Hunter McBryde – American Turned Australian

Studying abroad not only allows students to discover the world outside of Millersville University but it changes lives and helps students to discover people places and cultures that begin to feel like home. Hunter McBryde, one of our past participants who studied at the University of the Sunshine Coast in Queensland Australia, has made the move across the Pacific and started a life in the Land Down Under. Check out his letter to Global Education (which we loved) and see what he’s been up to since his experience abroad!

September 21, 2014

Hello there,

In 2010 I was accepted into study abroad program for the University of the Sunshine Coast. After a whole lot of planning and packing I landed in Australia on February 8, 2011. I knew right then and there that Australia was more than just a place to study.


I had some incredible adventures, met some amazing people and made some unforgettable memories. I applied to extend my stay for another semester and everything worked out! I was ecstatic!

That winter I began volunteering at Australia Zoo and in two months I was hired into the Koala department. It was a dream come true, and I worked, studied and adventured for the next six months. But then my visa ended and I returned to the states.

The next six months I spent devoted to getting back to Australia. I worked as hard as I could, sold everything I could and finally arrived back in Australia.

 I started again at the Zoo, back with the Koalas but I soon moved to the work with the Elephants and eventually to the department I had wanted to work in since 1994: Reptiles.

I worked with animals I had always longed to see, Komodo Dragons, Fijian Crested iguanas, perenties, reticulated pythons and so much more. My dreams had come true…but they were not to last as long as I wanted. My visa was ending swiftly but I met this absolutely incredible woman in the meantime.

 I returned to the states again, determined Australia was going to be home. It took me eight months of working 7 days a week to make it back, again.

Australia Zoo offered to sponsor me and for six months we waited for the paperwork to finalise. When it did I knew that Australia was home.

Earlier this month I married the woman had been dating before I left. We have a beautiful home with some incredible animals, I’m now the Exotic Reptiles Coordinator at the Australia Zoo.

I’m sending you this email to say thank you so much for allowing me to come over here. When I applied for the study abroad program I had no earthly idea that I would make my life in Australia. Without the opportunity of Millersville’s study abroad program, my life would be so incredibly different than it is. The program changes lives and opens so many opportunities for so many people.

I’m so thankful for the opportunities that have happened. I have an incredible blessed life. Thank you so much.

Sincerely,
Hunter J McBryde

Questions & Answer

Name: Hunter J McBryde

Age: 25

Hometown: Lancaster, PA

Field of Study: Political Science

Initially, what made you want to study abroad in Australia?

I decided to study abroad because I had reached a point in my life where I knew I had to experience this life for all that it was worth. I had lived in the same area for ten years and felt like I had seen and done so much within that area and I needed more. I wanted to throw a bit more exoticism in my every day.

Would you change anything about your experience while abroad?

Not a thing. Every experience over here, good and bad, has added up into this incredible adventure that’s now my life. Please don’t misunderstand me there are times when living so far away from everyone and everything you’ve known for the majority of your life is not always easy. While I’ve been here I’ve lost my Grandfathers from both my Mom and Dad’s side and two dogs who had been with me for 14 years and its incredibly difficult, sometimes impossible, to make it home in time to say goodbye. In saying that, they were proud of me for following my dream and that gave me solace while saying goodbye in my own way.

What was an adjustment you had to make when you were studying abroad that you look back on now as being “normal?”

The biggest adjustment was probably driving. It’s now harder to me to switch back to the right side of the road when I visit family in the states than it is for me to drive in Australia.

Since you are now residing in Australia, where do you see yourself in another 5 years?

I see myself owning a home overlooking the beautiful Glasshouse Mountains, raising a family with my beautiful wife and working at Australia Zoo.

Would you have imagined yourself living in Australia while you were still studying at Millersville University? What motivated you go back?

If you had asked me six years ago where you thought I would be I probably would have replied a history teacher somewhere in PA, now I’m a zookeeper in Australia. It’s astounding the avenues life takes you when you least expect it. When I got back to Pennsylvania after my time in Australia I just knew home wasn’t among the green fields and rolling hills of Lancaster County any more…the Sunburned Country beckoned.

Can you tell us a bit about what you do and what you enjoy about it?

