My student’s experience was a positive “win-win”: experiencing academic methods and expectations in another country, learning with international studetns, traveling to places of breathtaking beauty and nature’s extremes, budgeting, managing personal safety, responsibility, and accountability, and seeing experiences outside of her intellectual “comfort zone.” Important also was having the opportunity to view our country and educational system from outside the looking glass, essential for our students to experience and learn how to partner in progress with their international peers.
Thank you to NU Study Abroad and staff for a truly once-in-a-lifetime opportunity. – Fall 2011
Navigating a new environment
My daughter, who is a junior, just returned from University of Edinburgh [through The College of Global Studies at Arcadia University] in the fall semester. It seems like it was a great experience all around: learning to find her way around a new city and new country, working within a different academic system (more reliance on independent study during the semester and focused final exams and papers), having opportunities to take classes to which she would not otherwise have had access, and developing self-reliance as she travelled to several other European cities. The only downside was that she missed being on her favorite campus, which is Northwestern. – Fall 2011
Independence and self-discovery
When we first heard our daughter Alyssa’s wish to do the Study Abroad program in Australia, my wife’s immediate reaction was “That’s too far…” and of course, it is. Nevertheless, Alyssa persisted with her plan and we ultimately agreed to let her achieve her goal. She has always enjoyed seeing new places, meeting new people and learning new cultures. And that, she did.
Having traveled often to South America with us to visit her mother’s family as well as made several trips to Spain and France, we expected her to pick one of those areas. Australia however gave her somewhere new to explore, and in particular, the University of Melbourne offered her a very good selection of courses that fit well with her two majors: International Studies and Social Policy.
Because of the way the program is set up, she had to adapt to living independently in an apartment, walk to classes, to extracurricular activities, to grocery stores, to cook her own meals (eating out is expensive); in other words, take care of everything necessary in her daily life, in a foreign city, all on her own. We think she did remarkably well and are proud of her.
During this semester abroad, not only did Alyssa discover the beauty and heartbeat of Australia through academic, social events and excursions, she also learned about herself, her capabilities, her strengths and weaknesses. We feel that this experience has helped her mature and prepare her for moving on in the world.
Participating in the Study Abroad program has been tremendously enriching from an intellectual, cultural and social standpoint. From seeing an opera at the Sydney Opera House, to researching similarities between Australian Prime Minister Julia Gillard and U.S. President Barack Obama, to learning about the Aborigines, to rappelling and hiking the Grampians Mountains, to living in a multicultural city to feeding kangaroos and cuddling koalas.
All in all, it was a lifetime adventure that Alyssa will not soon forget. – Fall 2011