London, Senegal, Madagascar, and Switzerland

Off-Campus Program Past Participant Contacts

Feel free to contact any of the students listed below to learn about their experiences in their Off-Campus Study programs. If you are interested in a program but you don't see it listed on this page, please email us!

Also, if you have studied off-campus and would like to be listed on this page as a contact for students interested in your program, please contact Shannon Featherstone at or Lezlie Weber at

Christina Sedall

Christina Sedall in Costa Rica

Program: Sustainable Development Studies at the School for Field Studies in Costa Rica

Major/Minor: Art History, Environmental Studies minor

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What I miss most: I miss the life I was surrounded by in Costa Rica. I’m talking about the herds of birds that would sweep over the center four in the morning and the plants that seem to come from the sky. I’m talking about the soil and how it makes everything green and growing or pink and thriving. I miss the leaf cutter ants. Oh! And the powerful rains, I miss those! I miss the people of Poas who invited me into their homes despite my stumbling Spanish. I miss the residents of Uvita. I miss that Sunday at La Sabana park. I miss my fellow students, my professors and the staff of SFS and our home Atenas with my whole being.

I miss the community I witnessed and the life I lived in Costa Rica. I miss the kindness I experienced from strangers and the I’d the people I’d see every morning on their way to work, and utter care I received from families that fed me before even knowing my name. I miss Costa Rican mornings of sun and hummingbirds and oily bean filled tortillas and banana milk. I miss the radio drifting from the guard house at night. I miss the typical Costa Rican food served at sodas.

The people of Costa Rica taught me to get up early. They taught me that you can trust a stranger. That people can just have good intentions. They taught me that being a member of a community means participating in tasks and in life with purpose and joy. It means partaking and being proud in a shared vision. The family of El Toledo Coffee Farm astonished me with their devotion to learning, their devotion to being humbled by new knowledge and their devotion to adapting. They taught me humility and creativity. The people of Poas taught me to ask questions of the people around me, because only then will you understand a person and a place. But probably most great, I attained a feeling while in Costa Rica that I had never felt before. It was like being familiar and comfortable with the place and the people and cultivating this constant contentedness, yet remaining endlessly in awe and in love.

Maybe I won’t achieve exactly that again, but I can say that upon returning to the United States, although it is harder to be in wonder, it has trained me to find wonder in little things, and where I can’t find it, to make it. Since returning, I am highly conscious of my actions. I try to embody my beliefs more than speak them. I am more compassionate and more forgiving. For that, I am forever grateful to those people and to that country.

How my worldview has changed: The summer before I was leaving for Costa Rica was the time that the President of the United States was at the height of his ICE raids, at the height of separating children from their families and jailing them. I was aware that I was going to move seamlessly across borders, when others were dying trying to do so. My privilege was so incredibly apparent in this study abroad experience, amplified by the most recent hate of the President of the United States. And then I was welcomed into Costa Rica as the white, ashamed American that I am, taken care of like family, and that is still astonishing. If that doesn’t speak to the benevolence of Costa Ricans, I don’t know what will.

Keyla Higa

Keyla Higa in Berlin

Program: IES Berlin 

Major(s): Global Studies and German

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What my abroad experience was like: I was paired with a super nice host-family and I spent times with them exploring the city and learn about each other’s culture. Coming to Berlin, I was really nervous about speaking German, but my host family always invited me to share how my day went and I got to practice a lot of speaking at home with them. Not only I speak German in a classroom setting, I also learn from my host family’s friends. We cooked and baked so many things including traditional German food as well as Indonesian food. On that note, I also ate a lot of döner kebab, something one cannot miss when in Berlin!

How my worldview has changed: My experience in Berlin allowed me to learn about the Berlin culture and how to speak German, but it also allowed me to learn more about myself and my own culture. Instead of just learning about Berlin, my host family also wants to learn about my culture and this cultural exchange makes me appreciate the culture I am learning, as well as my own.

McKenzie Fetters

McKenzie Fetters in London

Program: Lawrence University London Centre

Major(s)/Minor: Violin Performance and English dual degree, Creative Writing minor

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What my abroad experience was like: Studying abroad in London was the best time of my life. I learned to navigate one of the coolest cities in the world while educating myself in so many areas. I experienced a unique freedom and independence while living in another country, which has given me confidence and real-world experience. I enjoyed taking violin lessons from multiple professionals, attending concerts and plays at prestigious venues with fantastic ensembles and casts, and I traveling during the mid-term break. (I went to Ireland and Wales.) I would recommend studying abroad to everyone!

