Gustavus Student Documents Study Abroad Experience with Podcasts

Posted on January 26th, 2009 by

Greg Boone (Photo by Chen Mengxing)

Greg Boone (Photo by Chen Mengxing)

When Gustavus Adolphus College senior Greg Boone decided to study abroad in Zhuhai, China during this year’s Fall Semester, he wanted to figure out a way to document his experience and continue to be involved with the College’s radio station, KGSM.

With the help of the College’s marketing and communication office, Boone was given the funding and necessary equipment to capture his experience in China on a series of ten podcasts.

“I asked myself how I could capture the study abroad experience in a different way,” Boone said. “There’s something audio can capture that is more intimate than a blog or a photo diary.”

In an episode that focused on the differences in social behavior in China compared to the United States, Boone said, “It seems like everywhere I go, people are excited to see me, almost overly excited, to get to know me, learn about me, my home country and what I am doing in China. How long have I been here? When am I leaving? What is my major? Do I play sports? Which is always followed up with “Basketball?” regardless of how I answer.”

In a later podcast, Boone reflects on his time in China and looks forward to returning home.

“I leave China in just over three weeks — leaving behind a country and community that has changed my life in just over three months to go back to the United States, to the real Americana I have so genuinely missed here — with a renewed, refreshed, and regenerated sense of self, ready to take on whatever life throws at me next.”

The podcasts, or audio diaries, can be heard in their entirety online at

Boone was a strong candidate to carry out the podcast project because of his experience working at KGSM. The senior has been involved with the station since his freshman year and has transformed the station from a glorified jukebox to a respectable source of news and information for the on-campus community.

“I’ve tried to make KGSM something that the whole campus could appreciate,” Boone said. “This podcast was one way to make KGSM a more recognized organization on campus.”

Last year, while serving as the station’s general manager, Boone covered the College’s annual Building Bridges Conference and produced the station’s first major documentary in the wake of the conference. Boone also addressed news and current events by bringing in political candidates for interviews over the station’s airwaves.

While the podcasts from China were beneficial to the radio station, they also benefitted Boone on a personal level. According to Boone, preparing for the podcasts not only improved his writing skills, but forced him to think deeply and seriously about what he was experiencing in a foreign land.

“It allowed me to evaluate my experience in a way that I don’t think I would have been able to otherwise,” Boone said.

Boone is now back in Minnesota and will resume a normal academic schedule during the spring semester, however, he is now committed to making sure that the podcasts will be an ongoing project at Gustavus.

“Now that we have the equipment I’m going to make sure that someone will be able and prepared to do the same thing next year when they study abroad.”


Media Contact: Director of Media Relations and Internal Communication JJ Akin


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