As a high school student Benjamin Craig's motto was, "Here's my plate, load it on." He brought that mentality with him to Emmanuel, where he has always been ready to take on a new opportunity.
When Jamie transferred to Emmanuel after attending a different institution, he did so, he said, because he'd have the ability to pursue both of his passions: international studies and photography.
"Emmanuel gave me the flexibility to fit those two areas into my course of study and choose which classes I could take based on my interest in those subjects," Jamie said.
In addition to having the ability to pursue two different academic programs, Jamie was also focused on finding a school with class sizes in which he would be able to really engage with his classmates and professors.
"Not only are the academics flexible, engaging and motivating, but the size of the school helps with academics. I knew that attending Emmanuel, I would be able to get the guidance and support I needed and make personal connections."
Through small classes and a personalized education, faculty get to know students and their goals and interests, which opens doors to opportunities such as internships and study abroad.
During the summer between his sophomore and junior year at Emmanuel, Jamie embarked on a month-long journey to Greece through a travel course within the College's Eastern Mediterranean Security Studies Program. While abroad, Jamie took courses such as "Geopolitics and Democracy" and "Statecraft and Globalization," all while being immersed in Greek culture.
"I have always wanted to see the world and experience different cultures and people," Jamie said. "I decided that participating in this program would give me a little bit of that, and also allow me to earn some credits while I was overseas."
Some of the program's highlights included presentations from military and policy experts, educational visits to historical and archaeological sites, museum tours, various cultural experiences, and excursions throughout the island of Crete, as well as special visits to Athens, Santorini and Rhodes. Trips such as these really enabled Jamie to put his photography minor to work.
"Another factor that prompted me to go abroad was the reputation of the program and the professor who leads it, Dr. Petros Vamvakas, who is from Greece," Jamie said. "I also talked with people who previously went on the trip, and they only had positive things to say."
Although Jamie did not have a specific interest in the politics and culture of the Mediterranean prior to traveling to Crete, he has since developed a thorough interest in the area and the Sea's economic and cultural importance to the countries concentrated in that area. In the time that he spent abroad, Jamie quickly learned the value that immersing himself in the culture of another country or region could have.
"The advice that I would give students who want to go abroad or do any sort of global study is to take that opportunity," Jamie said. "Traveling abroad changes one's perspective on how they live, where they live, and opens their eyes to new cultures and people."
Being an international studies major with a concentration in sustainability and global justice, Jamie witnessed firsthand the impact that broadening his perspectives could have on his own education as well as that of his peers.
"I think that it is important for college students to gain a global perspective because the world is only going to become more connected. In studying abroad, you're able to make connections and relationships with people that you may have never thought you would."