What I loved the most: I enjoyed being out on my own and exploring London and surrounding areas. I learned so much from the places I visited and the people I met, and I felt connected to the world, which is larger and more diverse than I ever imagined. Specifically, one of my favorite memories is attending fiddle jams at local pubs in London, where I got to know local Londoners and exercise my fiddle chops in a challenging yet supportive atmosphere.

Stephany Pichola

Stephany Pichola in Salamanca

Program: IES Salamanca - Advanced Spanish Immersion

Major(s):  Economics and Spanish

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What my abroad experience was like: As a first-generation Latina student, being the first of my family to have the opportunity to study abroad was a big deal. My time in Salamanca, Spain was most definitely a life changing experience. It was a great opportunity to live in a foreign country where I could work on both my economics and Spanish majors in a more effective and exciting way. More likely, since an economics major requires a greater cultural knowledge and understanding, a country like Spain that is so culturally rich, has undoubtedly influenced my personal and professional development. My Spanish major was furthered improved by learning and practicing a different kind of Spanish in comparison to Central American Spanish.

What I miss the most: The food, my local friends, and being able to learn about different cultures and values that differ from mine.

What I loved the most: Being able to attend the University of Salamanca and making Erasmus friends from all over the world.

Milou de Meij

Milou de Meij

Program: Bard-Smolny, Russia

Majors: Russian and Piano Performance dual degree

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What I loved the most: I loved the conversations I was able to have and the people I met. The best moments were always the spontaneous ones—meeting a castle guard in a tiny Russian town who let us climb the castle tour and ended up giving my friends & I a local tour or finding myself discussing urban elitism in Russia vs. America at a party with other young Russians. I learned so much linguistically and culturally by just listening, and it was an honor to be able to immerse myself in another culture and hear their stories.

How my worldview has changed: Study abroad helped me become much more confident, flexible, and comfortable with change, thinking on my feet, and throwing myself in new adventures. I was able to really develop my listening skills and really tried to experience Russian culture as openly as possible without letting preconceived notions or judgements keep me from fully learning and experiencing. My worldview has expanded tremendously, and I now carry this new sense of openness with me to every new scenario.


Alice (Manxin) Luo

Alice (Manxin) Luo in Berlin

Program: IES Berlin - Language and Area Studies

Major: History

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What my abroad experience was like: During my time in Berlin I spent about half of my time doing school work and the other half taking ballet classes. I didn't actually expect to spend much time on dance in Berlin but I surprisingly met the best ballet coaches there who have inspired me so much both technically and psychologically that I decided to go back to Berlin later to do more dance training and see if I can do something with my life about it. It was such a life-changing experience that has totally changed my plan.

How my worldview has changed: Berlin is such a dynamic city with people coming from all over the world. In the street you can hear so many different languages that people are speaking and everyone seems to be multilingual, which is very cool. In America I felt an urge to be more American and I tried to deny my Chinese identity to some extent. In Berlin with the diverse population and cultures and a seemingly freer atmosphere, which I personally felt, I learned to accept my identity and even celebrate it and appreciate it.

Aaron Arthur

Aaron Arthur in London

Program: Lawrence University London Centre

Major/Minor: Math, Physics minor with teaching certification

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What my abroad experience was like: Studying in London was a wonderful experience that will truly have an impact on the rest of my life. It allowed me to go out and engage with the diverse, historic city that is London and learn so much about the world we live in. All the classes were great in supporting and adding to this experience – from watching a weekly play performance, to cheering for the local football team, to taking day trips around England. For anyone looking to grow as an individual and learn through engagement, I highly recommend the London Centre program.

What I miss most: I miss engaging in new and exciting things every day. It was very nice to have a term to live more independently in a place that offers just about any experience one could wish for. I also liked being able to always be living and making fun decisions in the moment – be it what famous museum to go to, whether to go for a run by the Buckingham Palace or in a quiet park, and even just what to make or have for the next meal. It was really enjoyable being able to make decisions like an adult in the playground of experiences that is London.

Laura Christenson

Laura Christenson Vienna

Program: IES Vienna

Major/Minor: Psychology, Music minor

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What my abroad experience was like: My study abroad experience was full of those two things: psych and music. I also traveled all over Eastern Europe and spent time exploring as many cities as possible. Vienna also went through three seasons while I was there, so it was full of environmental beauty as well.

