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Emily Cole, '13

Emily Cole, '13Emily Cole, a recent 2013 graduate and an economics major from Pataskala, Ohio, chose Muskingum because “in the end… that’s where I felt most comfortable. …It was a small, friendly community of people. I was offered scholarships that made it affordable, and I liked that I was away from home but not so far that I couldn’t drive home if I needed to.

As a student, Emily was involved in Student Senate, eventually serving as Vice President. She was also the president of the Philosophy Club.

Emily knew she wanted to study abroad during college, and she wanted “a unique cultural experience.” Although Muskingum University has exchange programs all over the world, Emily did her research and chose to study in Cameroon, Africa, where Muskingum does not offer an exchange program. (Muskingum University encourages all students to study abroad, whether they participate in short-term, faculty-led programs, exchange programs, or non-exchange programs.  All credits transfer as long as the students’ participation is pre-approved through the Study Abroad Office.)

During her time abroad, Emily studied Pidgin (the local language), learned to cook Cameroonian dishes, learned the movements of a Bakwarian tribal dance, and had the opportunity to attend both a traditional funeral service and a wedding – both important cultural mores. “Countless things have happened that I never would have expected, but the things that surprised me, that’s what made this trip so interesting.”

Emily spent four months in Cameroon this spring and summer, during which time she studied at the University of Buea in a program focused on community development in Cameroon. She took classes in the Agriculture Department to “better understand farming in developing countries.” Additionally, Emily volunteered with Trees for the Future, a nonprofit training Cameroonian farmers in sustainable agroforestry techniques. I work alongside the nonprofit’s director to develop, implement, and evaluate sustainable agriculture initiatives to not only improve the livelihoods of small-scale farmers.”

Emily returned to the U.S. in July to take a position as an Americorps volunteer at Jones Valley Teaching Farm in Birmingham, Alabama.