Why did you choose to study abroad?
Taking classes abroad and getting exposure to a new culture was something strongly encouraged by my family. After hearing the stories from both my siblings and my mother of their studies abroad I knew it was something I was interested in. I knew it was one time in my life that I could spend an extended time immersed in another country while fulfilling class requirements needed for school. It was too good of an opportunity not to take advantage of.
How did you choose the country you went to?
My initial concern was finding an English speaking country. While the accents made the language not always seem like English, Australia was one of the top countries in my list. I also wanted a place that would be very different weather than Grove City so the beach culture in Australia was another contributing factor. Finally I decided upon Australia because it was so far away. With the distance and 15 hour time difference I knew this was a place I would want to go for an extended period of time opposed to just a short vacation.
Share one unique experience that happened while you were abroad.
One fun memory that sticks out from my first couple of days in Australia was an activity set up by my program in New Castle. Our group was taken by jeep into the sand dunes. After traveling for some time over the hills of sand we stopped at a little camper set up seemingly in the middle of nowhere. We all filed out and were handed snow board type things and instructed on how to “surf” down the steep sand dunes. We spent the next couple of hours doing every imaginable position on the boards down the massive hills of sand.
How has it changed you?
Studying abroad helped shape me as a person. I was forced to reconsider many foundational concepts learned from childhood and my environment. My faith was tested, my political views were questioned, and my understanding of how others view America and themselves grew immensely. My eyes were really opened to the different ways that people live and ultimately what is important in life.