What I miss most: I miss experiencing new things every day. Being in a foreign country and traveling almost every weekend, I was constantly seeing things I had never seen before. It’s so hard to choose what I love the most, but I will say that I loved the opportunity to grow and create a new home. I was often a tourist in my own city, and that was a beautiful experience. I also loved the friendships I made. There is something very special about experiencing all these gorgeous new things together. From dancing at balls to getting lost in art museums, from the traditional Viennese coffee houses to the endless gardens and greenery of palaces, each day was something I’ll never forget.

How my worldview changed: My worldview changed dramatically, and though this is a cliche, it made me realize how big the world is. Something we don’t always realize on this small campus is how much there is beyond Appleton or even the U.S. Studying abroad also instilled in me a deep sense of gratitude.

Jessica Robyns

Jessica Robyns Auckland

Program: IES Auckland - University of Auckland Direct Enrollment

Majors: Biology and Environmental Studies

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What I miss most: I miss living in a vibrant, multicultural city. Auckland was the biggest city I've ever been to and I loved that it was full of people from all over the world. There was always something going on in the city and so much delicious food to try! And on the flip side, a short road trip out of the city would take you to breathtaking natural scenery- volcanoes, sub-tropical islands, glowworm caves, beaches etc. It was the perfect combination of natural beauty and city life.

How my worldview has changed: I learned a lot about Polynesian culture and found it fascinating. I realized that the reason I hadn't learned these things sooner was because my education up until then had been very Euro-centric. The Polynesians are the most spread-out of any people, having colonized islands all the way from Hawaii to New Zealand. European explorers didn't believe this at first because they thought it was impossible for the Polynesians to have such advanced navigational skills. The Maori, the indigenous people of New Zealand, have an incredibly rich and beautiful culture, and I was shocked that I had never learned anything about them before coming to New Zealand.

El Goblirsch

El Goblirsch London

Program: Lawrence University London Centre

Major: Chemistry

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What my study abroad experience was like: My study abroad experience expanded my college experience by letting me explore a new culture.

What I miss most: I really miss the ease of travel in Europe and the independence I felt of living on my own in a foreign country.

Maya Guenther

Program: Associated Colleges in China

Major/Minor: Biology, Chinese minor

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What I miss the most: There are so many things I miss about studying abroad in China. They include bubble tea, dumplings, parks, speaking to the locals, travelling, enjoying really fast food delivery service and never being bored on weekends because there were so many new things to see. One thing I am surprised to miss so much is speaking Chinese with my classmates. We bonded through overcoming the language barrier together and I will always cherish our inside jokes in Chinese.

What I loved the most: What I loved the most about studying abroad was the opportunity I had to see China in a way that I will never be able to do if I return as a tourist. I got to travel around China as a student not a tourist (I’m also going to miss getting cheaper tickets because of my Chinese student ID) and feel like a local. As novel things became more routine I really experienced the nuances of Chinese culture and society during my six months there and felt more and more proud of all that I had learned and grown accustomed to as time went by. When my study abroad adventure ended I was so sad that the ability to experience China like that was over. Even though I was still taking classes studying abroad was a chance for me to take a break from college life in the US and really dive into a whole new world. While studying abroad I was always aware that I was going to have to go back home eventually so I really appreciated every second I spent while abroad and it made the experience that much more enjoyable.

Nicole Crashell

Program: IES Freiburg – Language and Area Studies

Major(s): German and Linguistics

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What I miss the most: What I miss most is the sense of adventure all around me. I treasured just walking down the street and seeing a hundred opportunities to try something new, and falling love with a completely new city that offered countless places to explore. Luckily, that experience has taught me how to see my home country with new eyes, but I still miss waking up and knowing that each day would bring something I'd never considered before!

Claudia Arndt

Program: ACM India

Major/Minor: Global Studies, Spanish minor

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What I miss the most: I miss my host family every day, especially my host mom. The bond that I was able to create with her is one that will last a lifetime. My host family really did become like my second family, and I will always be grateful for the opportunity I had to live with them. It is also the best way, (in my opinion) to be fully immersed in the culture of your host country - and the best way to learn as much of the language as you can!

Renae Tuschner

Program: ACM Amsterdam: Sciences, Global Health, and Interdisciplinary Studies

Major(s): Bassoon performance, Neuroscience, and Psychology

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What I miss the most: Out of all of the things I miss about being abroad, I think I miss the city of Amsterdam itself the most. Amsterdam is one of the most beautiful places I could possibly imagine and I miss being able to spend an afternoon wandering around the city visiting museums. I also miss being just a short a short tram ride away from one of the most amazing concert halls in the world. I miss the canals, the flowers, the history, the architecture, and certainly the milder weather!

