All posts by ckinney

Taylor – France

I studied at l’Université de Caen in Normandy, France for a semester. I chose this program because I wanted to improve my French language skills, as well as explore the French culture and meet new people.

My personal goals from this experience were to meet new people, gain more confidence in myself, and, for once, really step outside my comfort zone. I feel that these goals were met. I met amazing people from all over the world and really pushed myself to break out of my shell- something I never felt ready to do in the past- by participating in more social events and even venturing out alone. For academic goals, I wanted to improve my French verbal and written communication while completing credits for my major. I definitely completed these goals. As for professional goals, I did not really set any before I left, besides maybe having something for my resumé. However, having had so many new experiences, upon my return, I have really begun questioning what direction I would like to go in my professional career.

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At UniCaen, there are many opportunities to participate in excursions around Normandy and close to Paris. I visited Versailles, Monet’s House, Honfleur, Etretat, and also a trip exploring how Normandy’s two finest products were made- cheese and apple spirits. These trips were a great opportunity to learn about France from both a cultural and a historical perspective. The ERASMUS group also hosted social events to meet new people. During my time in Caen, I was also able to participate in the Carneval d’Etudient, the largest student carnaval in Europe. It was a fun day spent with friends, dressing in silly costumes, and enjoying music.

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Students at Millersville should study abroad because there is nothing more beneficial than building a new perspective of the world. I sometimes feel that we get caught up in our own little bubbles that we forget there is a whole world out there that has a ton to offer us in terms of different ways of thinking and living. Studying abroad really places you in that world. You are there simply to learn and explore, meaning leaving behind some of those responsibilities that can sometimes weigh you down at home, giving sometime to reflect on what direction you should take, but through a new pair of eyes. Also, you get to try new things, and from that, find new things you like.

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My advice to students interested in studying abroad is to just go for it. The amount of benefits you reap from this experience is more than you would imagine. I really feel like a new person, with new goals and new views. This experience was priceless. Going to another country is scary and you have to put your life on hold in the United States to experience it, but you will come out of this experience with a different outlook on life and a true understanding of how capable of you are at adapting to a brand new environment.

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Tara – England

  • Tara studied abroad in Oxford, England as part of the MOSAIC summer 2017 study abroad program through Maryville University.

I chose this location for the courses being taught: Brexit and British Politics. I figured, being an International Studies major, there is no way I could pass up the opportunity to study Brexit while in England as this is still an ongoing and persistent issue.

My goals were ultimately to enrich my knowledge on the British governmental system, as well as to push myself academically. This was also a test to myself to travel abroad, alone and with others, and to experience other paths of life. This was a true test to myself. I had many breakdowns and long nights thinking about my future and where to go in my life from here. I had the realization that I want to work in America in a government or humanitarian focused, work to help those abroad. Oxford, and the Bookmillers (Dr. Kirsten Bookmiller and Dr. Robert Bookmiller of Millersville University), pushed me in my thought processes, my activity, and my work. This was an altering experience and I already miss it, the atmosphere, and the people I have met along the way,

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As a part of the MOSAIC program, we went to Blenheim Palace, Stratford On-Avon, London multiple times, had a boat ride on the Thames, etc. As a part of my Bookmiller courses, we went to Parliament, The Welsh National Assembly (gorgeous!), and Westminster Abbey. Everything was so wonderful. We were provided with access to so many wonderful buildings and tours, that would not be so easily accessible to the public on the daily.

It’s our future. What is going on in the world now will affect all of us; we need to experience what will change our daily lives. Furthermore, there is so much beauty for every kind of person in the world! There are beautiful waters, forests, cities, open planes, etc. There is something for everyone in every country. You meet so many diverse, funny, amazing, loving people from all over the world. Study abroad honestly has no drawbacks. Even when you feel you are alone or at a breaking point and missing home, I do not see that as a drawback. That just enhances your gratitude and love for your home and your life back home. That’s such a positive thing and strengthens you as a person, your relationships to those you have left behind, and your whole life. It is all 100000% worth it.

