All posts by Christian Schaaf

Lancaster County to Dunedin, New Zealand

Olivia Gerstenbacher sits in the BSC which is located at the center of Elizabethtown College’s campus.

Elizabethtown, Pa. – Olivia Gerstenbacher has always dreamed of traveling outside of the country, but she has never had the opportunity to fulfill this goal. The idea of studying abroad has forever sparked Gerstenbacher’s interest, and the time for her to chase her dream has finally arrived.

Gerstenbacher, a Pittsgrove New Jersey native and an Elizabethtown College junior majoring in psychology and minoring in biology and cognitive science, is finally getting the chance to travel to a new country.

Elizabethtown Encourages Studying Abroad

Olivia Gerstenbacher is ready to embark on a new journey as she prepares to travel abroad to Dunedin, New Zealand next semester. She will study abroad at the University of Otago.

While abroad, Gerstenbacher will live in a flat, which is an apartment-style living space. She will live with other international students who are also studying abroad.

Gerstenbacher is very thankful for the abundant number of opportunities that Elizabethtown College has offered, and she appreciates the strong relationships she has formed at the college.

“I love how the small student body fosters really close and personal relationships with a lot of people,” Gerstenbacher stated. “Going along with that, I love the relationships that are formed with professors.”

Gerstenbacher noted that these close relationships with her fellow students and professors encouraged her to seize the opportunity of studying abroad.

The Elizabethtown junior is remarkably excited to travel to Dunedin, but the nervous jitters are also setting in as she begins to prepare for this tremendous trip.

“I have never been out of the country and have never been on a plane,” Gerstenbacher said. “But I am so excited to have the opportunity to become integrated in a culture outside of my own.”

Passion For Nature and Education

Gerstenbacher has started to investigate the unique locations she can visit while abroad, and she is eager to experience the bountiful hiking opportunities in New Zealand.

“I love hiking, any outdoors activities and trail seeking,” Gerstenbacher exclaimed. “I have hiked all over Pennsylvania, and I have been to places like the Whiterocks Trail, Pinnacle Point, and a lot of the Appalachian trail heads.”

Hiking is one of Gerstenbacher’s favorite hobbies, and she wants to explore Roy’s Peak while in Dunedin.

“I am so excited for all of the outdoor opportunities,” Gerstenbacher said. “I want to witness the landscapes that I have never seen before and go on multiple-day hiking excursions.”

Along with hiking, Gerstenbacher is enrolled in four classes at the University of Otago. She will be taking marine ecology, statistics, comparative cognition, and developmental psychology. She is most thrilled to be enrolled in marine ecology because this is a subject that has interested her since her childhood.

“I will have marine ecology class sessions outside on the beach,” Gerstenbacher stated. “They have an incredible outdoor lab on the shore so the students can get hands-on experience with the marine wildlife.” 

Besides the marine ecology course, Gerstenbacher is also eager to take comparative cognition. This class will compare different species and question if other animals possess consciousness.

The Elizabethtown junior leaves for the University of Otago on Feb. 4 and will reside there for the entire semester until June 18.

Olivia Gerstenbacher is extremely grateful and ready to fully embrace New Zealand as she ventures on this trip of a lifetime.  

Megan Thompson’s Deciding Factor: Why Etown?

Megan Thompson, a sophomore bio-allied health major, smiles before her interview.

Olivia Gaughan, Kate Bixler, Christian Schaaf

Megan Thompson, a New Jersey native, is a sophomore bio-allied health major at Elizabethtown College. Below is a transcript of Thompson’s interview.

Olivia: “Hi, could you state your name for me?”

Megan: “Megan Thompson.”

Olivia: “Thank you. Why did you choose Etown?”

Megan: “I chose Etown because it’s very similar to my high school. It’s not too small and it’s not too big that I feel like I would get lost in the community, and I really liked the way that everybody treated me when I first came.”

Olivia: “And what clubs or extracurriculars are you involved in on campus?”

Megan: “I’m in Colleges Against Cancer, I co-manage the wrestling team and I’m part of the peer mentoring program.”

Olivia: “What is your favorite thing about Etown?”

Megan: “I love the community of Etown um I love how easy it is to get to know the people and meet new people.”

Cece Sadek: Her Roots and College Life

Olivia Gaughan, Kate Bixler, Christian Schaaf

This video is an interview of Cece Sadek, a sophomore social work major at Elizabethtown College. Below is a transcript of Sadek’s interview.

