IN THIS ISSUEAlumni Reunion Celebration – A Photo Essay
Meet a Student
Liisa Burk visited the pyramids of Giza among other places in Egypt.
Liisa Burk doesn’t just visit foreign countries on her study abroad trips. She makes an effort to learn the language and blend in with the culture.
Last fall when she spent the semester in Cairo, she learned Arabic so she could converse with fellow students in Egypt. “A good many people did speak English, but some of the taxi drivers didn’t know English very well,” Burk said.
She took language classes and then a refresher Arabic course at Winthrop when she returned for the spring in an effort to learn more about Middle Eastern culture.
This summer, Burk will spend a month in Costa Rica taking Spanish classes. The sociology major is minoring in Spanish.
Her goal is to work in government overseas or to use her sociology degree in international work. Expertise in either language is viewed as a plus when applying for the type of jobs she plans to seek after graduating in December.
She pinpoints her interest in living abroad to an international politics class taught by Chris Van Aller of the Department of Political Science.
In Cairo, Burk lived in a military hotel with other female students. She didn’t wear a head cover, or hijab, but did have to dress more conservatively and wear her hair up to adapt to conservative Muslim ways.
She also had to grow accustomed to the Muslin call to prayer five times a day, which could be heard from almost anywhere in the city.
In Costa Rica, a small Winthrop group will be there from June 28-July 30. “I will be taking a conversation and a composition class,” Burk said. “We will be in San Pedro, right near San Jose. Another friend I have is going to Costa Rica through another program, and we plan to travel around on weekends.”
Liisa at a Glance
Major/Minor: Sociology with an emphasis in criminology, Spanish minor
High School: Fort Dorchester, North Charleston, S.C.
Campus/Community Activities: Alpha Omega, Pi Gamma Mu (international honor society in social sciences) and Alpha Kappa Delta (international sociology honor society)
Future Plans: Possibly graduate school and definitely more traveling
Most embarrassing travel memory in Cairo: “At the military hotel, I didn't realize that there were weddings in the lobby every night. The first night we moved in, I needed to go downstairs for a meeting we were having and didn't know my way around the hotel. So I walked down one set of stairs and ended up running into the bride, who was getting ready to walk into her ceremony. She wasn't too happy about that, and from then on out, we usually took the elevators at night.”