University of Dayton
1. How has your study abroad experience shaped you today?
Personally, I believe every experience, good or bad, shapes who you are. When I went abroad, I did not know anyone and I had never been to my host country, making it a big step out of my comfort zone and naturally providing me with an incredible experience where I learned a lot about myself. The three most influential parts of my study abroad experience include the friends I made, the food I ate, and the language I was immersed in.
My roommate was from China and taught me all about Chinese culture. This gave me an amazing opportunity to not only immerse myself in French language and culture, but also learn about Chinese language and culture. She would say the funniest things at the most unexpected times, handled change effortlessly, and was endlessly kind. I made four other lifelong friendships over the semester. They pushed me to be my best self, expanded my horizons about American culture (as they were also Americans), and were some of the most loving people I have ever met. Most importantly, they shared their faith and reawakened a deeper kind of faith within me.
THE FOOD! Every day we went to the market and get fresh vegetables and fruits. More importantly, the chocolate and bread were to die for and I still drool thinking about them. After four months of a creating a perfect balance of healthy meals and impulsive daily sweets, I ended up being my healthiest self. If you add the amount of walking on top of clean food (of both healthy and unhealthy foods), you will be amazing how your body will change for the better.
Lastly, I improved my French skills after making a couple of French friends and it gave me a new perspective on how to view the world. Have you ever picked up a Bible in other language and tried to understand your favorite verse in a new language? Give it a shot, analyze it, dig deep, and you’ll be amazed how words can be expressed so beautifully.
2. What was your favorite class abroad?
My favorite class had to be "Muslim Presence in Europe" because my professor was energetic, extremely intelligent, passionate, and took us outside the classroom. She was originally from Palestine, then moved to the US where she taught at Princeton, and then moved to France to teach.
In the classroom, her efforts and passion for diverse cultures showed just as much. She did not identify as anyone but herself and did not label herself a certain religion. She spoke only facts about what was occurring outside the classroom with Muslims in Europe, which allowed us students to form our own opinions. She provided us with articles to read, brought up current issues in the news, and took us on three different field trips so we could understand the topic from a variety of angles. She was able to bring her energy everyday to class and enthrall us with her knowledge.