Alumni spotlight: Tracy St. John travels the world

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Alumni spotlight: Tracy St. John travels the world

Tracy St. John with a child in Chiang Mai, Thailand.

Tracy St. John with a child in Chiang Mai, Thailand.

Submitted by Tracy St. John

Tracy St. John with a child in Chiang Mai, Thailand.

Submitted by Tracy St. John

Submitted by Tracy St. John

Tracy St. John with a child in Chiang Mai, Thailand.


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Wanderlust; often defined as having a strong desire for or impulse to wander or travel and explore the world.

This definition is the epitome of Ashland University alumnus Tracy St. John who has seen 29 countries. A 2012 graduate with a degree in Early Childhood Education, AU became the place where adventure and travel meant something for St. John.

“I grew a lot as a person, I’m more confident in my personality and my abilities as a person and as a teacher, of what I’m able to do and how I’m able to help people,” St. John said.

It all started at AU when she took the opportunity of a lifetime and went on a Semester at Sea trip. According to their website, Semester at Sea is a multi-country study abroad program on a ship open to all students of all majors, emphasizing global comparative study.

This particular trip granted St. John the ability to see Canada, Italy, Croatia, Bosnia, Greece, Turkey, Egypt and Morocco. St. John said that she lived on a converted cruise ship for about two and a half months while taking college courses with students from all over the country.

This study abroad trip sparked her desire to continue to travel the world after college.

However, her story of traveling goes as far back as when she was one-year-old. St. John’s mother is originally from Mexico and the rest of her family still lives in Mexico, which meant lots of trips when she was young.

Submitted by Tracy St. John
Tracy St. John rides an elephant at an elephant camp in Thailand.

“I was on a plane for the first time when I was a year old going to visit my grandparents in Mexico,” St. John said. “I have just kind of been going ever since.”

Fast-forward to later in her life, St. John was also involved in a number of organizations and groups during her time as an undergrad. She was a member of Alpha Delta Pi and is currently still involved with the chapter as an advisor.

St. John was also involved in the Newman Catholic campus ministries, community care (community service organization), a photographer for the Collegian newspaper and Habitat for Humanity which allowed her to go on three mission trips to Georgia.

“It’s (service) been something I’ve been drawn to,” St. John said. “I was in eighth grade when I went on my first big mission trip and after that I just kind of spent a lot of time doing that kind of stuff.”

After her time at Ashland University, despite her vow never to settle down in Ashland, St. John got a local job at St. Edwards Catholic School where she taught the elementary level for three years.

“It’s always a goal of mine to have my students, no matter their age, understand that there is more in life than where they’re at,” St. John said. “I want them to understand that there are many opportunities out there.”

St. John’s post-college traveling journey really began when she then took a teaching position in Taiwan for a year.

“I lived there for a year teaching English. I had about 650 students, they were all native Chinese speakers, and I lived out in the country amongst the rice patties,” St. John said.

At the conclusion of that one year hiatus from the United States, she moved back to Ashland where she is now in her fourth year teaching for the Ashland City Schools.

“I really love living in the same town. There is a nice sense of community in the town and there is a lot more in town then people realize when they are attending the university,” St. John said.
To perfectly sum up all of the experiences that St. John has seen and done is difficult to do, but the world is out there for people to explore and see with their own eyes, as long as you take advantage of the opportunities that are presented to you.

“Take all the opportunities that you can while you’re in school, you never know when those will lead to something bigger,” St. John said.

With all of the traveling that St. John does, she usually likes to take a few big trips a year. Below is a list of most of the countries she has been to, with a highlight from each one.

Taiwan- “A country I really loved, I was very immersed in the culture.”

Mexico- “I have a huge appreciation for Mexico, I traveled there extensively visiting my family.”

Turkey- “It was in Turkey when I studied abroad. I really really enjoyed the culture, the food, and the colors.

Egypt- “I got to see the pyramid and Sphinx in Egypt and that was really neat. I cried watching the sunrise over the pyramids”

China- “I did a week in Beijing and I backpacked up the Great Wall and pitched a tent and went camping up there one evening. That is a highlight of my travels.”

Iceland- “Last summer I rented a car with a really good friend of mine and we drove around the entire island of Iceland just kind of at our own leisurely pace checking out waterfalls and getting completely drenched while hiking.”

Canada- “Vancouver was probably my favorite place to go in Canada.”

The Bahamas- “I was there on a cruise.”

Dominican Republic- “I’ve gone down three times for mission trips so that was kind of a different type of vacation but one that I appreciate a lot.”

Costa Rica- “I was there this summer, we went hiking through the jungles, got to see some sloths out in the wild.”

Brazil- “I went to Brazil actually to go visit a friend from AU that was living down there so we got to see the Christ the Redeemer statue while I was there. Lots of swimming, hiking and seafood as we were there as well.”

Spain- “Spain was neat because it was the first country I had been to that spoke Spanish outside of Mexico so it was kind of fun just to see the culture there.”

Italy- “I traveled through Italy, I got to go to mass with the Pope in the Vatican so that was a really neat experience.”

Croatia- “I was in Dubrovnik, Croatia. It is some of the most gorgeous scenery and ocean line that I have ever seen in my life.”

Greece- “We ate a lot of food, but to see some of the grecian ruins was really neat.”

Bosnia and Herzegovina- “It’s not a country I knew much about before I went, but the civil war that had been going on there had ended within 15 years or so when I was there and it was really apparent. It was a very sobering experience.”

Morocco- “Morocco was really fun with all of the little backstreet markets and all the colors and the tapestries and the food was phenomenal.”

Thailand- “I went with a friend of mine from Taiwan. We went to an elephant camp up in the mountains and got to ride elephants that was also a super cool experience.”

Japan- “It was just a really funky culture clash with all the anime and the food and they’re just very eccentric in their dress and ways of life.”

Cambodia- “I got to see Angkor Wat, some of their famous ruins and so that was another one that was really breathtaking to see.”

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