Opinion: The importance of experiential learning

From left, starting with the back row: Amy Ringer, Jeffrey Ringer, Peggy Worthen, President Kevin J Worthen, Vice President Sandra Rogers, Megan Adamson, Rachel Keeler, Lauren Schofield, Sara Jane Aubrey. (Steve Fidel)

President Kevin J Worthen emphasized the importance of experiential learning by stating that some of the most important learning experiences happen outside of a formal classroom setting.

I have had the opportunity to travel and live abroad and I can’t stress enough how crucial it is to get out of the classroom and experience other cultures firsthand. The moment you take a step out of your comfort zone, out of your home country, learning truly happens.

Students can learn math, write, speak a different language and engage in other scholarly aspects of schooling in a classroom. But love for culture can’t be taught. Love for people can’t be taught. These aspects of life must be experienced firsthand.

I am an undergraduate studying journalism and anthropology at BYU. I went on a study abroad to French Polynesia and China this spring term with the School of Communications and it gave me an even better perspective about why I chose the major I did.

I was able to experience two very different cultures. In Tahiti, I ate raw fish; swam with stingrays; learned to husk, crack open, and cut coconuts; and made leaf hats. In China, I ate super spicy food, hiked the Great Wall, attended the BYU Spectacular, and saw cultural sites.

I was also able to meet a variety of people. Each person had such different stories to share. Through listening to their stories, I learned that sometimes life takes you down a different path than you thought. I learned about patience and love. I learned that storytelling is an important part of culture.

All of these experiences have given me a greater perspective on life. I am more open-minded and my reporting abilities have improved because of that.

Through these opportunities, I am able to affirm that President Worthen is right to emphasize and encourage learning outside of the classroom. I will offer two pieces of advice: one, actively look for ways to travel abroad and, two, while you’re abroad, try new things! It’s a once-in-a-lifetime experience that will change your life if you let it.

—Rachel Keeler
Daily Universe Senior Reporter

Print Friendly, PDF & Email