Kristin – South Africa

  • Kristin
  • Studied abroad as a Post-Baccalaureate student/Graduate student for Education
  • Involved in the Professional Development School (PDS)

I leapt on the option to finish the second half of my student teaching abroad, and I would encourage ALL student teachers to pursue this option. I hated leaving my two cooperating teachers at Manheim Township High School, who were experts, and all of my students, but it was So. Worth. It. for me as a teacher and a person to take advantage of this opportunity!

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I chose Cape Town, South Africa, because it had been on my bucket list for so long, and I was delighted to find out that apart from the ticket, it was much cheaper to go there than to Europe. Cape Town is such a beautiful town–no bad views with the mountains and the ocean!–and very cheap, and South Africa is stunning. Very early in my stay I climbed Table Mountain, which is no small feat! The photo is of me after my 6-hour hike up the mountain to the cable car station, my two big trips from the three months that I was there, a 5-day safari in Kruger Park in eastern South Africa, and a 4-day tour of the Garden Route much closer to home, in the Western Cape. I got to hold the Western Cape Vulture as part of my safari package, and the elephants and beach photos are highlights of the Garden Route trip.

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I jumped right from my trips into my student teaching, where I did my best to adjust to a vastly different education system, and it was not always easy to take the methods I’d learned at Township and apply them to my classes in Cape Town. But oh, I bonded so quickly with my students, who were much more engaged in learning and in classroom discussion than I had expected. The photo I included is the last day with my 9th graders, who I’d differentiated into learning groups that were named after big cats–it was fun thwarting them when they tried to figure out why I had done that!

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If you choose to study abroad, definitely research it and talk to participants from previous years–invaluable. But above all, know that it is a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity that you may never get again. I was so lucky that as a returning student I could go, since normally the doors slam shut on such opportunities once you graduate.

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Nikole – Chile

  • Nikole
  • Studied abroad as a junior
  • While at Millersville, Nikole was the Secretary for the Society on latino Affairs, a Student Ambassador (SHARP team), and is in Delta Phi Eta honors fraternity.

IMG_7658 I studied abroad in Chile because I love South America. My mom is from Uruguay and I lived there for 1.5 months right before going to Chile. I chose Chile because I liked that I could live in Viña del Mar, but also experience the city life by going to school in Valparaíso. I also enjoyed all of what Chile had to offer in regards to nature. The North of Chile is extremely different from the South, and I was fortunate enough to experience both regions. One weekend I got to go sand boarding in the desert, and the following weekend I was skiing in the Andes. Chile is a huge country and I still have so much left to explore of it. Chile has something to offer for everyone. You can relax on one of the thousands of beaches, or take a hike to a beautiful destination.

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Academically, I wanted to speak as much Spanish as possible so that I could feel comfortable with the language and become completely fluent. I was able to do this by becoming friends with Chileans, which forced me to only speak in Spanish. I needed to put in the effort and make and spend time with my Chilean friends so that I could meet my goals. Personally, I wanted to break out of my comfort zone and become more outgoing. I tend to be more of an introvert, but through this experience, I was able to break out of my shell. I made friends and built connections with people from all over the world, and I even volunteered to teach English classes to Chileans twice a week. Becoming more outgoing also helped me to accomplish one of my other goals, which was to immerse myself in the culture. I was able to accomplish this by becoming friends with Chileans, building a relationship with my host family, and being actively involved in school activities and events.

Weekend trips to Santiago, sand boarding, bike and wine tour, day trip to Cajón del Maipo to bungee jump and hike the mountains, rafting and hot springs in Pucón, surfing in Pichilemu, San Pedro de Atacama desert and the geysers, day trip to Horcón, visited two of the houses of author Pablo Neruda, and skiing in the Andes. I also had the opportunity to spend a week and a half in Peru.

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My advice would be to not hesitate; just do it! This is a once in a lifetime experience that you will never forget. Don’t be afraid to put yourself out there and get out of your comfort zone, because you don’t want to live with any regrets after your study abroad experience is over. Always be open minded and willing to try new things. Most importantly, know that you are going to make many mistakes, never be afraid to make these mistakes and don’t be embarrassed when you do, because that is how you grow personally and learn the most.

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Esther – Mexico

  • Esther
  • Studied abroad as a Junior
  • Studied at: Universidad de Guanajuato in Guanajuato, Mexico
  • Esther is excited to get involved at MU upon her return!

