Summers Overseas

by Lindsay McMillan

As students rush to get final papers turned in and study for exams, Chapman’s campus turns into a frenzy of anticipation. With the coming of summer, students exchange their plans and look forward to a break from academic responsibilities. Yet amidst the library’s end of the year commotion, one of Chapman’s international students anxiously plans his return flight to Orange from his home in Norway for the end of July.

“Going home to Norway is something I look forward to,” said sophomore screen acting major Philip Pedersen, “But when I’m at Chapman I really feel like I’m here for such a purpose, for my career.”

For some of Chapman’s international students, returning to school in the fall is especially meaningful. In an effort to further pursue a career, Chapman students Pederson and sophomore business administration major Piyush Choubey have noticed a deeper appreciation for their summer jobs and the eagerness to return to Chapman in the fall.

Continuing to gain further skills and experience towards a career by cultivating creativity in their cultural backgrounds, these international students have noticed a heightened motivation for the school year to begin again. As a result, they have become more aware of the idea of global citizenship and the effect it has on their higher education.

As part of Chapman’s mission statement, the goal is to enrich and promote “inquiring, ethical, and productive lives as global citizens.” Students come from all over the United States and at least 63 other countries, bringing also unique experiences and backgrounds.

 “I’ve been talking about moving to Los Angeles since I was 10 years old, after my small role in Agent Cody Banks 2,” Pedersen said, “Especially when I found out they don’t have a B.F.A. in screen acting as a major at any other school in the world.”

Pedersen was born in Bergen, Norway, but moved to London when his father’s job was relocated. After meeting an international advisor from Chapman at his high school, Pedersen decided to pursue acting near the heart of the industry –Los Angeles.

“Being at Chapman and in California has motivated and inspired my acting a ton,” said Pederson, “but going home for the summer forces me to understand and adapt to the creativity of another culture and be able to take what I’ve learned back to school.”

In the past, Pedersen has returned to Norway for the summer, working in an ice cream shop or as a bellboy at a hotel. However this summer, Pedersen will be interning with an acting program in London, anticipating his courses in the coming fall.

“I’m excited to work a little in one country and continue studying in another,” said Pedersen, “because I feel like I think more critically, just about culture and the dynamic of people in their environments.”

As Pedersen reflects on the balance of his two homes, he mentions how a few of his international friends have also discussed the appreciation of experiencing different cultures. Like Pedersen, sophomore business administration major Piyush Choubey looks forward to summers at home in Kolkata, India, as a balance of culture makes for a refreshing start to a new school year.

Sophomore business administration major Piyush Choubey and the rest of his dance crew Fullstop in India.
Sophomore business administration major Piyush Choubey and the rest of his dance crew Fullstop in India.

“This summer I’ll be interning in Kolkata at an export company and planning my career as an entrepreneur,” Choubey said, “But I’ll be coming back two to three weeks before school even starts so I can have some time here before classes begin.”

 After learning that the business school at Chapman is one of the top up and coming ones in the country, Choubey decided to pursue a major in business administration. All the while, he has stayed involved in a dance crew called Fullstop back in India.

Last summer, Choubey worked in India with the Fullstop crew, choreographing sets for the upcoming year and teaching dance to high school students. After winning a competition in Bombay during the fall, the Fullstop crew was announced number one in the country. Alongside choreographing new sets of their own, the group taught and choreographed dances for some of the top high schools in India; one of them being the high school that Choubey attended.

“Each team won first place in their respective competitions,” said Choubey, “it’s rewarding and inspiring to come back to Chapman with those experiences.”

As an international student, Choubey notices the benefit to understanding and working with people of various backgrounds. In an attempt to nurture his creativity, Choubey uses summer as an opportunity to foster varying stylistic choices and ideas. Since his summer work in Kolkata, he is also considering a minor in music, hoping to continue work on various planes of interest.  

While summer is at once a chance for students to revisit their cultural backgrounds, it is also an opportunity to develop a deeper understanding of how culture inspires work. As students continue to work towards a career, the development of their global citizenship is inextricable from their experiences overseas. Making home in more than one place is perhaps the foundation of pursuing a more worldly work ethic. 

+ posts