“We live in a wonderful world that is full of beauty, charm and adventure. There is no end to the adventures we can have if only we seek them with our eyes open.” – Jawaharial Nehru
After attending and sometimes helping facilitate multiple orientation and informational sessions throughout campus as a representative for Study Abroad, I can recall one question in particular always being asked: “What if I want to go somewhere else? Somewhere not presented through the CBU program?” My answer to this is simple…do it.
While our program is an insightful overview for those who have never been out of the country, I would never want students to feel limited to just those opportunities presented to them. As a senior headed to Washington, DC for graduate school, I have definitely become more cognizant of how competitive our society has become. Because of this increased attitude of determination and eagerness, young adults are surpassing all comfort zones, reaching for prospects on their own accord.
I remember I had the previous question on my mind my freshman year of college. I knew I wanted to travel more, as I had recently become passionate about exploration of cultures outside my own. Therefore, I came by the Study Abroad office and quickly signed on for a trip to Italy the following May.
However, one day when I was reading the CBU Connection (Yes, I actually read the Connection, and you should too for the exact reason I am about to tell you), I came across the tiniest of announcements that read “GYC Rwanda Application due soon” with a link attached. I’m not going to lie — I did not even know where Rwanda was on a map, but for this fact alone I was intrigued. To spare unnecessary details, I ended up applying, got accepted, and was the youngest member of the three-week summer delegation. Although there is no way to truly express how this experience forever altered me as a person within this newsletter, I can provide a hint with my opening paragraph of my Statement of Purpose for graduate school:
“After walking away from my interview with the Mayor of Karongi, Rwanda, a burning sensation ignited within my chest; when asked about the abhorrent conditions of the Potter’s Community, he had simply stated, ‘The problem of Karongi is not a priority… their problems are not our problems.’ It was then, the summer after my freshman year of college, that I knew that I must never have this mindset. With our world becoming more globalized faster than Apple can produce the newest version of the iPhone, our problems are no longer defined by boundaries or geographical borders. Furthermore, my passions are driven by experiences not limited by the mighty Mississippi or the Mason Dixon Line; my fervor is capitalized by tenacious curiosity, underlined by a firm belief in human rights, and emboldened by a yearning to always take the road less traveled. A young Anne Frank once wrote, ‘How wonderful it is that nobody need wait a single moment before starting to improve the world.’”
Needless to say, I caught the fever for fieldwork in third-world countries, particularly ones stricken by genocide and war crimes. I then turned to the most time efficient, informative source every college student would attribute his degree to: Google. I began searching adamantly for volunteer programs, intern scholarships, or perhaps other academic outlets to travel. The summer after my sophomore year I found myself on a plane to Cambodia for six weeks volunteering with a local NGO through IVHQ.
Both of these “outside” involvements helped develop not only my characteristics as a person but also my career path after graduation as much as the CBU curriculum has prepared me. Like the modest GYC announcement, there are chances throughout our campus that do not receive as much visual traffic. I challenge you to read the flyers, read the emails, read the communicative forms freely presented. I always tell freshmen, “What you will get out of college is positively correlated to the amount of effort you put in.”
So, put in the extra effort. It’s okay to think outside the box; the encouraging professors and faculty here would tell you it is preferred! It took me a little bit to research programs, distinguishing those that I thought were legitimate, filling out applications, and taking the necessary actions to prepare for the trip, but how worth it it was.
But because I know what it is like to be a busy college student, here are some of what I have found to be the best international programs if you are eager to go somewhere else besides Europe or Mexico:
Addendum: Ironically, no one at CBU knew anything about Global Youth Connect so how it ended up in the Connection is still a mystery to me. I like to attribute this situation to perfect timing.
— Melanie Horne
AN INTERVIEW WITH REBECCA WAUFORD (Mechanical Engineering ’15)
by Keyara Baltimore
What were you most excited about before the trip?
I was excited for the overall experience. I love traveling and seeing new places and meeting new people, so I was excited about everything, really.
Describe how this study abroad trip has helped further mold your college career and ultimately your life experience in general?
I want to do something with my life that will be able to positively affect the world. I want to help solve the world’s problems. The trip inspired me to look for ways to take what I am studying and try to find a way to help people.
How did the trip affect contribute to a new potential outlook on life?
After I was treated with such kindness, I try to be very welcoming to people who are visiting — from anywhere, not just from out of the country. I also saw just exactly how fortunate we are in the U.S.
What do you feel that you gained while studying abroad through CBU?
Because I studied abroad through CBU, I got to meet other Lasallian students and teachers. The Lasallian connection that we have through CBU is incredible. We have friends all over the world. Also, because the group I was with was so small, we got to know each other, the professor, the people we met, and probably even the places we went, on a much deeper level.
What did you discover about your own culture while on the trip?
I discovered that engineering students internationally have the same personality types. I discovered how blessed we are in the US. I discovered that other countries have healthier (and really yummy!) food choices than we do. In both Mexico and Spain, people were a lot more family-focused. We sometimes take our families for granted in the States.
