, but the connections with people that I made while abroad, I’m hoping to keep for the rest of my life. …

“I’m a theatre major who was taking film theory and media classes. It was somewhat intimidating in the beginning. Yet, when we had weekly hour-long tutorials that involved small discussion groups, I found that our regular class set-up at OWU was practically the same. These were the parts of class the other students dreaded but I looked forward to. …

“I learned that I chose the right major. A semester in another country while not having any outlets for my major completely solidified that I’m doing what I need to be doing.

“It’s hard to describe how traveling can change [the way] you view the world. Obviously when you travel, you see a different corner of the world, but there’s something different about having the practical, hands-on learning experience studying abroad gives you.

“You learn a bunch about yourself you wouldn’t have otherwise. From finding a new favorite coffee shop, to figuring out public transportation, all the way to tramping across a 19-kilometer alpine Great Walk, it gives you a new lens to view the world through. The whole point of a liberal arts education is to be ‘well-rounded,’ but there’s only so much book learning can get you.”

Why I chose Ohio Wesleyan: “I realized almost too late into applying for colleges that I did not want to do a B.F.A. for acting, and OWU was recommended to me by my college counselor. I applied about six weeks before the deadline and three weeks later, I got my very first college acceptance letter.

“I ended up visiting during the polar vortex, and I was in for a surprise. I had never been in temperatures below freezing before, but the campus was beautiful, the experience was magical, and the people made it home. I loved the study abroad programs, both travel-learning and the semester abroad, and I liked how easy it was to take classes in different disciplines.”
My plans after graduation: “Currently I’m planning on taking a year off while applying to grad programs for theatre, but more specifically acting. The specifics are definitely up in the air, but I’m not too worried about it right now.”