I work with reptiles of all descriptions, giant reticulated and Burmese pythons, endangered woma pythons, komodo dragons, saltwater crocs, American alligators and so many more. Childhood dreams should never be underestimated…if you had asked me what I wanted to be back in elementary school I would have told you “a zookeeper working with Steve Irwin.” I find enjoyment bettering the lives of the animals I work with but also knowing I accomplished a lifelong dream.

What are some of the coolest things you’ve seen or experienced since living in Australia?

Where do I begin!?! I’ve been in search of the deadliest snake on the planet deep in the outback of Australia (check out: http://www.wesaidgotravel.com/tag/hunter-mcbryde/), fallen asleep under the stars that stretched from horizon to horizon in the middle of nowhere, found the largest lizard in Australia, I’ve made lifelong friendships with people from all around the world, worked at a place I’ve dreamed about since I was a kid and found an incredible woman I get to spend the rest of my life with! Australia has been pretty amazing to me.

Is there anything you miss about living in the United States?

I miss my family most of all. I’ve made a promise to see them every year but it certainly isn’t easy to do. I’m so blessed that they are so supportive in following my dreams.

If the President of Millersville University asked you why you think studying abroad is important for MU students, what would you say? Explain.

Studying abroad changes lives. It’s that simple. Before I came to Australia the first time I wrote an essay for a scholarship offered for the very first time for the University of the Sunshine Coast (excerpt):

Wade Davis, anthropologist and ethnobotanist, summed up the experience of travel as succulently as possible in his work, Light at the Edge of the World. He wrote: “It was possible to fling oneself upon the benevolence of the world and emerge not only unscathed, but transformed” (18). It is in fact possible to rely on strangers for help, for a lesson, even for a smile. Each of those experiences, each of those new people one may meet along the way is an opportunity to grow. That is the occasion at hand, to go out into the world and come back transformed. With each new life experience comes the chance to gain a new perspective, to increase my ability to understand the world around me. The opportunity to study at the University of the Sunshine Coast is a unique chance to do just that.

During my senior year in high school, I was having breakfast with members of my wrestling team and my coach asked me what I was going to do after I graduated. I told him “Well… I’ll probably stay local, HACC and then Millersville.” He stopped eating, and looked at me with concerned and knowing eyes, took a breath and let me have it. He told me I need to go away, need to see different things and experience life outside of Lancaster. He knew from his experiences the necessity of a broader world view. At the time I took it for what it was: good advice from a knowing mentor. But for some reason I did not heed it. After nearly three years, I learned he was absolutely right.

Australia has changed my life completely and for that I am so grateful. I live in an amazing place but I would have never had the opportunity if Millersville had not offered to opportunity to study in such an amazing place. I would tell the President all of my stories and memories from traveling throughout this great continent and I would thank him for the opening the doors to such an amazing country.

 

International Student Spotlight – Meet Sandra and Yuki

Have you ever considered what Millersville University looks like from an international perspective? Sandra and Yuki, from our partner universities in Spain and Japan, have been exchange students at Millersville this past semester.We asked these two students to give us an insight into what it is like to experience Millersville University as an exchange student. Read on to find out what Sandra and Yuki had to say about their time here as a Millersville Student!

 

Sandra Albo Basurto

Name: Sandra Albo Basurto

Age: 25

Hometown: Burgos, Spain

Home university: Universidad de Burgos

Field of study: Humanities (History and Cultural Heritage)

 

Sandra what did you experience in Millersville that would never have happened at home in Spain?

Living on campus, in a dorm and participating in all the activities.

 

Why should other international students come to MU?
It offers a wide range of opportunities. Professors are really helpful as well as Millersville students, always ready to help you and interested in your culture. It is conveniently located but you can focus in your studies better than in a big city. Live in dorms is special and the campus is great when it’s good weather.

 

What is something you tried for the first time while you were studying abroad in the States?
Joining a club in the university. It’s been a great experience. I’ve met so many people and participated in different activities. I joined Amnesty International Chapter in MU.  We went to the National Conference of Amnesty in Chicago where I learnt a lot. I went to that with other American students.

National Amnesty Conference, Chicago

 

What travel plans do you want to make next?

