International Relations Major
History and Economics Minor
As an international relations major, with a history and economics minor,
Jessica Wise says studying abroad provides an opportunity to learn
more about the way the world works, to see things through different eyes,
absorb a foreign culture and have a lot of fun.
Wise spent the better part of her junior year at the School for International Training (SIT) in Ireland.
"I was really interested in the peace and conflict aspect of the Ireland program. My family is from Ireland, and although I initially wanted to follow a different path, I was really drawn to do this, so I followed through."
The field base program, headquartered in Dublin, is not about sitting in a classroom. "We were out there meeting and connecting with community leaders."
An additional required independent study project, at Queen's University in Belfast, had Wise staying in Belfast for one month. "My interest is conflict resolution. I did a case study on a cross community group that brings kids together from North Belfast."
With approximately 30 percent of the deaths from the Northern Ireland conflict from North Belfast, Wise says that most of the kids were exposed to the conflict or knew someone who was exposed. "Conflict lasts generations. That is why you need cross cultural groups."
Wise pointed out that although the initial IRA does not exist today, there are still paramilitaries that have control after the 30 year conflict that took more than 3,500 lives.
Knox College was not something Wise found. It has been a part of her whole life, she says. "Both of my parents went to school here. My mom is from a family of six, and four of those six that came to Knox. And of those four, three met their spouse at Knox."
She plans on taking the LSATs later this year and applying for Teach for America. "Teach for America will be a challenge. Then maybe law school or teaching. There are too many other things I randomly want to do."
Self described as antsy, Wise says she is ready to move on to her next adventure. "There are a lot of immediate rewards with Teach for America. You have to learn how to work in the moment when dealing with kids. You get a sense of accomplishment, and you are giving to the greater good."
Being away from Knox made Wise appreciate it more. "I like the one-on-one and small classroom environment at Knox, but I think going abroad, you mature even more. You get away from the rhythm of life, and come back ready to apply what you learned." Besides her academic accomplishments, Wise is the captain of the Knox Prairie Fire tennis team, and has been a member of the team all four years at Knox. She also contributes to the local Literacy Coalition in Galesburg.