Pilgrimage Conference at William & Mary

by Marcus Stewart on October 7, 2016

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Pictured above (from left to right): Matthew Johnson ’19, Olivia Contakes ’18, Rebecca Thomson ’19, Sidney Rhyne ‘1(9

On September 30th, a group of students from the Camino de Santiago May term travelled to the College of William and Mary to present at the 2016 Annual Symposium for Pilgrimage Studies. The presentation was focused on the connections the students made while walking the Camino de Santiago, an ancient and modernized pilgrimage route from St. Jean Pied de Port in France to Santiago de Compostela in Spain. The group consisted of Olivia Contakes, Kendall (Sidney) Rhyne, Rebecca Thompson, Matthew Johnson, and their professor Dr. Talbot. Olivia and Sidney were able to talk about their experience walking the Camino and their presentation at William and Mary.
Sidney noted the May term was a very different way of learning.

“We were walking a pilgrimage and stopping at churches, and other important places to learn about along our journey. We learned about history, architecture and Spanish culture along the way.”

Sidney’s presentation at William and Mary focused on the graffiti along the Camino. Olivia focused on her experience making friends with other pilgrims on the trail.
Both Olivia and Sidney enjoyed their time presenting what they learned abroad.

Olivia: “The narrow focus of Pilgrimage at the conference ensured that my classmates and I were surrounded with like-minded scholars who could learn from our talks, as well as we could learn from their presentations. After our panel spoke, the audience eagerly participated in the open-floor question period. We were then able to speak to our collective experience as a group. During the reception, my peers and I spoke with a group of students from Christopher Newport University who had walked the Camino with their professor. We spent about 45 minutes gleefully comparing our perspectives of the Way”.
Sidney: “It was nice to sit in on other people’s sessions and hear what they had to talk about, and most of the people there were experts in the field of pilgrimage. I thought it was pretty cool that we were some of the youngest presenters at this symposium”.

Olivia and Sidney encourage any student to take advantage of the research opportunities at Roanoke

Olivia: “Volunteering to work with Dr. Talbot and to speak at the conference has been so fulfilling. I’d encourage anyone with even a slight passion for a topic they’re studying to take any opportunity for research with RC”.
Sidney: “It is a great experience and you learn a lot in the process.”

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