Xi (Zoey) Lin

Program: Lawrence University London Centre

Major(s): Theatre Arts & Piano Performance

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What my study abroad experience was like: It was truly a fascinating experience. Academically, the work load was quite mild and a large portion of the classes were field trips so that we learned practical things from experience. We had a lot of free time to explore the area as we wanted. As a theatre major student, I saw lots of theatre productions and met a couple theatre makers. I was so satisfying by observing great actors and having dialogues with the professionals. London, in particular, is a city with long history and civilization and they manage to preserve the history and heritage as carefully as possible, so just walking in a place like that was a magical experience.

How my worldview changed: I would say my study abroad experience is life changing. The director of this program as well as my piano teacher in London, in particular, were extremely encouraging that they helped me a lot in building my confidence and being clear and firm about my life goals. In London, I saw people from all kinds of backgrounds thriving and that really gave me inspirations and motivations to become a proactive person.

Trent Guerrero

Program: Lawrence University London Centre

Major(s): Viola Performance and Chemistry (Double Degree)

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What my study abroad experience was like: My study abroad experience was what I expected in some aspects and totally different from what I expected in other aspects. It was slightly stressful being forced out of my comfort zone so often but in the end I think it was beneficial to my character and I started to enjoy doing new things that I wouldn't have thought of doing here. I've also never lived in a large city before so living in the heart of London was an amazing experience, for the most part. After a while I needed some space but the ability to easily get out into the countryside from London for cheap made the need for space and even a hike rather easy.

How my worldview changed: I knew prior that Europe was full of many different people that spoke different languages and had different cultural practices but actually going there for the first time made me realize how similar we are despite those things. Especially while traveling in countries that speak a different language I found that many people are open, nice, and willing to help even if they are rather quiet or reserved. I also got a different perspective on Americans and America while abroad that I hadn't thought about. Hearing their opinions of us made me rethink my own place within the US.

Cady Greenslit

Program: ISA Granada

Major(s): Biology, Spanish minor

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What I miss the most: The thing I miss most about Granada is living in a history book. I would sit through a lecture in class, and be able to see where it happened on my walk later that night. Granada is also a wonderful classroom, and many of my professors took us on walks as they lectured.

Studying in Granada is so much about the experience. Classes are important, and you need to attend and do the work, but the program allows you a lot of time to explore the city (and the rest of Europe on weekends). The program also takes you on many weekend excursions that allowed me to explore Spain in a way that I don't think I would be able to do on my own.

Miranda Salazar

Miranda Salazar in London

Program: Lawrence University London Centre

Major(s): Government and Studio Art

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What my abroad experience was like: My study aboard experience was fantastic. It offered me the unique ability to live and explore a city that I otherwise could never afford to live in. It gave me the time to work on my honors thesis, since I did an independent study with a Lawrence Professor while in London, and it gave me the freedom to wander and find aspects of the city that I never would have stumbled upon if I was just visiting. I would recommend it to anyone whose even slightly considering applying.

What I miss most: I miss the city the most. I loved the fact that just outside my door was one of the oldest cities in the world and that I could just hop on the tube and go anywhere I wanted. I was able to make friends and join a community in a short time span because the city is so diverse that there is a group for every interest. I'm very excited for the day I get to go back.

Lexi Angemi

Lexi Angemi in Amsterdam

Program: Sciences, Global Health, & Interdisciplinary Studies at Vrije Universiteit Amsterdam

Major/Minor: Environmental Studies, Government minor

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What my abroad experience was like: During my program, I lived in The Student Hotel in Amsterdam, Netherlands with other students in the ACM program, and commuted by bike or metro to Vrije Universiteit. Going to a school that had 30,000 students was a lot different than being at Lawrence, but I was able to experience attending a big university with other international students, as well as local Dutch students. There was so much to see and do in Amsterdam, ensuring that I was never bored or lacking somewhere to explore. The different neighborhoods in the city were all unique, filled with art galleries, cafes, museums, and local markets selling lots of unique finds to take home! I also enjoyed the amazing bike culture in Amsterdam. The public transportation infrastructure was great, and biking was the most efficient way to get anywhere in the city. I had never owned a bike before going abroad, so that was my first ever bike. I had to quickly learn how to navigate and ride as well as the Dutch citizens do. It was the most fun and I rode my bike all around the city, so that is something I really miss. During my study abroad experience, I was also able to travel to eight other countries, as well as a handful of cities throughout the Netherlands during weekends or breaks. I became a more independent and confident person in my time abroad. I definitely see myself going back to visit one day, because Amsterdam really became my home away from home in Europe.