Do it! Why not? I dare you to give me one reason.

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Take advantage of the opportunity. Soon after college, your availability decreases, the cost increases, and your length of stay decreases. Submerge yourself in the world while you have the time. Live in another culture to fully appreciate your own culture. There is nothing wrong about being homesick, but don’t be sick of your home. And to not be sick of your home, you must explore a little.

Study Abroad has given me the best of friends outside of PA (basically all from Illinois), I have new connections, new memories, new loves, and critics about the world. This experience has probably been one of the best I have ever had in my life to date. I cannot wait to study abroad again – studying abroad junior year in Marburg!

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Rose – Germany

I studied abroad in a town called Wurzburg in the state of Bavaria in Germany. I chose this location because it seemed convenient. It sits near the center of Germany and made traveling to many locations pretty easy. It also seemed like it had a good language program and the town sounded beautiful and like a good place to live for a while. I found all the above to be true.

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My number one goal was to drastically improve my German. I definitely was able to accomplish that. Although I am still very far from perfect, I reached a level of competency while I was there that I am quite proud of. I also wanted to step out of my comfort zone socially and learn to be comfortable in situations that I would normally be very uncomfortable in. Here again, I definitely was able to do this even though it was not always easy. I learned to be much more outgoing and talk to people that I barely knew fairly easily despite the fact that I am naturally very introverted and have a hard time approaching people.

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Just in general, through living on my own so far away from home, I grew so much as a person and am so grateful that I was lucky enough to have had this once in a lifetime experience. There was a group of students at the university that I attended who planned lots of fun day trips and weekend excursions. I was able to visit many wonderful towns in Germany and beyond with them as my tour guides and fellow international students from all over the world as my companions. All of those opportunities were wonderful ways to get to know other students and to experience Europe to the fullest. I also did some trips on my own or with a friend. Those were also really amazing experiences. I loved traveling around Europe and just seeing the sights and the people and hearing the foreign languages.

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Studying abroad will force you out of your comfort zone like nothing else can. It is an irreplaceable and indescribable learning experience in so many different ways from the people you meet to the places you see to the history that comes alive around you. It will be far from perfect and there will days when you will feel frustrated and lonely. But it will undoubtedly be worth it all in the end when you can look back and realize how much more knowledgeable and well-rounded of a person you have become through it all. The advice that I would give to any student heading into a study abroad experience is first of all, choose to stay positive. And secondly, take every opportunity that comes along. You will not regret it. The quality of your experience is entirely up to you.

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Hadassah – Israel

I studied abroad in Haifa, Israel for the Spring 2017 semester. I wanted a location a bit more off the beaten path, and Israel appealed to me for its ancient history, as well as for being in a location completely new to me.

My goals in going included stretching myself, gaining a wider perspective of the world, and experiment with living abroad, as it is something I am considering for the long term. The people I encountered taught me so much and I feel like I gained a deeper understanding of topics like conflict in the Middle East, through there’s still much to learn. Furthermore, I loved the independence of living abroad and having to problem solve when situations came up.

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My program took us on field trips almost every weekend, but there was also a lot of opportunity for independent travel. I got to visit the West Bank, Jordan, Cyprus, Turkey, and France.

For other students considering studying abroad, I would highly recommend it. It’s scary and challenging, but it’s the things that push us that cause us to grow. The benefits are so rewarding, from becoming more globally aware, to increased confidence.

My advice to students studying abroad would be to fully embrace the opportunity, event when it’s hard and you feel like holing up in your down room. Get outside, join a club, explore the area, etc. It will go by fast, and there’s so much potential growth and learning that can happen when you’re fully invested.

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Alex – Italy

I studied in Florence, Italy. As an art major with a minor in history my professor last spring really pushed for the Florence program in her classes. I have a real love for art history and I had learned a lot about the Italian renaissance through her classes and I decided that I would check out the program and go from there.

