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.


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.


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.


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.


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!


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!)


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!


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.


Kiara – Chile

I originally wanted to attend a university in Spain. However, I was working two jobs while taking five courses. I did not have the time to focus on applying to a non-MU program.   I made the solid decision to attend Chile’s Spanish program at PUCV after digging deeper into the country’s rich history.


My goal was to improve my written and spoken Spanish language abilities.  I am glad to have taken a class in academic writing, grammar for foreigners and communication. By the end of the semester abroad, I could comprehend Spanish structurally and produce an acceptable research paper.


I visited Pablo Neruda’s home in Valparaiso, volunteered as a dog walker, ran along the beach, attended karaoke night with my host family, danced at social clubs, participated in class trips to visit human right museums in Santiago, attended the annual Mil Tambores festival in Valparaiso, enjoyed the view of the ocean, studied at FIKA cafe, watched street performances, visited El Reloj de Flores, hiked at La Campana, went sand boarding at Las Dunas, and so much more!


Also, I didn’t do much research on excursions beforehand because I thought traveling would be overly expensive. However, it turns out bus fare was cheap and airplane tickets were often on sale. Students would often form groups to organize trips. In Chile, I visited Santiago, Valparaiso, Vina Del Mar, Quilpue, San Pedro de Atacama Desert, Arica, Puerto Montt, Puerto Vara, Frutillar, and Chiloe Island. Also visited three sections within Buenos Aries of Argentina and entered Tacna in Peru.


I encourage any student to study abroad! Life abroad is an incredible chance to grow. In my experience, I conquered my fear of heights and found an appreciation for nature. You know… after studying abroad, I also found myself to have gained a surge of confidence. I would advise anyone interested in studying abroad to do their research early. Then, open a savings account as soon as possible to save for out of pocket costs. Also, be patient and ask questions.

Christina – Global Interest

When I was an undergraduate student I was undecided and I took a general education class on Chinese history. The professor was the advisor for the Asian Studies Majors and he convinced me to declare based on my interest in the class. This turned into me studying Japanese, studying abroad in Japan and China, teaching in South Korea after graduation, and then led me to work in International Education following my graduation from graduate school.

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One of my favorite projects to work on is the CHEPD 1+2+1 program. The Sino-American Cooperation on Higher Education and Professional Development 1+2+1 program is a dual degree program. CHEPD is run by the American Association of State Colleges and Universities (AASCU) and the Center for International Educational Exchange (CCIEE) under the Ministry of Education in China. As part of this program, I work with a consortium of 100+ Chinese universities and 25 US universities to offer programming and opportunities for faculty and staff exchange. I’ve been working with this particular institutional partner for three years and I have made many friendships around the world related to this one program.

I learned that a group of people who are passionate about international exchange can create amazing programs in a few short years when universities and organizations pool their resources. Learning from the AASCU and CCIEE representatives gives the coordinators like myself a look into how global politics play a role in micro level exchanges.

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There are thousands of international companies in Pennsylvania and even more, with our short distance to Philadelphia, Baltimore, Washington D.C. and New York City, our students have opportunities to work with a lot of international companies, businesses, consulates, etc. that students must gain global skills to be competitive with their peers for these careers. Our faculty and staff on campus must also teach these skills because of this demand on increasing international and global positions.

I went to university with a lot of students that were not able to do an international experience while they were a student and spent years talking about how they regretted it. DO NOT let opportunities pass you by. Even after graduation, I had opportunities to work abroad which led me to where I am now. Go for it!

Dr. Tim Shea – Kenya

I used to live abroad and so I know how much those experiences revolutionized my thinking about the world. I want that to be the same for my students. Currently, I am on a leave of absence from teaching at MU so that I can teach abroad again and introduce my own kids to the thrill of learning in a new culture. As a teacher educator, I hope this experience will shape me in new ways as I am experiencing what my teachers in training will be.

So far, I have directed the Middle School play, The Fantastic Mr. Fox, have chaperoned 6th grade students on a three-day service/cultural learning trip to Lake Nakuru, and started a men’s book club, a middle school Philosopher’s Club, and a men’s Bible study. This is on top of teaching middle school Social Studies and high school English.

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I have learned to see time in a new way. Time goes at a different pace here in Africa and I am learning patience when events do not start on time and getting almost anything done here takes longer than I am used to. I have also been learning the different ways my students from different cultures learn, what they value, and how they relate to each other. It’s amazing how different it can be and how important it is to laugh at myself when I don’t quite get it right.

Global education is important because it helps remove one’s misconceptions of different cultures and teaches one to be more flexible and forgiving when your ideas of what is the right way to do things is upended. It’s a valuable way to have a deeper understanding of the world.  Any faculty or staff should consider getting involved with Global Education as it helps to dust off the cobwebs of their teaching and can even invigorate it! They and their students will never be the same again after these kinds of international experiences.

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I hope more MU faculty and students will take the plunge to learn and to teach abroad, especially in more challenging locations as it could be a vital part of their growth and development as individuals. I especially encourage teachers to go for an extended time with their families. I will find it hard to leave Kenya as my children are thriving in ways I did not imagine would be possible.