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The Traveling Flock: Salisbury University students go abroad

Three-hour lectures, labs and studying among the same boring classrooms day in and day out can get old quickly.

The ancient texts you read about in a textbook are just simply not as exciting as the real thing. Imagine packing your bags and flying across the country to the place of origin, to truly immerse yourself in that culture.

Well, at Salisbury University, you don't have to imagine it. You can do it.

SU is committed to making your years here at school as culturally immersive as possible, and with a wide variety of educational programs around the globe, ranging from London to Hong Kong, the opportunities and places you'll go are endless.

Despite the exciting opportunity to study abroad, many students turn it down due to time constraints of graduation or jobs and concerns of the costs involved. SU provides a median solution to this issue through its winter and summer abroad program, in which the participating students travel for a "mini-semester."

SU senior Julia Barrett is one of the many students to capitalize on the advantageous abroad program. In the summer of 2019, Barrett embarked to the country of Peru and was able to fulfill her scholarly requirements in ways she didn't previously think were possible.

Students who are looking into the pathway of studying abroad are fearful of their studies not being adequately fulfilled; however, Barrett found that the course she took fulfilled her in ways SU had not.

As an international relations major and Spanish minor, Barrett took courses within the realm of political science and Spanish. Barrett found that she was able to understand a completely new perspective on both of these subjects.

“The ability to learn Spanish from native speakers helped me more fully immerse myself in the language,” Barrett said.

Barrett also discussed the difference within the curriculum of her political science course.

“The course was taught from the Latin American political spectrum, which led me to a better understanding of global politics,” Barrett said.

Julia Barrett posing at Machu Picchu in Peru.

Though students are blessed to be able to study historical sites and the effects they have on their remaining people, the ability to view these firsthand is seemingly incomparable.

Barrett found herself to be enthralled with the Peruvian culture and divulged that she was able to connect to her minor in Spanish at a more intimate firsthand basis. With a particular interest in the ancient civilization of Machu Picchu, Barrett's hike to the overlook of the town only reinforced her admiration.

“Although I spent years reading on Machu Picchu, the ability to be exposed to its origin and the surrounding culture has given me a whole new understanding of the country and its inhabitants,” Barrett said.

The skills that are absorbed by students who participate in these trips have the ability to not only advance your scholarly abilities, but are ones that can be exercised throughout your career pathway.

SU senior Eva Fialkowski accompanied Barrett in the study abroad to Peru, and she found the trip to be beneficial to future career plans.

After graduation, Fialkowski plans to pursue a pathway in teaching English as a second or foreign language to students, and she found that her studies in Peru were advantageous in ways that our university could not solely provide.

“As a future ESOL teacher, I am now able to communicate with my Spanish-speaking students during my SU student teaching internship,” Fialkowski said. “I find myself using the language more than I thought I would in the United States and helping my students to acclimate to a new culture and language.”

Julia Barrett and Eva Fialkowski pose with alpacas in Peru.

Whether one is posing with alpacas or hiking up mountain peaks, the ability to interact with people of differing cultures tends to invoke lifelong skills.

The idea of going into a foreign country with no connection to the inhabitants or culture was the cohesive fear among some students who have not been abroad. Although the idea of this can be frightening, students such as Kayla McGinn found that the experiences that are absorbed within are incomparable to the apprehension she held.

McGinn spent winter break of 2020 traveling throughout Costa Rica and found that nothing could replace the experiences she and her classmates underwent.

One particularly memorable experience McGinn recalled was her hike to Monteverde, which is known as the “Forest of Clouds.”

Kayla and her classmates pose for a picture while taking in the "Forest of Clouds" on Monteverde.

The pictures that were taken among her classmates are seemingly incomparable to the true beauty of the landscape, as she states that nothing could trump the view of a world that was so different from her own.

Many students are on the fence on the decision to study abroad, and if you are one of those people, this article could be your deciding factor.

SU student McKayla Lyons, who over winter break traveled to Cuba, puts these fears to rest when asked of her decision.

“Studying in Cuba gave me the opportunity to experience the world in a way that was foreign to my everyday life, and anyone who is debating on traveling should go for it,” Lyons said.

This decision is not one to be taken lightly and likely fills up the brain with questions to debate. Don’t fear! Contact the Salisbury University Senior Study Abroad Adviser Ronald Dziwenka at or call 410-677-5027. Safe travels!



Staff writer

Featured images from SU students.

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