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My goals were to learn to live like the locals, experience works of art like Artemisia Gentileschi’s Judith Slaying Holofernes, Masaccio’s Trinity, and the David. I also wanted to leave being able to say that I learned an incredible amount about the history of Italy and their art. I accomplished all of my goals and then some.

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While in Italy we get to go on options trips to the Amalfi Coast, Rome, Sorento, Sienna, Pisa, Pienza, Montepulciano, and much more. Each new place was different from the last despite being in such close proximity to one another and their traditions changed as well. In Sienna, we got to see children playing soccer beside the church of Saint Catherine. In Assisi, the home of Saint Francis, as well as in Vatican City I got to attend mass. While on the Amalfi coast we got to take gondolas into the blue grotto one of the wonders of the world. I also got to go through the canals of Venice in gondolas while we were in Venice. At the end of it all, I was able to go on another trip into Lugano Switzerland where we traveled through the Italian section of Switzerland and got to hike to massive waterfalls, swim in lakes and streams, and take amazing pictures at the top of mountains.

 

Studying abroad is a life changing experience. Being a way from home is admittedly hard for everyone, not just some but as an individual, you grow much more than you could even imagine by traveling alone.

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My greatest advice is that no matter how much the money may seem like, studying abroad is possible. If you want something badly enough you can achieve it with a little bit of perseverance and struggle. As far as students looking to study in Italy, don’t take large bags, carry around smaller bills, eat all of the gelato that you can, and aperativo starts at 7-7:30 so if you want a cheap meal that’s where you should be!

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Keara – Germany

  • Keara
  • Studied abroad as a junior
  • International studies major
  • German minor
  • Studied Abroad at Philipps-Universität Marburg in Germany

I studied abroad in Marburg, Germany. I chose this location because I have always had a passion to learn more about the German culture and language. Additionally, my study abroad program was a perfect fit as it fulfilled my major and minor degree requirements.

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I had established goals in person and academic areas. In regards to personal goals, I wanted to meet new people from different countries. I yearned to learn their story, exchange stories and experiences, and share experiences with them while traveling various countries. Throughout my time abroad, I had the opportunity of meeting people from a multitude of countries including: Syria, Serbia, Iran, Egypt, Canada, Japan, Russia, Brazil, and Tajikistan. Because of achieving this goal, I have grown as a person, which has allowed me to become more willing to accept and respect people from different countries, cultures, and religions. In regards to academic goals, I was eager to do my very best in all of my courses. Also, I wanted to speak the native language of German as much as possible. I feel that I have successfully completed this goal because I passed all of my classes and became much more fluent in the German language.

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During my time studying abroad, I participated in thrilling trips. In Germany, my culture/history class went on weekend excursions to Hamburg, Dresden, and Berlin. These weekend excursions including many educational, yet fun activities. Out of all three German cities, I would say that Berlin was my favorite because we had the unique opportunity to go on a guided tour of the Reichstag building. Outside of Germany, I travel to Paris, France; Brussels, Belgium; Amsterdam, Netherlands; Zurich, Switzerland; Zadar, Croatia; and Prague, Czech Republic.

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I believe that Millersville University Students should study abroad because it truly helps them develop a global perspective in which they can continue to build upon. Additionally, studying abroad not only allows an individual to learn about other cultures and individuals, but also have the opportunity to learn more about oneself. In all, studying abroad is a positive, life changing experience in which you will create a plethora of unforgettable memories.

The first tip of advice I would give to prospective study abroad students is to believe in yourself and be confident that you can successfully live and prosper in a foreign country. Secondly, do not be afraid to step outside your comfort zone. For example. do not be afraid to travel to new cities, try new foods, meet new people, and experience different customs. Lastly, this is a once in a lifetime experience. Embrace this opportunity with excitement, curiosity, and desire to experience a world that is truly unique.

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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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