As the semester comes to a close, honors students who have spent the past few months abroad share what they have learned, how they have grown, and how they feel about their decision to study abroad!
“It's hard to even wrap up a studying abroad experience into just a few sentences. Studying abroad has allowed me to grow as a young adult in my independence. From overnight trains and missing flights to watching sunsets at Piazzale Michelangelo in Florence and riding bikes through London at 2 am, you notice how amazing this world is. Studying abroad has opened my eyes to making new lifelong friendships, being grateful for all opportunities at hand, seeing history across the world, and traveling the world with my eyes and mind open. After this semester, I know that I am able to be on my own in foreign countries with language barriers. I know that I can handle travel while still balancing five classes. I know that I am a successful and confident young adult that will be able to handle and succeed in the real world.”
- Sadie Jung, Florence University of the Arts, Italy
"Ever since my first visit to Ireland, the country has felt like home, and spending a semester living and studying here has only reinforced that sense of belonging. From weekend visits around and outside of this island nation to my classes and the friends I've made, I couldn't recommend the study abroad experience more. It's a chance to get out of your comfort zone – maybe even finding a new one in the process – to discover who you are at your core."
- Aisling Jelinski, St. Patrick’s College, Ireland
“I am very happy that I decided to study abroad. I am blessed that I was afforded this opportunity because it has
given me the ability to learn more about the world and myself. My worldview has completely shifted, and it is much less ethnocentric as a result of my time abroad. I think that this has been the most positive and beneficial outcome of my experience. Studying abroad was one of the best decisions I have ever made.”
- Olivia Johnson, La Fundación José Ortega y Gasset, Spain
“Studying abroad has given me numerous and valuable lessons. Some have been practical, like knowing what to look for in a hostel (free breakfast or dinner or free walking tours - yes, please!), looking at all available forms of transportation (train, bus, plane, taxi, walking), and wearing layers to cope with the oft-dramatic changes in temperature between the morning and afternoon in Spain. Others, perhaps the most important, have to do with how I live my life in general: I've learned to give more attention and appreciation to the everyday blessings in my life, to worry less about the everyday annoyances and worries, to recognize my privileges and my limits more clearly, and to be more accepting of differences and "oddities," both in myself and in others. Most of all, I think I've come to learn these two cliché lessons: 1) life often does go on despite what seem like awful mistakes we or others have made and 2) everyone messes up and feels like the most idiotic person in the world sometimes. Studying abroad has expanded my physical and mental horizons forever, and I am, and hope to always be, grateful for it and better as a result of it.”
- Alex Gruber, La Fundación José Ortega y Gasset, Spain
“No matter how outgoing you are or how thrill seeking you are, studying abroad is life changing. It doesn't matter if you fully engage yourself in another culture or you just sit on the sideline and watch, even the little things are amazing. From Mondaye (the Norbertine abbey in northern France) to playing a pickup game of 2v2 volleyball with some random Spaniards on the beaches of Barcelona to four-wheeling in the Sahara desert, how can I not change? Good or bad, close to or far from expectations, an experience is an experience and in my opinion, every experience is a good one. Studying abroad has only solidified this idea. What is there to complain about when I am living such a blessed life. Much thanks and much love to all those who have supported me or who have been involved in my life in some way.”
- Adam Strube, La Fundación José Ortega y Gasset, Spain