Summerville student headed to Peru

  • Tuesday, May 28, 2013

Leslie Cantu/Journal Scene -- Charlotte Holt.

Charlotte Holt was born to travel. A child of the Air Force, she moved 11 times during her childhood, including a couple of stints in Summerville and three years in Belgium.
Having a Finnish mother added another international element, as did summers spent in Finland with extended family.
So when Holt entered Furman University after graduating from Pinewood Prep, she wanted to study international relations.
Furman doesn’t offer that major, but she’s been able to carve out something even better, she said.
A rising senior, she’s a triple major in political science, history and Chinese language with a minor in poverty studies.
Last year, she spent six months in China – eight weeks on a U.S. Department of State intensive study scholarship and the rest of the time in a Furman study-abroad program.
Holt is enthusiastic about her time in China. There was a huge cultural gap that took time and effort to overcome, she said, but it was well worth it to learn to adapt to a different culture.
After spending so much time studying China, she wanted to get a different perspective on the world.
So this summer, she’ll be spending eight weeks in Lima, Peru, working at an orphanage that cares for children and also the elderly and mentally ill who have nowhere else to go.
Spanish is one language she doesn’t speak, so she knows that will be her bigger challenge to start.
“Hopefully I can get over that soon,” she said.
Holt is going to Lima under the auspices of International Volunteer HQ, which sends 4,000 volunteers to 19 countries each year.
Her trip is financed by a scholarship from Furman.
Holt said she’s looking forward to making friends in a new country.
She’ll also be keeping an eye out for her primary study subject – China. China and Peru are building ties through the mining industry, so she’s interested in how China looks from Peru’s perspective, she said.
She’s already mulling writing her senior thesis about the Chinese diaspora, she said.
Holt wants to keep up her traveling ways after graduation. She hopes to go into international NGO (non-governmental organizations) work and intends to apply for the Peace Corps or a Fulbright scholarship.

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