AN INTERVIEW WITH DR. JAMES ALLEN (Management/Marketing/Economics)
by Keyara Baltimore
How did you get involved with Study Abroad?
When I first arrived to CBU in 2010, I had reached out to Emily, the International Initiatives Director, to let her know that at my prior institution in Nebraska, I was already highly active with study abroad, so I wanted to get involved immediately at CBU. She informed me about the partnership we have with FH Joanneam University in Austria, which offers sport management courses, which is conveniently what I teach.
How are you involved with Study Abroad?
I have gone to Austria and taught at FH Joanneam University three times. This will be the first summer I won’t be going there since I have been at CBU. Additionally, I coordinate a class in Hospitality and Tourism Concentration in which students have the opportunity to travel to Austria to complete that concentration.
Would you recommend Study Abroad?
Absolutely! I wish every student could do it, to be honest. It’s an eye-opening experience, it broadens your horizons, you meet different cultures, and it helps you understand society and the economy on a global scale. It is so beneficial. One could even learn a foreign language as well as try some new foods.
Future Plans with Study Abroad?
I plan to get more students to travel to Austria. I’m trying to find more financial resources for them so that study abroad can be more widely used and financially accessible. Also, I will definitely be back to Austria to teach; however, I have a one-year-old and a three-year-old so I have to give it some time.
Study Abroad is now reserving spots for its wonderful Southern Spain trip for Spring Break 2015. The trip will focus on renewable energy and sustainability. Students will visit a solar plant and a wind turbine facility. They will also see mosques, cathedrals, and synagogues. Stroll through the Generalife Gardens and view a fascinating flamenco show. Students will truly be immersed in the culture and ambiance of Southern Spain. The trip is open to all majors and will count towards a requirement for a sustainability minor. The Business Office is now taking deposits of $200 for the trip. Please let firstname.lastname@example.org know if you are interested or have any questions!
1. You can sleep/relax on the flight. You’ll undoubtedly get annoyed with SOMETHING at SOMEPOINT.
2. No social media binges for the entire trip. …#pssshhhh
3. You won’t stand out as a tourist. Put that Hawaiian inspired shirt back in your bag.
4. People will be welcoming. Some will… some will just chuckle.
5. You’ll get an “early start” in the morning. One more snooze…it’s vacation after all, right?
6. You’ll pick up on some of the language. Besides “yes,” “no,” and “Where is the bathroom?”
7. Kilometers are pretty much the same as miles. They never have been and never will be.
8. All decisions will be made with a clear state of mind. Wait, what?
9. You’ll stay in touch with the people you met in the hostel. It’s the novelty effect, and you’ll forget all of their names within the year.
10. You’ll master the country’s hottest dance moves. Your hips may not usually lie, but they are now because they don’t speak the language.
11. You’ll have one of those “best night ever” moments. You can’t predict these, yet you still have hope every time.
12. “We’ll come back!” Again… one can always hope.
13. You’ll “quickly” check in with someone back home. Make that a two-hour conversation.
14. Oh, it’s not that expensive! Your conversion rate is off. Try that math again.
15. This is such an authentic restaurant! Without fail, each trip will include a touristy munching spot that you’ll get sucked into and cannot avoid.
16. You’ll try all the delicacies. But when you hear what they are… maybe not.
17. Calories don’t exist on vacation. As Pooh says, “What could be more important than a little something to eat?”
18. You won’t enter a food coma. This will inevitably happen at least once because everything’s just so yummy.
19. These souvenirs will make great gifts. And then you keep them all for yourself.
20. You’ll accomplish everything on your itinerary. You overbooked yourself, but in the end, it’s OK because what you did do was totally the right decision.
21. Every detail of this trip will be engraved into your memory. You probably won’t remember half of the things that happened, but that’s what photos and friends are for.
22. You won’t be sad to leave. False. A good vacation rarely equals a happy departure back home.
23. You’ll never visit this place again. Wrong. If you loved it, you’ll be back eventually. Until then, just relax and repeatedly scroll through your pictures.
Adapted article from the BuzzFeed community
I don’t know about you, but I am slightly obsessed with BuzzFeed articles… those randomly intriguing publications concerning the most relatable aspects of one’s life that we may not realize almost everyone experiences. Through some late night insomniac iPhone scrolling, I had come across a few articles regarding travel and studying abroad that I thought would be good to pass along because I couldn’t have conveyed it better myself…
(Disclaimer: Some of these are genuinely knowledgeable or helpful, while others are just for mere humor.)
• 18 Things Americans Studying Abroad in Europe Say, and What They Really Mean
(Because When in Rome…)
• Travel Secrets You Need To Know (When should you really buy your plane ticket?)
• 22 Travel Trends to Look Forward to in 2014
• 12 of the Best Places to Study Abroad (Warning: You’ll never want to come home.)
