Until Next Time, Oaxaca!

At Luther, we have a great global story to tell. This blog, in part, gives it voice!

In October 2019, the Institute of International Education released its annual Open Doors Report. Luther was ranked #9 of all baccalaureate institutions in the country for the number of students studying abroad on short-term duration programs.

During J-Term 2020, 243 students and 26 program leaders will participate in one of Luther's 14 courses around the globe. This blog is about more than numbers, though. Its purpose is to provide glimpses into our students’ experiences as they live out an important component of the college’s mission—to move us into a larger world.

So, take a look at the course descriptions, review the itineraries, and learn about our leaders. But most importantly, follow along as our J-Term students experience a much larger world.

Featured Course Posts

Hey, everyone! My name is Ella Sneltjes and I’m a sophomore at Luther studying Communication and Spanish. When I’m not studying, I spend a fair amount of time in Jenson Noble playing in both the Concert band and Jazz Orchestra. When I’m not in Jenson Noble, I’m probably with my ultimate frisbee team at a meal, practicing, or just hanging out. Luther has blessed me with some wonderful communities!

Yesterday we went on our last excursion to a town called Tlacolula to visit one of the biggest Sunday markets in close proximity to Oaxaca City. Our group had about two hours to explore the market which we thought would be more than enough time but we soon realized that in order to see and experience every part of the market, we’d probably need about a whole day. The variety of venders, colors, artesans, food, and people there was incredible. In my opinion, the best thing about this market was being able to interact with all of the different venders. I think being able to communicate well in any language is one of the most important things. It was so fun being able to use what we learned in the past month to have genuine interactions in a language that isn’t our first.

Today marked our last day of classes at the institute with our professor, Patricia. Since the first day of class, she was nothing but caring and helpful. As I talked to a few of my classmates this past week, we all agreed that the amount of knowledge we gained in this singular month with Patricia was substantial. Everybody came into this trip wanting to try and experience different things but above it all, everybody came in with a desire to better their Spanish speaking and comprehension skills. We were so fortunate to have had classes with Patricia because while class was pretty difficult some days, she helped us to understand the language a little better, which in turn, sent us out of Oaxaca with a little more confidence to read, write and speak the language.

We ended our last day with a group dinner in “El Centro”, which was fitting because “El Centro” was where we spent a lot of our free time shopping and finding authentic food throughout the course of our trip. It was so fun to look around the table at the other students and at our two professors and think about the incredible journey we had completed together. Although we all went on the same trip, it’s cool to think that everybody had their own adventure while here and everybody will take their own slice of Oaxaca home with them to share with family and friends. As we enjoyed our last meal together, it was great to hear little tidbits of stories and highlights of everybody's journey here in Oaxaca. It was a joyous, yet bittersweet evening to end our trip.

The liveliness, beauty and color in this city have amazed me since the first day we arrived. I think that the slice of Oaxaca that I will bring home with me is the knowledge and awareness of how lovely this city is and how lovely the people are here. Standing at the steps of the Santa Domingo and seeing the mountains peer over the colorful buildings while children run around giggling, and seeing couples quietly converse on the benches while they watch everything that’s going on around them is just one image that will stick in my mind. Our group was nothing short of lucky to be apart of something like this.

Until Next Time, Oaxaca!


Nieves from a shop at the market, the perfect refreshing treat after a long day of shopping!
Just one of the many beautiful Oaxacan sunsets.
The tapetes in this shop were made into ponchos for children.
The colorful buildings perfectly frame the view of the mountains.