“Hi guys! My name is Cece Sadek and I’m a second-year student here at Elizabethtown College. I major in social work and I double minor in art and family business. Originally, I’m from the Middle East in the Gaza Strip, but I have been living in Lancaster for the past ten years which is how I came to find Elizabethtown College. Coming here, the transition was really easy because of how welcoming and the sense of belonging that like radiates and surrounds this campus. It helps you like join other clubs on campus and like be able to feel as if you belong. So, on campus I’m involved in a few things: I’m a DJ for our radio show here as you can see like this where we are. I’m also an RA and just like involved in a lot of things around campus. So yeah, it’s helped me feel as if I belong here and this is my home.”

Freshman Ready to Fly

Hannah Sohn stands in the BSC located on Elizabethtown College’s campus.

Olivia Gaughan, Kate Bixler, Christian Schaaf

This interview is of Hannah Sohn. Sohn is a freshman psychology major from Mechanicsburg, Pennsylvania.

“I value kindness. I like when people treat each other with respect. It makes the world a better place. I value honesty and justice a lot. I like to run, draw, paint, exercise, shop and be with people. I laugh at everything; it’s really bad. I remember my roommate and I, Kaylin, at night we get so giggly. We played bean boozled and she gagged so loud you could hear it from down the hallway. Funny nights with my roommate when we’re both going crazy are the best nights. Her mom sends care packages for us both. She gave us 13 gifts to open every day and they always make us smile. It’s just fun stuff like that.”

“I love Elizabethtown College because I feel like the people are very welcoming and approachable, even the people in town are so nice. I really like the area. There are a lot of fun, little things to do in town. I don’t know, I just like farm areas and small towns.”

“Survivor” Season 39: A New and Impactful Twist

Mamanuca Islands, Fiji – The 39th installment of “Survivor” titled “Island of the Idols” premiered on September 25, 2019. This unique and unfamiliar theme introduces a new level to the reality television show as the game continues to become more intricate and demanding.  

“Survivor” places a group of strangers in an isolated location where they must provide food, fire and shelter for themselves as they compete to win $1 million.

The castaways are split into different tribes to compete in a series of challenges for rewards and immunity from elimination. If a tribe loses a challenge, they are sent to Tribal Council where they must vote off one of their tribemates.

Usually around the halfway point of the game, the tribes merge into one large tribe. Any person eliminated after the merge and before the finale becomes part of the jury.

The contestants play “Survivor” for 39 days, and when three individuals remain, each person explains to the jury why they should be given the prize money.

At the final Tribal Council, the power rests in the hands of the jury members who cast a vote for the contestant they believe deserves the money and the title of “Sole Survivor.”

Since its original broadcast in 2000, “Survivor” has dramatically evolved. The game has introduced immunity idols which are pocket-sized necklaces that protect a contestant from being voted out at Tribal Council.

The reality show has also introduced a series of different themes each season.

“Island of the Idols” features two past legendary winners who return to the game as mentors living on a separate island from the rest of the cast. The two returnees are Sandra Diaz-Twine, winner of the seventh and 20th seasons of “Survivor,” and “Boston Rob” Mariano, winner of the 22nd season.  

Throughout this season, one or two castaways are sent to the “Island of the Idols” every week where Diaz-Twine and Mariano offer the contestants a chance to win an immunity idol in the game as they teach the competitors a specific lesson that can improve their gameplay.  

If the castaway succeeds, they are given an immunity idol which can prevent them from being eliminated. However, if the competitor fails, they would lose their vote at their next Tribal Council. 

This new twist adds another level of complexity to the game as the 20 contestants are not aware that Diaz-Twine and Mariano are living on a separate island in Fiji.

Watching the contestants’ reactions who visit the “Island of the Idols” is truly priceless as they are completely shocked to see the two mentors on the island. The pure excitement and whirlwind of emotions experienced by the contestants allow the viewers to form a connection with each player.

The different lessons that are presented to the contestants every week also allow the audience to learn about the complicated realm of social skills that are vital to success in “Survivor.” Viewers are drawn to the various layers of strategy, and the audience can gain knowledge of the elaborate gameplay that encompasses “Survivor.”  

The “Island of the Idols” theme allows for a break in regular gameplay as the viewers witness what unfolds on this separate island. It’s almost like two games are occurring simultaneously. 

This energetic and upbeat season has featured secrets, backstabbing, blindsides, tribe swaps and an abundant amount of drama.

Tune into “Island of the Idols” every Wednesday night at 8 p.m. on CBS until the live season finale of “Survivor” on December 18, 2019 to see who will outwit, outplay, and outlast their fellow castaways.