What I loved the most: My favorite part of studying abroad was meeting so many different people from different countries. I met people that I keep in touch with still today, from different schools, states, and even countries. It is amazing that no matter where I go in the world, I will know somebody I made a connection with that is not too far away. All of my commutes, meals, and classes allowed me to meet more and more people with different backgrounds, who were just as eager to talk with me as I was with them. Before going abroad, I never pictured myself being so open and talking to strangers, people I had just met, but that was the best part of my experience. I struck up conversations everywhere I went and because of that, had great conversations and got new perspectives on an immense amount of topics.

Juan D. Marin

Juan D. Marin in Germany

Program: IES Freiburg

Major(s): Film Studies and German

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What my abroad experience was like: Honestly, I was warned that this question would be a difficult one to answer and that is really true. I can tell you that I traveled a bit, met a lot of people, and improved my German, but that's what everyone does abroad. So what was my experience really like? I'll tell you that its like never waking up from a beautiful dream. Its having an adrenaline rush every single time to leave your house, even if its just to check your mail. Its like being a little kid again, where everything is new and exciting, and you're in a hurry to do everything to your heart's content. Its like a completely different life, outside of the confines of the U.S.  It was waking up and taking the 8:30 train into the city for class. It was going with classmates to a Turkish restaurant and getting Döner for lunch. It was hanging out at Platz der Alten Synagogue  because of the amount of college students dancing, drinking, and hosting events. It was going to Vauban to attend potlucks with friends. It was going to Seepark and meeting up with students from the other IES programs hosted in Freiburg. It was going on hikes in the Black Forest, camping at Titisee, and leaving the next day because it was too cold to camp in a tent. My experience abroad was making memories with myself and my fellow classmates. My experience was doing things that I couldn't really do in the US but all in German. Again, my experience is hard to put into words. There really isn't an easy way to describe your own personal experience abroad. All you can really do is hope you explained it well enough to get others to make their own experience abroad. Did it work yet?

What I miss most: Honestly the first thing that comes to mind are the people that I befriended abroad. Its my international crew at Händelwohnheim  (Student Apartments) who not only were they all from different countries and spoke different languages but that would go with me to events with in the city or at our housing complex. Its my friend Tarek, who's company and friendship was always enjoyable and appreciated. Its the people I met in Hostels, who always had stories about their adventures and never led to a boring stay. It was the people that I met while doing some traveling, who had the best recommendations for things to do and gave me their numbers to hit up any time I was in the area. It was all the people that made my experience an experience of a life time. This is what I miss the most from my time abroad.

What I loved the most: I really loved that everyday had a feeling of adventure. Not one single day was there where I felt bored. This feeling of adventure let to a lot of fun and I miss having that feeling around me. It led to new eats. It led to spontaneous outings to events around town. It led to getting contact info from the people you meet because the restaurant you go to only has community seating. I really love that feeling.

Mayan Essak

Mayan Essak in Budapest

Program: Budapest Semesters in Mathematics and Mathematics Education

Majors: Piano Performance and Mathematics dual degree

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What I loved the most: Although I was in Budapest for a math program, the best part about living there was the city’s classical music scene. In the US, if you want to go to a concert, you have to pick one out pretty far in advance. In Budapest, there were world-class classical music concerts with absurdly cheap student tickets every night of the week. The culture around classical music is different there. It is more accessible, and overall just integrated more thoroughly into the fabric of the city’s culture.

What I miss the most: This is going to sound a little weird, but I miss the anonymity of living in a big city where I don’t matter at all. I was in this place with millions of other people that has been existing for centuries without me and is continuing to exist now that I’ve left. There’s something that I found both humbling and beautiful about that.

Pa Soua Vue

Pa Soua Vue in LondonProgram: Lawrence University London Centre

Major: Studio Art

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What my abroad experience was like: My study abroad experience was like something I have never experience before because it was something that I had to do myself. It was something that I have to make a decision of for myself. It felt like I completed a goal that I have always wanted to check off because getting the experience to study abroad made me more confident and reliable in myself, especially in a big city like London.