• 19 DIY Projects for the Travel Obsessed
by Melanie Horne
I am often flooded with questions about my experiences abroad. Therefore, I thought I would include a journal entry from my time spent in Italy this past summer. While it is impossible to gain as much insight from reading versus firsthand experience, I hope this opens your mind and broadens your awareness of the world outside our own.
Friday, June 21, 2013
“I had been looking forward to visiting the Amalfi Coast all month. Some say it’s always necessary to take a little vacation for a vacation. Driving into the Province of Salerno, I was unaware that it is the second most populated region in Italy. Judging from the location, I figured these islands became pertinent for their coastal trading. Yet, why is it that this particular coast is more famous than any other in the country? After some research, I found that the Amalfi Coast was actually popularized by a single fan — the writer John Steinbeck published a short story/article entitled ‘Positano’ in Harper’s Bazaar in 1953 and made everyone aware of its coastal splendor.
The highlight of my weekend was a trip to the Blue Grotto (Grotto Azzura). From our tour boat, we were transferred to a smaller rowboat, only seating five people. The rowers instructed us to literally lie down in the canoe-like construction. I soon realized the reason for this extreme precaution.
Upon the arrival to the Grotto, one could only enter and exit through a minuscule entryway — so small that the rowers had to lean back, held up only by the support of a chain that helped reel us into the cave. Once inside, I didn’t even notice the surrounding boats or the close proximity of the cave walls. The piercing blue color ignited within the depths of the water is a mystery to the senses. How can something this beautiful be hidden within the confines of a mountain?
Our rower allowed us to “fall out of the boat,” letting us dive into this earthly wonder. While wading, between bursts of thrill and adrenaline, pangs of guilt also came to mind. I too had just succumbed to a wave of tourist influence, obstructing the grotto’s natural beauty for the envied experience of saying I had left my mark. I suppose I can blame Christopher Columbus for this idea.”
by Jahleel Nelson (in Austria at FH Joannuem)
I was initially nervous about traveling by myself to a country that I knew nothing about. They speak German in Austria, so there was the issue of language barrier. Furthermore, I was nervous about my courses (i.e., difficulty, curriculum, professors, etc.)
In fact, I didn’t actually choose Austria! I am studying Business Administration with a concentration in Hospitality and Tourism Management. The Hospitality concentration is fairly new to CBU’s School of Business, and CBU has a partner school in Bad Gleichenberg, Austria called FH Joannuem. In order to graduate with the Hospitality concentration, you must attend classes at FH Joannuem for a semester to receive your electives.
Bad Gleichenberg is much smaller than Memphis — maybe 2,000 people in the entire town. They love pork like us, yet they are more health-conscious. Furthermore, since the town is so small, everyone walks! The similarities between Memphis and Bad Gleichenberg are that everyone for the most part is really nice and friendly, the radio stations play American music, and everyone knows Elvis Presley. My favorite experience thus far has been meeting new people everyday. I have hour-long conversations about America, Memphis, and CBU with people who are amazed by what life is like in the U.S.
Study abroad is not just a period where you just go to school in a different country — it’s much more than that! The opportunity to learn about a culture that’s different from your own is one of the greatest things you can experience. Study abroad gives you the chance to find out who you really are as a person. Meeting new people, trying new food, sightseeing, and traveling to other countries are some of the perks as well!
— Jahleel Nelson (Business Administration ’16)
by Abigail Stovall (in N. Ireland at St. Mary’s University College)
I was a bit nervous to travel abroad. I had been out of the country before, but never for an extended period of time — and especially not by myself. I chose Ireland because my favorite literature teacher in high school, Susan Berry, introduced me to the world of Celtic mythology, James Joyce, Seamus Heaney, W. B. Yeats, and many others. The opportunity to be able to see ancient Irish archeological sites like Newgrange and Tara, while having access to the Queens University library and online archives, was not one I could pass up. Additionally, I was excited for the opportunity to take international business courses in Ireland, to learn how European economies emerged out of post-soviet Europe.
My favorite thing thus far has been the Literary and Scientific Society (also called Literific), which is the Queen’s University debating society. I was able to ask the students in Literific questions about Northern Ireland’s politics and listen as they spoke wisdom. The last Literific debate was actually held at Stormont, where Members of the Legislative Assembly (MLAs) from Northern Ireland’s biggest political parties participated in the evening’s debate. After this, there was a cocktail hour with the MLAs.
This experience was invaluable to me as an aspiring law student, interested in international law and politics. When I think about it, I cannot even believe I have shared in this experience. It is truly an honor to stand with these Queen’s students and converse and debate. I have tremendous respect for the Literific. I look forward to bringing back some of what I have learned and implementing it into CBU’s own fabulous Debate and Law Society.
To any incoming student, I would say to make you sure you read about Northern Ireland’s culture before you come here. To fully engage with these people, you must understand their past. Additionally, put yourself out there. People are extremely friendly; you can’t take yourself too seriously. My experience has been incredible so far. It is such a blessing and amazing learning opportunity.
— Abigail Stovall (English for Corporate Communication ’16)