I’m travelling the northeast coast after the end of the semester with a couple of international friends and after that…who knows! I would love to work abroad or in something that allows me to meet people all over the world.

 

What did you gain academically and/or professionally?

I’ve learnt to express myself better even if I am not in my comfort zone or in my own culture and make other ones understand the differences. I’ve also chosen subjects that challenge me.

 

 

What was one thing you did abroad that put you outside of your comfort zone that you never thought you would do?

Talk English in front of an audience. I guess is cliché but using your second language in public speech could be scary.

 

Is there a special moment you will always look back on that captures how you feel about your study abroad experience at MU?

Having lunch or dinner with all my friends in the Upperdeck between classes. As simple as that, my experience is about the wonderful people I’ve met here including internationals, MU students, staff and teachers.

 

Sandra with other international exchange students on an easter egg hunt

 

Yuki Matsuo

Name:  Yuki Matsuo

Age:  21

Hometown:  Fukuoka City, Japan

Home university: Kansai Gaidai

Field of study: English Education

 

Yuki, why did you decide to study abroad in the United States, specifically at Millersville University?

I have heard that  Millersville has very good educational course!

 

What did you experience in Millersville that would never have happened at home in Japan?

Living in a dormitory, a lot of discussion, a lot of diversity, a lot of internationals. I had a very good experience here in terms of interacting with many people from many kinds of different ethnicities.

 

What totally freaked you out prior to arriving at Millersville, but turned out to be no big deal? 

I was only one Japanese exchange student to go to Millersville, so I was worried whether I can make friends with other international students and Americans. After arriving here, many people were warm. I was totally relieved.

 

Yuki with friends

What did you gain academically and/or professionally?

Teaching knowledge. Teaching strategies. I gained many things about teaching reading, writing, English with media and film, English to ESL, and multicultural literature. I could gain a lot of knowledge from various fields about education. Especially, I learned how teachers’ attitude towards students is important in the classroom.

 

Yuki giving a presentation to her class

 

What is the biggest cultural difference between Kansai Gaidai University and Millersville? 

How warm teachers are. Teachers at Millersville were so nice and always supported me in spite of not knowing of me. And they always gave me a lot of opportunities to challenge new things.

 

What are you most looking forward to when you return home?

To make use of my ability which I nurture by myself here, especially in educational places. I will have teaching practicum right after going back to Japan and I have to actually organize lesson plan and teach English for 50 minutes to real high school students in my home high school. That is the opportunity to make use of my knowledge and ability to teach English which I learned here.

 

What did you learn about yourself personally over the past year? 

I learned how I am silent and build a wall between I and other people. This is cultural thing, but I could noticed that again.  Americans are always so nice to people even though they are strangers. But I cannot do that immediately like Americans do because Japanese tend to keep a distance between people even though they are family or friends. Besides, Americans are so positive in class. I sort of could not catch up with their positive attitudes in the class because I think I was afraid of telling teachers or classmates my opinion because of my English ability.  Also, I learned how much I want to be a teacher in the future. Teachers and friends always encouraged me here and I really enjoyed educational courses here.

 

Why should other international students come to MU?

 To Seize the Opportunity!

A Fun Fact About Cumberland House

 

Many of you may have noticed or heard about the new trolleys around Millersville this past month. Red Rose Transit, the local public transportation authority, gave their old buses a big makeover!

The buses now have an older trolley-style appearance to resemble the trolleys that used to run between Lancaster and Pequea through the Millersville area in the early 20th century.

The Office of Global Education, located in Cumberland house, used to be the trolley station! It is pretty interesting to know that our office, which sends students around the world  and welcomes new students from all corners of the globe each semester, was also known as a center of travel back in the old days.

Cumberland House Back Then: You can see the top of Cumberland House behind the trolley on the right

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Spring 2014 - New Millersville trolley which stops directly in front of the Office of Global Education daily

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 


An MU Student Perspective – Kelsey Sevenski

The Office of Global Education supports many students while they study abroad, but taking classes abroad is not all that MU students do. The Office of Global Education also assists students interning abroad, student teaching abroad, or students like Kelsey, who are completing their social work senior year field placement in Cape Town, South Africa. Through MU’s partner program, VAC, Kelsey flew half way around the globe and spent her spring semester participating in this amazing program. Check out Kelsey’s responses to a few questions about her time in South Africa and see how life changing a professional experience abroad can be!