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I studied abroad in Guanajuato, Mexico. I choose to study there because I wanted to go somewhere that no one from my school had ever gone. I found a brand new program called CLA that was based in Guanajuato. I was their first study abroad student ever! I found such a role invigorating, challenging, and exciting. I liked the idea of pushing myself as a trailblazer for a new program. I also really wanted to go specifically to Mexico to experience the culture first hand. Due to recent current events and the controversy in the US regarding, specifically Mexican, immigration I wanted to hear all about the ideas, views, and opinions that people have regarding US-Mexican relations on the other side of the border. Another perk is that the cost of living/studying in Mexico is very low!

The most obvious of my personal goals while studying abroad was to improve my command of the Spanish language. I think I definitely accomplished this goal due more to my Spanish speaking friends and host family then to my university classes! I also really wanted to sharpen my social skills. Before I studied abroad I would sometimes get anxious or intimidated in certain social situations, but after spending my semester in Mexico I have gotten over so many of those negative feelings! If I can ask a stranger for directions in Spanish without feeling nervous or work up the courage to tell my host mom that I don’t like, hot chile powder on my mango than I can do anything! My last big goal was become more self-driven. I tend to be someone who is really good at following directions, or making friends when they are presented to me, etc. But while I was abroad I made sure to plan my own excursions and consciously seek help when I needed it and introduce myself to strangers at school just to see if maybe they would become a friend (and many times, they did!)

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Definitely one of the coolest excursions I went on was when my program director took me and my boyfriend (who was conveniently visiting me at the time) to Mexico City! We went to a bunch of museums, cathedrals, and Frida Kahlo’s house, we toured an enormous Aztec ruin called Teotihuacán, and went on a boat ride with Mariachi bands playing for us the whole time! But the coolest part of this trip was that our “tour guide” was a philosophy professor from UNAM (the biggest and more prestigious university in Mexico.) His name was Daniel and he knew EVERYTHING there is to know about Mexican history, culture, anthropology, etc. His parents were famous Mexican archaeologists and Daniel would go on digs with them. He was there as a young boy when his parents helped discover many famous Mayan ruins!

During my Easter vacation I got to go to Los Cabos and Puerto Vallarta. Both places are beautiful beach towns/cities with so much to do! I also went for a weekend with one of my good friends to his father’s organic ranch in the middle of the desert! We herded cows, ate a cactus, hiked a mountain. It was amazing!

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Millersville students should study abroad because being “alone” in another country is one of the most efficient ways to grow as, 1. a capable and self-sufficient young adult, and 2. a culturally aware, empathetic, and globally-aware human being. You would be surprised how much you don’t know about different cultures in the world. And you will never fully understand another culture, and how other cultures perceive the United States, until you go there. I think it is so important for students to travel outside of this country to realize that there are just as many opportunities and experiences waiting outside the US as there are here at home.

Study abroad, get out of the country, learn another language! A study abroad experience is honestly one of the best things you can do for yourself. My other piece of advice is: get out of your comfort zone! Don’t just go where your friends are going! From my own experience and what many friends have told me from their experiences, a general rule is; the less American students you study abroad with, the more you will gain from the country you visit. This is especially true for students who want to study abroad in order to learn another language. If you DO decide to study abroad with a close friend or in a school with a large number of American students make a “NO English” pact at the beginning of your experience or decide on specific times when English is and is NOT allowed. This is fun and helps students not use their American friends and native language as a crutch for the whole semester.

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Kenny – Chile

  • Kenny
  • Studied abroad as a Junior
  • Studied at: Pontificia Universidad Católica de Valparaíso (PUCV) in Valparaiso, Chile
  • On campus, Kenny is a peer tutor for learning services, part of the SHARP team with admissions, a member of Phi Sigma Pi National Honor Fraternity, and involved in intramural sports!

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I chose this PUCV not only because it fit my preferences academically, but because Chile is such a distinct place and its very authentic culture and diverse terrain drew me right in.

I had a few goals for my trip down to Chile, including:

  • Pass all of my classes
  • Meet a person from each continent/Make a few lifelong friends
  • Break out of my introverted bubble
  • Visit Machu Picchu in Peru
  • Network with native Chileans for possible job opportunities

I think its safe to say that I reached these goals and so much more!

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While in South America I had the pleasure of exploring Northern Chile, the metropolitan area of Santiago, Machu Picchu in Peru, famous vineyards, all 3 of Pablo Neruda’s homes, LOTS of trekking/hiking, visiting the Andes, learning how to surf, participating in a small soccer league, and so much more.

