A Trio of Summer Adventures

Tanya Marsh

Tanya Marsh

What did you do this summer? Maybe you were lucky enough to get away for awhile — hit a couple of concerts or make a trip to the Hills. For the most part, you probably just worked 40 hours at a hum-drum job and hung out with friends.

These three SDSU students did something different with their summers. Whether they traveled far or stayed close to home, each experienced something unique.

Experiencing Norway

Widely known as one of the most beautiful countries in the world, Norway is the land of fjords, mountains, and countryside. For Carrie Fenner, a sophomore microbiology major, it was a summer adventure.

“I took a six-week visit to Norway on a 4-H youth exchange program,” she said.

The main focus of her trip was learning the culture of Norway, and she was able to do that primarily through her host families.

“I think the biggest highlight for me was getting to meet my host families. My first host family and I got really really close, like a second family.”

Through these families, Fenner was able to enjoy cultural nuances such as shopping for national dress and attending a great-aunt’s birthday party. She joined the families on trips to the sea.

She also learned about the myths and legends of Norway.

“We saw a lot of [toy] trolls,” Fenner said.

She learned about housework in Norway and went fishing for crab.

In addition to all these unique experiences, Fenner said perhaps one of the most interesting things about Norway was the sunlight. Because of its northern location, Norway sees a lot of sun in the summertime.

“I never saw it [completely] dark,” Fenner said. “By the very end of my trip it got a little bit dark around midnight.”

Interning for IBM

Maybe spending a summer working isn’t as interesting as spending it traveling abroad. But how many of us get to work directly in our field of study? For sophomore Chris Schultz, an electrical engineering and computer science double major, IBM was right up his alley.

“I took last semester off and I went over to Rochester and I did an internship over last semester and the summer, working for IBM,” he said.

He learned a lot while testing the operating systems, but not just about computers. He learned about himself.

“A 40-hour week is a lot different than doing school, just how your day goes,” he said. “I hardly had any time to do what I really wanted to do with the day. I learned some kind of time management skills.”

He also learned about the work world. “There’s a lot of decisions that need to be made. It’s a lot more serious atmosphere.”

The job provided Schultz with opportunities for his professional future.

“I have contacts in Rochester now — not just for friendship but also for later on when I’m looking for another job.”

He added, “You hear it all the time: networking, networking, networking.”

Serving in Lake Tahoe

Sophomore Spanish major Heidi Spahr spent her summer scooping ice cream — in Lake Tahoe, Calif.

Although she loved the job, saying “I got as much free ice cream as I wanted,” but that wasn’t the only element of Spahr’s life in Tahoe. She was also serving the community through a summer project with Campus Crusade for Christ.

She explained the set-up of the service. “You get a full-time job out there and you do evangelism in the community, and you do leadership training out there too.”

So from June 7 to Aug. 15, Spahr lived in Lake Tahoe, which she said was a great experience.

“It was the best experience I’ve ever had because, for one thing, you’re living in Lake Tahoe,” she said.

Spahr also loved the summer because of living with 85 other college students there for the same purpose.

“It was just encouraging being around those students. They were just some of the neatest people I’ve ever met,” she said.

She learned a lot from her time in Lake Tahoe.

“My faith was tested in many ways and it just helped me to grow. I’d never gone anywhere by myself before, so it was a good stretching time, to get me out of my comfort zone.”

“What didn’t I learn?” she said. Her lessons included everything from the importance of evangelism to personal characteristics she wants to work on.

Between the service and the scooping of the ice cream, Spahr still had time for fun.

“It was a very adventurous summer–I went cliff jumping and I went on a rope swing where you drop 40 to 50 feet. I climbed mountains and went to the beach.”