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Amanda’s professors had a significant impact on her life. Professor Rosemary Carbine’s women and religions class inspired her to constructively critique religions from women’s perspectives, through which she realized the importance of lived experiences. Professor Jason Carbine invested in Amanda’s passion for studying Eastern religions and encouraged her to study abroad. Thanks to his support, she traveled to India—and the semester abroad transformed her life. The immersive semester abroad helped Amanda understand the significance religion plays in politics, culture, and people’s experiences.
Now she takes those insights into a job she loves: teaching social justice and world religions to high school seniors. She’s also working on a master’s degree in theology, with a concentration in comparative theology, and her analysis may soon be published
“Religion is the study of people who believe and practice their faith in their lives; thus, studying religion helps us navigate how people articulate their world view and the meanings of our lives.”
Every day in the heart of bustling Taipei, Anders meets students with vastly different life experiences from his own. But halfway around the world, Anders isn’t lost; he knows how to navigate an incredibly diverse and different space, thanks to his preparation at Whittier.
Inherent in Whittier’s approach to education is the value of listening to and understanding a wide variety of viewpoints. Anders’ religious studies professors went beyond theological questions and guided their students through a multifaceted study of religion: how people interact with it, and how it intersects with the world, from politics to the economy to culture to the environment.
Anders was also able to broaden his horizons and more deeply understand the world thanks to short short-term study abroad trips to Myanmar and China. On the other side of the globe, he gained a much greater self-awareness about the forces that shape his world and his life. Both adventures shaped much of Anders trajectory after graduation, and prepared Anders for his graduate-level studies in Taiwan.
“The faculty in Religious Studies really made my experience as amazing as it was… Some of my conversations with them during office hours or after class have been among the most impactful in my life. I always knew I was being taught by people who, aside from being interested themselves in the material, were genuinely interested in the things students had to say or offer, and were invested in seeing us grow in their classes. ”
Jessica, a New Hampshire native, found the small, sunny school she was looking for in Whittier. She also found an education that’s helped her navigate and understand the world she wants to explore and help.
Majoring in religious studies wasn’t limited to learning the details of world religions. Her courses weaved history, philosophy, sociology, and psychology into her studies, giving her a fuller picture of how they all interact in real people’s lives. Equipped with this nuanced understanding of where people are coming from, Jessica traveled to Nepal to broaden her experiences and, during a follow-up trip, to contribute to their rebuilding efforts after a devastating earthquake.
Now working on her master’s degree in social justice and human rights, Jessica hopes to help refugees on a grassroots level, within their communities—listening, learning their needs, and helping them reach their goals.
"Choose a place you would least expect to go in your life for your study abroad semester. You won’t regret it and will learn so much."