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Giacomo – Italy

I remember my first six months living in the USA—I spoke not a single word of English outside the globally known, “How are you?” and other such phrases. It didn’t hit me up until last year on just how far I have come from the 4th grader who spoke no English. I have a 3.7 GPA in my first two years in college; I’m a dean’s list student; I’m enrolled in COURAGE, a club which sole purpose is to bring community members to become more civically engaged, and I also speak fluent English with not a single trace of an accent (Except for words which contain “th,”)—I know for a fact I wouldn’t be at this point without the help of those who helped me adapt. In the transition period, when I spoke no English, I remember the many helping hands who were willing to sacrifice their time in order to make me feel a part of the holistic group. Other students, teachers, community members, and others all made the transition from Italy to the USA as seamless as the transition could possibly be. Due to this, I have a feeling of being indebted; it is only just that I help those just as I was helped, especially since I’m in a position of being able to connect with individuals going through this adaptation phase, as I went through the identical experience.

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In a position where I’m now able to help, I’ve done so many times. I was a mentor to an Italian foreign exchange student throughout her year of living in the United States—I also taught Italian in all of my four years of being in high school after school through a world language program that my school district offered to all of its intermediate students.

I became interested in international initiatives due to fact on just how influential they were to me whenever I first arrived to the United States. Without international initiatives, I don’t feel as I would be where I am today. Many of these initiatives helped me integrate myself into a foreign land—these initiatives would not be possible if awesome people weren’t behind them. I felt like becoming one of these awesome people, and have done so in many times by taking apart of these initiatives.

I took part in an after-school program which specialized in teaching 4th, 5th, 6th graders about a designated foreign language, along with the culture which is tagged along with it. Coming from Italy, I took it upon myself to introduce Italian to the program, and that I did for my entire time in high school. I also helped a foreign exchange student throughout her entire year spent in America, an experience which made me grow a ton in maturity and responsibility, having to care for someone in that fashion certainly has that affect. For the future, I hope to become involved with the multitude of projects that Global Ambassadors offers, especially the more personal ones they offer with foreign students—I feel those are the most critical for a successful campaign abroad for a foreign exchange student.

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One thing I learned from participating in these programs is just how passionate I, and many others, are about the international community. I never thought that 4th, 5th, and 6th graders would continuously bug me after class was over in order to learn more about the culture and the language. If children can grow a passion and an appreciation for the vast culture and language which world is home to, anyone can. It’s really intriguing how something foreign can form a level of interest in people, something which I have learned from these programs.

Millersville students should get involved with Global Education as it a gateway to anyone who is interested in anything international, be connected to international activities and programs. Knowing about other cultures from around the world only causes one to be more receptive to the diversity which the world houses, along with helping one grow a deeper understanding of others and why they express themselves in a certain manner.

GASSER – EGYPT

My hometown is located in Alexandria, Egypt.

In 2010, I came to the US as an 8th grader and have been here ever since. I have resided in Harrisburg, PA all these years and when it came time for college, I chose to attend Millersville University because it is accredited in my majors (Marketing and International Business) and it also offered the minor that I was looking for (Computer Science). Millersville is also only 45 minutes away from my home in Harrisburg, which made it convenient to move back and forth without having to spend so many hours on the road. Millersville is also very affordable when compared to other universities, yet it offers the same challenging courses as those universities for a much cheaper price tag. Finally, Millersville has a great culture that promotes positive interactions with the local community and raises awareness about international events, diseases, social causes, and so much more, which made me even more excited to attend Millersville.

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In Millersville, I have attended the Barnstormers baseball game at the beginning of the Fall 2017 semester with other international students and it was a great opportunity to meet new people. The highlight of my time here in Millersville so far is definitely the Multicultural Showcase. In the showcase, I was manning the stand for Egypt, where I educated other people on my country, its famous foods, culture, language, and other information that makes Egypt such a unique country. It was a wonderful experience showing people the rich history of my country and having them engaged in the conversation and clearing any misconception that they had about it. I also learned about different cultures there such as Jamaica, Australia, and France among others. The highlight of the showcase, however, were the dancers and musicians that were on the stage during that time. It was delightful seeing different cultures through their music and dancing and I really had a great time in the showcase.

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I came to the US to achieve personal, academic, and professional goals. My personal goals were that I wanted to experience a different country that I have admired ever since I was a child and become more open minded as I, someone from a different country, interact with people here in the US and understand their customs and traditions. My academic goals are that I want to excel in school, obtain my degree with honors, and learn valuable information that I will be able to use for the rest of my life. My professional goals are to work for a global Fortune 500 company in a corporate culture to contribute my international skills and provide a new perspective into the organization. I am working towards these goals everyday by enhancing and diversifying my skill set to make myself a more appealing job candidate and set myself apart from the competition.

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One cultural thing that I learned in the US is how many national holidays are celebrated here! It’s great to see so many occasions where people get together, celebrate, and enjoy their time together with friends and family.

My one thing that I would to share with the campus community is, although I was tempted to, I did not ride camels to school every day. I also did not live in pyramids, but I plan on building my future house in the shape of a pyramid.

In all seriousness, there is a misconception in the US that Egypt is not a safe country, when in fact it is. It is very safe to travel there, enjoy the sights, and experience the rich history and culture through tourism, which operates year round!

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Carmen – Spain

  • Carmen is an international exchange student from Spain
  • She attends Universidad de Burgos

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I came to study at Millersville because my home university organised an exchange with Millersville University.

While at Millersville I learned about: the Amish and went on the Amish trip with Global Education. I visited Washington and Philadelphia. I went to the Fist Friday in downtown Lancaster. I will go to New York also with Global Education.

One new cultural thing I learned is: There is more tolerance in this country.

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What would you like to share with the campus community about your culture or country? I would encourage everybody to travel and visit another countries and cultures.

I am glad to have this opportunity of studying abroad, I am so pleased and I will like to promote the idea of studying abroad.

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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