It’s time to broaden my horizons, I thought.
A well-rounded individual is just that: rounded. So, I hit
the Internet button on my old but faithful IBM and imagined
myself zigzagging across Europe. I started asking questions.
How to experience the great big world, I wanted to know.
Now is the time for growth and exploration. There has never
been, nor will there ever be, a better moment to travel than
while we’re students. Airfares are relatively cheap
and so are youth hostels. They have to be.
But look to your school first. Memorial has many programs
to help, and with a bit of hard work, anyone can add well-travelled
to their CV.
This summer, 22 lucky students will visit the oldest university
in Germany, Heidelberg. The class participates in an Internet-based
virtual tour that teaches practical tools like how to read
German restaurant or road signs. From there they will spend
four weeks exploring the landscape, language, schools and
surely a few of the many pubs in Heidelberg.
If you’re thinking what about the cost, you’re
right to question. These study-abroad courses are not cheap.
They can run thousands of dollars. Nevertheless, students
anxiously wait for semester change and the start of class.
Some are pensive, trying not to think about it while working
and studying this term, others are obviously exited, almost
giddy. MUCEP positions or scholarships are often available.
If you’re taking enough courses, Student Aid will contribute.
But desire is absolutely necessary.
Greg Roil, a psychology major, will study at Harlow this September.
He’s working two jobs now, trying to get another MUCEP
position for the trip and despite the heavy load, is ecstatic.
Already Greg’s considering teaching English in the Orient
after graduation in April.
Though students are expected to study while they’re
away (regular courses are in progress throughout these journeys)
there is still plenty of time for socializing. Tina Hoddinott,
a history major who went to Harlow in 2002, remembered the
many friends she made while partying in Harlow's pubs. During
the three months she spent abroad, Tina visited Brussels,
Ireland and Normandy. She even spent a night on a farm in
Belgium. The whole experience cost her $10,000, which she
paid for with a student loan, Millennium scholarships, a MUCEP
job, working in a grocery story and even babysitting. But
in spite of the hard work she said that she would do it all
again, if given the chance.
I’ve heard once you start globetrotting it’s hard
to stop. Some students really go for it, making new friends
and international contacts along the way. And since the world
is just a click away, keeping in touch is easy. That’s
just what Cheryl O' Keefe, a recent graduate, is doing. Her
French degree and anxious motivation to see [her] Irish friends
landed her a position as an assistant English teacher in the
Academy of Grenoble, France, through the Centre International
D'etudes Pedagogiques (CIDP). Both Cheryl and her friend Bruce
White, a history graduate who’s planning a teaching
career, and another new CIDP employee, are eagerly awaiting
adventure in South France. Bruce’s education degree
will be on hold, once he starts teaching Oct. 1, but as he
told me, “Though it's a year off school, it’d
look super on a resumé.”
This campus, though it’s fantastic, can only take us
part of the way. We need experiences, some things to never
forget. I wasn’t sure what to expect when I began researching
for this article. But I know there’s a great big world
out there and I just might decide to hit the road.
For more on Memorial’s study abroad programs, see