Kelsey Sevenski

 

Name: Kelsey Sevenski

Age: 21

Host University abroad: Volunteer Adventure Corps (VAC), Cape Town, South Africa

Major/Minor: Social Work; Psychology

When did you study abroad? January 15th to April 15th (Spring 2014)

 

 

 

 

What about study abroad drew you to apply?

1) Meeting new people – I knew this was an opportunity where I would meet people from all over the world and develop relationships I never had before. Before departing, I was really yearning for this particular aspect of life, and fortunately I fulfilled this hope of mine. I not only made friends, I made new and long lasting friendships.

2) Experiencing new culture and language – I never really spent adequate amount of  time outside of the states, so interning abroad allowed me to experience many different cultures and languages.

3) Being away from home – After being at home for 21 years, I was ready to get away and just do something different.

4) Experiences like no other – The specific program description opened my eyes up to all these fun activities (surfing, bungee jumping, shark cage diving) and I just knew I had to try them all.

Why did you decide to study abroad in South Africa?

Africa as a whole intrigued me due to its vast size and varied countries, cultures, and social practices. In particular, South Africa has so many social policy issues including Apartheid and HIV/AIDS. In addition, people here live in astonishing conditions compared to many of the impoverished people of the states. I was really curious to find out what these townships were like and see how the government and it’s many flaws influences South African society as a whole, like the stigma of illness, treatment of women and children, and many religious beliefs. Lastly, I felt that it was important that the main language of South Africa was English, but also that it had many different languages to explore.

 

 

What are some things you did for the first time while abroad?

Bungee jumped off the highest bungee jump in the world; rode many forms of public transportation specific to South Africa (mini bus/taxis); saw and interacted with all different types of wildlife like elephants, baby tigers, great white sharks, penguins, and ostriches; stayed at many different backpackers/hostels and met a lot of different people traveling from all over the world; participated and watched African dancing; explored several different wineries and tasted many different wines; hiked beautiful trails up massive mountains.

What totally freaked you out prior to arriving in South Africa, but turned out to be no big deal?

The main thing that freaked me out was worrying about meeting people and making new friends. However, I got really lucky and was housed with 7 other girls, mostly Americans. Since we were experiencing the impact of interning abroad all at the same time, we all bonded instantaneously. Plus, after being here for a few weeks, I realized how small the world really is, and you start to meet people who know mutual friends or have traveled to places that you have. This connection is like no other.

What was the biggest challenge you had to overcome and how did you overcome it?

1)      Cultural barriers and language – Of course I expected some cultural differences when interning abroad; however, I didn’t expect some of them to impact me the way they did. The #1 thing that got me was “Africa time.” This simply means that most people in South Africa are very laidback when it comes to being on time. I had a difficult time adjusting, but eventually I even started running on “Africa time.”

2)       Even though a majority of South Africans speak English, it was still very hard to understand some individuals and how they communicate with one another (especially the Xhosa speaking groups). To overcome this, I stayed patient, and overtime I got used to the dialects and accents. But also, I observed and asked questions. South Africans are more than willing to teach you some words or phrases. This is their way of celebrating their language and culture.

3)      Homesickness – I definitely knew I would experience some sort of homesickness, but being there and taking care of myself for 3 months was totally new. However, I overcame it with keeping myself busy, communicating on a regular basis with friends and family back home, and creating meaningful friendships here. It was hard to cope at first, but after a while, you learn to make the best of your situation and end up a better person because of it. Now that I survived these past 3 months on my own, I feel that I can do anything!

Describe a specific memory of your time abroad. Why do you remember that particular moment and what was meaningful about it?

When I first arrived and my driver drove me back to my accommodation and I was just taking it all in. I never saw a landscape so beautiful. I kept thinking… “This is not something you see back home.” The view of Devil’s Peak, Table Mountain, and Lion’s Head was truly breathtaking. Plus, this was my first image of South Africa, and it was an amazing one.

