The traveling professor

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Photo Courtesy of Catherine Avenius

She stood there staring, laughing at her predicament. Katie Taylor, a humanities professor at BYU-Idaho was in Germany at the time and really needed to find the restroom but didn’t know which door was the women’s restroom because there were no pictures.

German words rested on each door, but they meant nothing to her as she stood there in the middle of an unknown German city. She waited in the middle of the strange German city, trying not to look noticeably lost. After seeing three women walk into the same door she sighed with relief and walked in after them.

This is one instances where Katie Taylor, a humanities professor at BYU-Idaho felt truly lost while traveling the world. Altogether she’s traveled to Canada, England, Germany, France, Austria, Italy and Kenya.

Taylor was born and raised in Idaho and her parents went to Ricks College. She graduated from BYU-I majoring in humanities and minoring in art history. When she finished her degree, her goal was to dive into the museum world and guide people through historical sites. After graduating, BYU-I offered her a job and it has been an unexpected blessing in her life where she can share her life experiences and travels with the students she teaches.

Her parents were always taking their family on new adventures all over the United States and that led to further world travels in Taylor’s life.

In 2014, Taylor and her family traveled to Kenya where her grandparents were serving a mission. This was not an easy feat for her family. With so many travelers as a family of 8 kids with tickets needing to be paid for, many family members took on extra jobs including a paper route in order to save up. A highlight from the Kenya trip was going on a safari to see all the wild animals that the country has to offer.

“We got to see all of ‘The Lion King’ in real life,” Taylor said. “It was incredible.”

While in Kenya, Taylor shared that while in Kenya she had the chance to go to church meetings. She said that meeting families and individuals at church was life changing for her. She explained that it was a very eye-opening experience to see that even though they didn’t have very much in common, the gospel brought them together.

“You start to figure out that we are all just brothers and sisters,” Taylor said. “We all go to the grocery store on the way home from work. We are all just trying to figure out how to feed our families and contribute to society.”

Through traveling, Taylor grows in appreciation for history and the stories of the people who lived in the past.

As a professor, Taylor enjoys teaching about the historical sites that she has visited. Her personal experience visiting different historical sites in Europe impacts how she teaches.

“Sister Taylor is super passionate and that’s something I really like about her,” said Alliya Dodson, a sophomore studying business. “She’ll point out super cool details in the art we look at. She’s also super sweet and such an amazing teacher.”

Taylor shared that she has had her own personal challenges and unexpected changes in her life, but is grateful for those experiences and what she learned. Traveling the world has helped build her confidence in being able to do hard things when uncomfortable situations come up, like getting lost in foreign countries.

“Do it,” Taylor said in regards to travel. “I think some of my most important life changes came because I was traveling. I sort of found myself in these places. Its just very cool to get out of your own space, culture and comfort place and get to experience the beautiful things that the world has to offer. There are so many kinds of beauty in the world not just one.”

In the future Taylor looks forward to being able to travel with the BYU-I humanities students to Europe for the annual Humanities European Travel Abroad once travel restrictions lift. These are just a few stories and experiences Taylor has had, not to mention the ones she plans for in the future.

Vienna
Photo Courtesy of Catherine Avenius
England
Photo Courtesy of Catherine Avenius
Buckingham Palace
Photo Courtesy of Catherine Avenius
Banff National Park Canada
Photo Courtesy of Catherine Avenius
Kenya
Photo Courtesy of Catherine Avenius
Colosseum
Photo Courtesy of Catherine Avenius