A Life Changing Experience

Author: Malcolm McDowell Woods

Published Date: 1/7/2020

Categories: Alumni Cross-Cultural Experience F1RST Magazine F1RST Spring 2020 Graphic Communication Photography


Marissa Garretto
Marissa Garretto ’17

Like other Carroll students, Marissa Garretto ’17 gained a lot from her cross-cultural experience (CCE). These trips are a critical piece of a Carroll education, designed to provide students with an immersive introduction to a culture which differs from their own.

For her CCE, Garretto spent two weeks in Japan, exploring how that culture artfully balances tradition and modernism. Many students describe their CCEs as truly transformational opportunities—by experiencing and navigating a foreign culture, the lessons learned can be as much about themselves as the land and people they are observing.

Garretto, who had long been interested in anime and other aspects of Japanese culture, discovered a yearning to learn even more about Japanese life. “I learned a lot on that trip about myself, Japan and America,” she said. “Just like anywhere, there are good things and bad things about Japan. It was wonderful to see how things can be done differently. The CCE opened the door to learning about another culture I was only semi familiar with. The CCE was too short, though, and all I could think about was how to get back to Japan. It left me wanting to learn more.”

So, she went back. Garretto, a graphic communication and photography major at Carroll, put her career in graphic design on hold and is currently spending a year or so living in Japan, teaching English. 

“The CCE left (me) with wanting to go back to Japan. Moving to Japan seemed like the best way to do it! Without the CCE, I think it would have been much harder to make the decision to do this program.”

Learn more about Marissa's CCE in Japan

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