 

What is something you saw abroad that you would never see happening at Millersville?

You may see an Amish horse and buggy riding through Millersville; but here in many of the townships, people makeshift their own horse and buggies. I saw so many horses tied up to some sort of trailer, with a homemade seat for the rider, usually made out of a mattress or old couch. Surprisingly, this form of transportation is common and the police do not regulate these homemade vehicles. In addition to their forms of transportation, there are no standards in driving here. People often run red lights, speed through pedestrian filled streets, and beep at every little thing. It’s a very chaotic system.

What are you going to miss the most about your host country?

The happiness in people, the simplicity (Africa Time), the warmth and sunshine, the landscapes, and how cheap everything is!

How is your experience going to help you personally, professionally, and academically?

PERSONALLY – I’ve become so much more independent, self-aware, confident, etc.

PROFESSIONALLY – Africa time, rate of productivity, work ethic, work skills and values, etc.

ACADEMICALLY – Self-motivation, time management (balancing fun time with work time), increase in global education and other fields that I never knew about before.

Do you think it is important that MU students should study abroad?

Absolutely, after participating in this internship abroad program, I have realized how much traveling and experiencing new cultures and meeting new people forever changes you. You get to meet people from all over and learn about their countries and way of life. This allows you to learn about your own nationality, your values and beliefs, and the culture of your country of origin. Ultimately, it opens up your eyes entirely. Going abroad gives you an experience that you cannot get elsewhere.

The Office of Global Education wishes Kelsey the best of luck in her future as she graduates from Millersville University. If you would like to find out more about Kelsey and the VAC program in South Africa, check out this link below! 

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=rQeWdmOSmJk

 

Number Crunch – 62 Students

62 Students in 16 countries!

62 students are about to embark on their study abroad experience this summer or fall to 16 different countries!Their destinations around the world include Australia, the Philippines, South Africa, Morocco, Italy, Germany, the U.K., Spain, and Chile, just to name a few.

The 62 students getting ready to pack their bags for their adventures are participating in a wide range of study abroad programs. Some students are traveling  to participate in professor-led courses abroad. Through these programs, students travel abroad with a professor who teaches a course in another country. The professor uses cultural and historical resources of their location to enhance their course  so students can get an experience they could never get in a class room.

Other students traveling abroad are participating through MU programs at our partner university locations or through Non-MU programs for a summer session, full semester, or entire academic year.

Some students are even completing international professional experiences where they will be teaching full time or interning  for organizations specializing in their field and area of interest.

Check back in a few months time to read all about these students’ life changing experiences right here at the Office of Global Education’s Global Ed Gazette.

The Office of Global Education wishes these students all the best of luck and safe travels for their future endeavors!

 

 

Photo Highlights – Fall 2013 Contest Winners

 

Check out these awesome photos!!

Each semester our study abroad participants are invited to submit their most impressive and impactful photos that encapsulate a unique experience abroad. The photos are judged within four different categories. The following are the Fall 2013 Winners:

Category: Marauders Abroad

Janelle Haupt: Wall Art in Assilah - Morocco

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Category: Landscapes and Landmarks

   
Meredith Noll: Untitled - Bellfast, Northern Ireland

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Category: Marauders in Action

 
Kathryn Dennis: Surfing in Coolum Beach - Australia

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Category: People and Culture

 
Kimberly Canella: Music on the Waterfront - South Africa

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Honorable Mentions:

Nancy Lapkiewicz: Classic London - England, U.K.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Kristyn Starr: Sitting on the Edge - Belfast, Northern Ireland

 

Who Is the New Director of Global Education & Partnerships?

Dr. Timothy Shea, associate professor of English, has recently joined the Global Education team. Find out more about Dr. Shea and what he had to say about his new position at Global Education.

When I was training to be a teacher at Millersville University back in 1987, I never imagined my professional journey would take me to over 30 countries where I would teach at various international schools, two of them for close to a decade. I could not dream of what it would be like to hike snow-capped mountains, walk the rim of an active volcano or dive with sharks on the Great Barrier Reef. I never imagined that I would make friends from all around the world, (one being my British wife). Most importantly, I do not think I could fathom how the decision to live in faraway places with global colleagues would shape me, both personally and professionally, but it did!

