Studying abroad is an experience that a number of college students look forward to incorporating into their 4-year plan.
Whether it be through the obstacles of prior obligations, money or seemingly just not having a lot of time in their academic schedules, some students cannot commit to an entire semester abroad.
These obstacles do not mean you are inevitably stuck in the U.S. for the duration of your college experience. Salisbury University offers various opportunities for mini-mesters and programs offered in winter and summer terms. This gives students the opportunity to travel without such large time and money constraints.
Junior Julia Mann took advantage of SU’s study abroad program this winter as she traveled to Edinburgh Scotland to study communications.
“I always have wanted to study abroad and coming into college I wanted to study abroad for a whole semester, but I ended up really enjoying my time here at Salisbury, so I didn’t want to leave for an entire semester,” Mann said.
Mann decided to go on the Scotland study abroad trip because it was a 2-week program offered over winter break.
Going across the country to a place where you know no one, and nothing about the culture can be scary. Having never been out of the country, Mann was set on choosing an English-speaking country to “lessen the culture shock” and “make things easier.”
Despite sharing a common language, Scotland displayed a great deal of differences in comparison to the U.S.
“People-wise there’s a much greater presence of national pride in Scotland, and definitely a unity within the country and I feel like that’s something that we don’t necessarily see in the U.S. just because we are such a diverse country,” Mann said.
Mann also explained that the Scottish overall seemed to be more open-minded, welcoming and generous.
Mann’s favorite part of the trip was being able to travel and bond with her peers, along with appreciate all the unique architecture and history of the three castles that the group visited.
To those who have not studied abroad and are thinking about it, Mann highly recommends it based off of her new perspective on the world following her trip.
“Anything that gets you outside of your comfort zone is good for you, but especially being able to study abroad you’re learning in a new place which is extra outside of your comfort zone,” Mann said.
“And it just gives you the opportunity to see from other perspectives and realize that what you’re used to isn’t all that’s out there. I think everybody should travel.”
Senior Jay Howlin never felt the need to leave SU for an entire semester, but also was intrigued to learn in another country.
This past winter Howlin packed his bags and traveled to Mumbai, India for three weeks and was able to fulfill his internship credits while taking in a plethora of worldly experiences along the way.
One experience that particularly stood out to Howlin was the looting monkeys who were not afraid of people in the slightest and took no shame in breaking into rooms, going through bags and stealing whatever they wanted.
“It wasn’t funny at the time, but looking back on it it’s pretty funny,” Howlin said. “A monkey, specifically a Macaque, broke into my hotel room and went through my backpack and stole my candy.”
According to Howlin, monkeys are sacred in Hinduism, so they are protected from the dangers of poaching.
“They kind of know that they’re untouchable,” Howlin said. “They’ll steal your stuff that isn’t food and they’ll try to barter until you give them a water bottle or something like that.”
Aside from the stealing monkeys, Howlin revealed that his experience in India was eye-opening in the way that the experience was all-around very humbling.
“We went in pretty amazing living conditions for what they have in India, and it still would not be considered as comfortable as living here,” Howlin said. “We ate off of Mango leaves one day – we were served out of coconuts by hand by this man who never looked like he’d seen a shower before.”
One highlight of the trip included seeing the Konark Temple of the Sun God which was a lost temple rediscovered during British Imperialism that the Hindus would pray to in hopes of healing their leprosy.
“There’s nothing like being submerged in a completely different culture, not speaking the language and then spending an extended amount of time there. It’s a lot different” Howlin said.
“I’d always known about third world poverty, but I’d never actually experienced it with my own eyes ... The only word I really have for it was humbling.”
Junior Rachel Colliton’s trip was similar to Howlin’s in the way that her trip was also in a more impoverished area. It was another experience that opened her eyes to how different life can be in another country.
Colliton studied International Business in San José, Costa Rica. Her trip included tours of various businesses including a chocolate production farm and a pineapple production farm.
“I really like the chocolate factory,” Colliton said. “Just seeing how cacao is made first hand and tasting that compared to a Hershey bar — it's such a big difference because cacao is not sweet at all. So, seeing that difference was like the coolest thing.”
On the days that they weren’t learning about the Costa Rican business world, Colliton was able to take in breathtaking views while touring San José. The group took excursions to the rainforest as well as went ziplining, horseback riding, experienced mud baths and sail boating.
Colliton said she would go back to Costa Rica without a doubt because of how much can be learned through the experience as well as how memorable the times she had abroad were.
“It’s definitely cool to just see the culture difference, and then learning in a different country is just a bigger learning experience because you’re not just learning in the classroom,” Colliton said. “You are learning by just walking on the streets and talking to the citizens.”
By CAROLINE STREETT
Gull Life editor
Featured photos: Julia Mann, Jay Howlin and Rachel Colliton images.