I think that with our highly capable Global Education office and all the opportunities and exchange programs they offer, there is not one good reason I can think of to NOT study abroad. It’s important to recognize that although we live in a highly connected world, we sometimes forget that there are other ways to live life and other perspectives. Studying abroad is a way to introduce yourself to the world and really branch out and broaden your horizons. It can also provide you with very important interpersonal and networking skills that will aid you personally and professionally. Overall, I think that MU students should consider studying in another country because it allows you to leave your comfort zone and really get to know yourself and the world in which we live first-hand.

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If there is one crucial piece of advice I’d give, it’d be to diligently complete your application process, buy your tickets, etc. with plenty of time to spare (if possible) because once you’re a few weeks out from departing, all you’re going to be thinking about is that first day you step foot in your destination of choice. With that being said, the application process is 100% worth it once you are all set to go.

Try things you never imagined trying, force yourself out of your comfort zone and put down your phone! One thing I’d like to stress is that you need to live the experience. Although pictures are nice, I feel that for many of my fellow exchange students abroad their experience was about being connected instead of really living it.

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Celine – France

  • Celine
  • Studied abroad as a Sophomore in Spring 2017, and still currently abroad!
  • Studied at: American Business School Paris in Paris,France
  • When on campus, Celine works at the University Store

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I chose to study abroad at ABS Paris because I am a French minor and I love fashion and art. Paris is a fashion capital and has some of the best art museums in the world. In addition, the city is beautiful and there is always something fun to do, whether it was sitting at the Eiffel Tower, boating down the Seine river or even going out on the town at night!

My goals for study abroad were to learn more about fashion and international business, learn French, and get out of my comfort zone to make new friends and live on my own. I did accomplish all my goals and more!

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I have gone to Portugal, Switzerland, Italy, Spain, and Germany. My favorite was Germany because I went to Spring Fest for the weekend!

Millersville students should study abroad because it is a chance to meet new people, immerse yourself in a different culture, and have fun traveling while you do it! Sometimes you will even learn a new language, and learn things about yourself that you wouldn’t have if you never left your comfort zone.

Be open minded, and always be aware of different cultures and traditions. Not every place has the same customs you do, so you have to be ready to experience differences. In addition, try as many new things as you can! Whether it be food, activities, or even classes you would not get to take if you were not abroad.

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Remember that even though you are having fun and traveling, you are also there for educational and/or professional purposes! I was able to adequately give effort to both and I ended up having fun in many different countries, while also gaining a professional opportunity! One good thing to know about ABS is they let study abroad students have the option to team up with the permanent students to participate in a company case project with various big name companies! I was able to work with Swarovski Paris for two months at their home office, and was able to add it to my resume afterwards and get priority for internships. I would highly recommend participating in this if you plan to attend ABS.

Hannah – Japan

My name is Hannah, and I am a double major in Psychology and Philosophy. I studied abroad at Kansai Gaidai University in Osaka, Japan. I was interested in studying abroad to fulfill a lifelong dream of traveling to Japan and experiencing aspects of the culture, such as Shintoism and traditional tea ceremonies. I also chose Japan largely because I am currently working on two theses regarding canine breed-specific behavior and cognition, and some of the best research I have encountered has come from universities in Japan.

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One of the fun things I have done so far is visit the Todai-ji Temple in the city of Nara. The Todai-ji Temple, built in 752, is the largest wooden structure in the world, and houses one of the largest Buddhas in Japan. We were able to donate a tile for temple reconstruction, wherein we wrote our names in Katakana. One of the most fun things was getting to feed and cuddle with all the deer that roam around Nara Park, and whose spirits are believed to protect the city at night.

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Marie – Germany

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Marie
Class standing while abroad: Junior
Other activities on campus: Kappa Delta Pi – International Honor Society in Education, Student Pennsylvania State Educators Association, Council for Exceptional Children
Country where you studied abroad: Marburg, Germany

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Anthony – Russia

Anthony is a senior English major with a concentration in Linguistics. Anthony spent a spring semester in Russia where he got to study the language, learn more about the literature and culture. During his time there, Anthony also took three courses at St. Petersburg State Polytechnic University.
“My experience in St. Petersburg was a lesson in how looking at the world with a different perspective can mature you as a person and give you a clearer sense of your own culture.”
If you are looking for a challenging but incredibly rewarding experience, and if you’re the sort of person who likes to find overwhelming beauty in odd places, Anthony encourages you to consider studying in a place that Winston Churchill once called “a riddle wrapped in a mystery inside an enigma.”

Sharing global stories from the Millersville University community

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