Now I have the privilege of working with a terrific staff at The Office of Global Education and Partnerships whose mission it is to inspire the next generation of travelers and explorers to experience the rewards of cross-cultural learning. Some would say I have the best job in the world and I think they’re correct!

Hearing stories from students whose “lives have been changed” by a study abroad experience, reminds me how valuable this job is. I love the challenge of helping both my colleagues and my students discover the joy of international study and travel. I hope to further expand international possibilities at Millersville through the following ventures: professor-led courses abroad, expanding our population of international students, and developing greater possibilities of international internships, including student teaching.

I look forward to seeing Millersville University become a leader in global education as it embraces the ways our curriculum and programs should prepare our students for our global community. Exciting days are ahead for us and I am happy to be a facilitator of this process!

If you are interested in learning more of what is happening here with Global Education, please stop by Cumberland House where you will learn the role YOU can play in cultivating both your own dreams as well as those of the next adventurous wanderer.

Meet Christina!

The Office of Global Education and Partnerships is pleased to announce the addition of Christina Accomando as Program Coordinator.  She is eager to mentor students through the study abroad process so they can have incredible life-changing experiences. Check out the Q&A session below to find out more about Christina!

Hi Christina, how are you enjoying working at Global Education so far?

I really enjoy working at the Global Education Office and I knew I would when I interviewed.  I sincerely believe in the magic of studying abroad and everything it can do for college students.  I love interacting with the students, helping them discover their goals and navigating their options.  Since I am learning a completely new field, I look forward to having a full academic cycle under my belt.  I am excited for my first group of outgoing students to return to Millersville, so I can see their amazing photos and hear their stories!

What college did you attend and what did you major in?

I attended Connecticut College, which is a small, residential, liberal arts college in New London Connecticut.  It has about 1600 undergraduates.   I was a Fine Art major and a Philosophy minor.

Florence, Italy

Have you had any study abroad or travel experience? If so, where did you go and for how long?

I was fortunate to grow up with a family who loves travel, so before I entered College I had seen a lot of the world.  I studied abroad in Florence, Italy and had the opportunity to visit Pisa, Lucca, Venice, Rome and Cinque Terre in Italy.  During my semester I also traveled to Dublin, Ireland, Brussels in Belgium and the Netherlands. My only regret was not going to Prague in the Czech Republic.  I was thinking about doing my semester abroad there.

What attracted you to apply to be a study abroad Program Coordinator at Millersville?

When I worked for the Office of Admission at Franklin & Marshall, I enjoyed speaking to prospective students about the potential opportunities they have to study abroad and the details behind those experiences.  I was attracted to the Program Coordinator position because I really enjoy mentoring and guiding college students and I believe that Study Abroad can be a life changing experience.   The Global Education position was perfect.

If you could travel anywhere in the world, where would you go and why?

I’ve thought about this a lot since I started working here and it would be easier if I could give you a top five list.  But, since I can only pick one, on the top of my bucket list is to see the Northern Lights.  I would like to go to Sweden, Norway or Finland, cross my fingers and hope the lights will put on a show.  I’d like to go there in the summer when the sun barely goes down, but apparently the time to go for the lights is September through March.  I guess I’ll have to go twice!

What is a typical day like at the Office of Global Education?

Because we work around an academic cycle, no two days seem to be the same.  I am learning so much about how the year progresses and what to expect around the corner.  I can say we are always busy and the day tends to be too short.

What do you like to do in your spare time?

I love the outdoors.  I enjoy spending time with my family on walks and at the park or on hikes in the area.  I love to garden and do projects around our house.  Otherwise, I love trying new restaurants, entertaining friends, reading, going to the movies, sporting events and concerts.

What is an interesting fact about yourself that most people do not know?

Fun fact:  I taught Taylor Swift horseback riding lessons when I was in College…she was about 10 years old.

 

Feel free to stop by our office and meet Christina! She would be happy to chat with you.

