ALMA — Lydia Miller’s passport is filling up fast.
Miller, a senior from Mount Pleasant, has traveled to 16 countries on four continents during her time at Alma. Much of this travel abroad came through the college’s Venture Program, which provides funding for every student to pursue an internship, clinical experience, research, or other out-of-the-classroom experience.
“I love how many unique opportunities Alma has given me that I wouldn’t be able to get from any large school,” said Miller. “For example, internships within the school, close work with professors, athletics, travel opportunities, and hands-on work in classes.”
Miller, a new media studies and business administration double-major, traveled to Italy, Croatia, Bosnia and Herzegovina, Montenegro and Malta as part of a course in backpack filmmaking in Spring Term 2019.
Spring Term is a unique feature of Alma, which takes advantage of the college’s 4-4-1 academic calendar to give students the opportunity to focus on one course topic for the entire month of May. These courses often involve distinctive teaching styles used, skills developed or enhanced, or other learning experiences.
Miller said her trip — her first outside the United States — was beneficial to her understanding of other cultures and how to document them.
“This course helped me step out of my comfort zone and interact with students I didn’t know at all before the trip. By the end, we were all super close and had a great bond,” Miller said.
Miller has also participated in a Semester at Sea, offered through the Institute for Shipboard Education nonprofit organization. While the program is unaffiliated with Alma College, Miller said staff and faculty helped fit the trip into her college schedule.
“Through the Semester at Sea, I was able to go to Europe, Africa, Central America and South America,” Miller said. “This was one of the greatest opportunities of my life — immersing myself in every culture by participating in homestays and taking part in activities that were unique to each country.”
Miller doesn’t just document her experiences abroad. She can also be found with a camera in hand on campus. She has worked for Bitworks, the student-run media production company, and as an intern in the college’s Communication and Marketing Office, helping tell the story of Alma College.
She’s also been known to trade in her camera for a lacrosse stick, as a member of the college’s women’s lacrosse team. Through this experience, Miller said, she has bonded with her teammates through volunteerism.
“We have won the Intercollegiate Women’s Lacrosse Coaches Association Division 3 Team Community Awareness award twice; we have been No. 3 in NCAA Division 3 community service hours and have won the Coach Brown Memorial Award for three years in a row by being the team with the most community service hours on campus,” Miller said. “These awards mean a lot to us, because they show our connection to the community we serve.”
Miller is unsure of her exact plans for after college, but one thing is for certain: Thanks to her experiences at Alma, she is bound to feel comfortable no matter where the road takes her.
“I have been prepared for the future by being well-networked, whether that be with professors, alumni, guest speakers that I’ve witnessed, or people I’ve met at career fairs. I have ample experience in the job field that I want to work in through internships, jobs, and real-world experiences in my classes.”