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   A Memorial University of Newfoundland Publication

June 26, 2003
Student View

The drive to hit the road

Brian Hammond

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


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