 

International Student Spotlight – Ewan McCall

Have you ever considered what Millersville University looks like from an international perspective? Ewan McCall, from the University of Strathclyde in Scotland, has been an exchange student at Millersville for the 2012-2013 academic school year. During his time at Millersville, Ewan has studied as a Music major, discovered tasty Philly cheesesteaks, and has even seen the Macy’s Day Parade in New York. He will soon be returning home to the University of Strathclyde , one of Millersville’s partner universities, and we will miss him dearly! Before he leaves, however, Ewan has graciously taken time to share his experience and impressions of Millersville with us—read on to see his answers!

The Basics –

Name: Ewan McCall
Age: 20
Hometown: Dumfries, Scotland
Home university: University of Strathclyde
Field of study: Music Major

Fast Facts –

Instruments you play: Vocal (Baritone) and Alto/ Soprano Saxophone
Favorite American food: Philly Cheesesteak, Cheesecake Factory, Wawa etc.
Favorite extracurricular activity at Millersville: Keystone Singers/ Jazz Ensemble/ (my own funk band) Chaos Thompson!

Why did you decide to study abroad in the United States, specifically at Millersville University?

I decided to study at Millersville for several reasons. I knew that the Music department had just undergone a multi-million redevelopment and that several of the music lecturers at Millersville were highly regarded. Millersville was also well positioned geographically. It is so easy to get to and from Baltimore, Philadelphia, Washington D.C. and New York – and from the moment I arrived and was greeted by such friendly people, I knew I had chosen the right university!

What totally freaked you out prior to arriving at Millersville, but turned out to be no big deal?

I thought I was the only Scottish person coming to Millersville, but on arrival I found out that not only was everyone really warm and welcoming, but there were also 3 other Scottish students who had come over to MU from Strathclyde. This put me completely at ease about staying in such a beautiful, relaxed, and friendly environment.

What is something you tried for the first time while you were studying abroad in the States? Did you enjoy it?

Ranch dressing, frozen yogurt, Whoopee pies, Shoo-fly pie, authentic Philly Cheesesteak the Cheesecake Factory, Wawa, studying Solfege (intensive music theory) and wearing a tuxedo. I enjoy ANY food so these all of these went down a treat! I also loved looking very dapper in a Tux. However, with studying Solfege, funnily enough I wasn’t so keen… however, being educated in Solfege will be invaluable to me as a well-rounded musician.

What is the coolest place you visited while studying abroad?

Visiting California and New York (specifically the Macy Day Parade!). It seemed like everything was a new experience for me!

What did you experience in Millersville that would never have happened at home in Scotland?

MU homecoming, an American football game, seeing squirrels daily, singing in my first opera, and learning the American slang y’all!

The social aspect of being regularly and openly invited to other people’s houses, rather than going out on the town each time you wanted to meet up with someone.

What is the biggest cultural difference between Strathclyde and Millersville?

I think the way that MU students show that they are very proud of both their national and social heritage is the biggest cultural difference. Daily lives seem to revolve much more proudly and freely around university here at Millersville than back home. I think the British attitude to university is that it is a stepping stone in our lives, helping us get to where we want to end up, rather than an epoch. Everyone also drives on the wrong side of the road here at MU!

What are you most looking forward to when you return home?

Being able to socially drink again!

What did you gain academically and/or professionally?

I gained a tremendous amount of musical experience and new-found knowledge. I believe I managed to accomplish as much as I possibly could in the short year that I had. I tried to be as versatile as possible during my time here at MU, learning how to perform as a sound engineer, an entrepreneur, a musician, and an educator.

What did you learn about yourself personally over the past year?

I learned that I can be a more motivated, positive individual and become much more independent when I put my mind to it.

An MU Student Perspective – Off to Spain!

Many  Millersville students embark on a once-in-a-lifetime study abroad experience, either through Millersville’s partner institutions or through a Non-MU program provider, supported by The Office of Global Education. There are many things for them to consider as they prepare to go abroad, and we had a chance to speak with Janelle Haupt — a Millersville International Studies major and Spanish minor — who flew around the world to Spain through a Non-MU program. We picked her brain before she left on what she expects from the trip  and also got the chance to speak with her after she arrived in Spain to get her thoughts about her experience.

Name: Janelle Haupt
Age: 20
Major:
International Studies, Spanish minor
Study abroad host university:
University of Salamanca through Academic Programs International (Non-MU program)
Study abroad host city:
Salamanca, Spain
Year of study abroad:
Senior

What about study abroad drew you to apply?

