Study Abroad to Experience the World

Study Abroad to Experience the World

Experiencing Scotland 


My first study abroad experience, as well as my first time out of the country, was in Scotland on a Cooperative Center for Study Abroad (CCSA) trip. Because I had never been out of the country, I was not quite sure what to expect. I had always wondered what it was like to live in another country, and in most aspects, day-to-day life was pretty similar to that of the U.S. 

The cities themselves, however, were very different. In Edinburgh all of the streets are cobblestone; most of the buildings are made of stone; and right in the center of the city is a huge castle. There are some things in Scotland that you just cannot find in the U.S. and there is nothing even to compare them to. Scotland has been around much longer so there is so much more history; there are castles and churches still standing that were built hundreds of years before our country even existed. 

The landscape and climate is very different as well. It is quite a bit north, so even in the summer the temperature highs are only in the 50s. I did not know anyone attending prior to the trip, but I think that may have been one of my favorite aspects. I was able to make so many new friends from different schools. I think if I had gone with an established group of my friends, I would have missed out on the opportunity to make so many new aquaintances. 

Overall this was a very humbling experience; when you go outside the country you get to see the U.S. from another perspective. One of my favorite things to do while I was there was to ask the locals to do an American accent. I never really thought about it, but they spoke English first, so we are really the ones with the accent! Have you ever heard a Scottish person do an American accent? For anyone thinking about studying abroad, I highly recommend it. 

Experiencing Greece 


At the time I am writing this, it has been 58 days since I’ve returned from Greece and there hasn’t been a day when I haven’t thought of and missed that country. It was my first time traveling overseas, first time on a plane, on a ship, first time being gone for so long (five weeks) but it only took getting into the hotel our first night in Athens for me to settle into a new world. 

Five weeks sharing a small room and bathroom with two other students I had never met before joining the Kentucky Institute for International Studies (KIIS) program gave a lot of perspective as to how little space a person really needs in order to be comfortable! The food was the best I have ever had, which was good as that was what I was primarily nervous about prior to the trip. I found it difficult to revisit restaurants as there were so many others to try. 

Above everything else, the sight of the Acropolis outside our hotel every day we were in Athens, the shoreline of every island and coastal town in which we stayed, the mountains dotted with houses and farms across the mainland, the small businesses lining the streets, and the astonishing presence of ancient buildings and sites everywhere we visited will remain in my memory for as long as I live. 

Experiencing France 


I had the opportunity to go to Paris with Thomas More, which allowed me to experience so many new and exciting things. We had an amazing group and I was able to make many new friends to share these experiences with. Some of the experiences were going to museums, such as the Orsay Museum, the Louvre, and the Centre Pompidou Museum, where we were able to experience different paintings and sculptures that we had seen and learned about in class. Imagine viewing the actual Mona Lisa, Venus de Milo, Van Gogh self-portraits, as well as many other astounding pieces. 

This trip hit so much that Paris has to offer, from seeing the gorgeous countryside at Claude Monet’s gardens in Giverny, to astounding monuments like the Eiffel Tower, Les Champs-Elysées, and the Arc of Triumph, to breathtaking religious buildings like Notre-Dame and Sainte-Chapell, and so much more. What made this trip even more special was having Professor (Florence) Dwyer with us. She was able to show us parts of Paris that many tourists may not know to take advantage of, such as the metro (the Paris subway), lining up private tours, and finding quaint restaurants and delightful bakeries. She could give descriptions of everything we were seeing and experiencing. From history, to artwork, to scenery and cuisine, and even providing a great opportunity to practice one’s French, this Paris trip offered everything one would hope to experience while abroad. This trip is one that I will never forget and will always treasure!