The biggest reason I want to study abroad is to improve my fluency in Spanish. I also have never left the United States, but have always wanted to travel, so studying abroad is the perfect opportunity for me to get travel experience while broadening my resume.

What do you foresee as the biggest challenge while abroad, and how do you plan to overcome it?

The biggest challenge I foresee while abroad is culture shock. I plan to overcome it by embracing it and reminding myself that I will be a better person for having lived in another culture.

What are you most excited about?

I am most excited about being in a foreign country and being able to see the different landscapes, architecture, etc. that you find in Europe. I am also very excited to visit Paris and participate in several other excursions throughout Spain to experience the different provinces and cultures within Spain.

Barcelona, Spain

What courses will you be taking and why do you plan to take them?

One of the courses I will be taking is “The Arab World In Hispanic Culture”. I want to take this course because it offers a different perspective than you can get at MU and I also find culture studies to be very interesting. Another course I will be taking is “Spanish for Business”. This class appeals to me because I think it will be useful to me in the job market and it offers a different aspect of the language. The final course I will be taking is a mandatory Spanish grammar class. This class will help me adjust to the language when I arrive, while helping me to expand my vocabulary and continue practicing the grammar I have already learned in classes at MU.

What do you hope to achieve personally, professionally, academically while studying abroad?

I hope to gain confidence in my ability to speak Spanish, learn another culture, and get a new academic perspective. I also want to become more outgoing through my experiences while abroad.

Now That You’re There…

How are you adjusting to your life in Spain? What was the biggest challenge you had to overcome?

I am adjusting well to my life in Spain. The biggest challenge for me, other than speaking only in Spanish of course, was adjusting to Spanish meal times. Spaniards eat breakfast around 8am or 9am, then have lunch around 2pm, and then do not eat dinner until at least 9pm or later.

Tangier, Morocco

What is something you’ve done for the first time while abroad?

I rode a camel in Morocco! I have also eaten grapes right off the vine at a winery, climbed to the top of a cathedral, ate premade toast from a bag, and picked figs from a fig tree.

How are your classes going? Do you feel that these classes will be helpful to you for your future goals?

I love my classes.  I definitely think these classes will be helpful to me because they cover a lot of important vocabulary, but also offer a lot of insight into Spanish culture.

What are you going to miss the most from Spain once you are back in the US?

Taking a siesta! Also, I will miss the “Menu del dia” in restaurants. The menu usually includes two main courses, dessert, bread, and a drink for a fixed price that can sometimes be as low as 8 or 9 euros.

Paris, France

Besides your host city, what other countries or places have you traveled to since you’ve been abroad?

I have been to Paris (France); Tangier, Chefchouhen, and Assilah (Morocco); and Santiago de Compostela, La Coruna, Barcelona, Madrid, and Toledo (Spain). I also visited my host mother’s house in Tamames, a small town about an hour outside of Salamanca.

Why should MU students study abroad?

It is such a great way to meet new people and make new friends from all over the world. You will look at the world differently after studying abroad and you will really grow as a person. Also, it’s just fun to have new experiences in a place you’ve never been before! I highly recommend that every student take the opportunity to study abroad.

How is your experience going to help you personally, professionally, and academically?

Personally, this experience has definitely given me more confidence in my abilities than anything else. Coming to Spain with a decent background in Spanish, I still was not sure how I would fare, but I have been able to communicate more or less and have learned so much already. I realized that I knew a lot more than I thought I knew.

 Academically, my time here has really helped me to reinforce and expand upon things that I have learned in high school and at MU. I have learned so many things in my Spanish classes, but it is a completely different experience to have to speak it every day. You don’t really realize how much you know and how much you have yet to learn until you are forced to use it all the time.

Studying abroad will be a huge asset to me professionally because as the world is more interconnected it really lends credibility to your resume to have had a study abroad experience. Also, studying in Spain has really helped me become more fluent in Spanish, which will be a huge help when applying for jobs, and since I want to go into an international business, most jobs I would apply for are looking for bilingualism. 

 

Toledo, Spain
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