What I miss most: I miss getting to travel around within the Europe. There were so many great architectures and places to see, especially a lot of free museums.

What I loved the most: I love the generosity that was in the busy city of London. People there are also very stylish and it makes the place looks even greater.

How my worldview changed: I have always thought that a big city would be no good, but there is so much in a big city to do. I lived in St. Paul, Minnesota, a small city that does not compare at all to London. London is a huge city and being able to experience living there for a term, I realized it is something I enjoy because you can get to places so easily by taking a train.

Fallon Sellers

Fallon Sellers in New Zealand

Program: IES - Auckland

Major: Government - International Relations Track

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How my worldview has changed: I realized that different places in the world value different things. At Lawrence we tend to judge our value based on how involved we are, and have therefore created an atmosphere of busyness. In New Zealand, people know how to stop and look at the gorgeous views around them. It was refreshing to be in a place where people weren't power walking to get where they needed to be.

What I miss most: The jaw dropping views and the wonderful people. New Zealanders are some of the kindest and most genuine people I have ever met, and the scenery is second to none.


Emily Midyette

Program: SUNY Madagascar Semester program sponsored by Stony Brook University

Major/Minor: Biology, Innovation & Entrepreneurship interdisciplinary minor

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What I loved the most: A highlight of my program was the independent study I conducted in my last three weeks. I surveyed 577 trees and studied how sunlight availability impacted their growth. It was a challenge but became one of the most meaningful experiences of my semester.

Emily Hill

Program: IES Quito – Area and Language Studies

Major(s): Biology and Spanish

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What I did that I couldn't have done in the US: I was able to travel around Quito and Ecuador almost every weekend and experience new culture, foods, and adventures. I loved having a different academic experience where I could learn things firsthand and explore my host city and country instead of solely learning in a classroom.

Sarah Woody

Program: Sustainable Development Studies at the School for Field Studies in Costa Rica

Major(s)/Minor(s): Biology, Music and Environmental minors 

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What my study abroad experience was like: My study abroad experience was wonderful! I was very engaged with my studies because I had wonderful professors who were experts in their fields who served as role models for me. In addition, my program was very small so I developed close bonds with my peers who I lived, studied, and traveled with. It was so unique to learn about rainforest dynamics while trekking through Braulio Carrilo National Park or about road ecology inside Carara National Park as we listened to cars whiz by. I also learned so many tangible things, the most relevant to me being improving my scientific writing and statistical analysis skills. Besides the unique learning opportunities I was able to explore Costa Rica's rich culture and natural landscapes, traveling to grand waterfalls, beautiful beaches, big cities, volcanoes, and national parks.

How my worldview changed: My worldview changed because I realized that there is so much out there in the world! It made me excited for the seemingly limitless possibilities in life. This is a picture of me in Carara National Park where I conducted research on bird communication patterns in response to increasing road traffic noise!

Cosette Bardawil

Program: IES Paris - French Studies (year long)

Major(s): Flute Performance and French and Francophone Studies

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How I would describe my study abroad experience: Fulfilled! After much contemplation to find the most accurate word to describe how I felt last year, it came out. My heart, mind, and stomach were completely fulfilled by the end and I just felt more grounded and connected. I lived with a couple just south of Paris and they became like a second family. I studied at a conservatory and took classes at the IES center (e.g. Phonetics, Immigration and Diversity in Paris, Terrorism and Security, etc.). I took swing dancing and accordion lessons every week and ended up teaching flute and piano to two little girls.

What I loved the most: It’s hard to pinpoint what I loved the most, but besides the people, the general feeling of walking around the city keeps coming up in my mind: museums, the Seine, the fresh smell of bread, the incessant sound of the metro, the fashionable ladies, the fruit and cheese vendors, the beautiful buildings and gardens, the Parisian air of mystery, the bikers, the grandparents walking their grandkids, the little café tables scattered outside, the list goes on. This isn’t to say that there were no cultural or language barriers, because naturally, there were a couple. Most of the time, though, these barriers actually made me think so much more about the differences and it made me appreciate them more.

Something else that I discovered is that different qualities and mindsets of people come out in different languages. The French language is one of the things that makes me want to come back and teach English in France or teach music in French or find another combination of music and French. We’ll see, but for now, I can say that studying abroad in Paris for a year was one of the most memorable experiences of my life.

Amanda Thomas

Program: SUNY Madagascar Semester program sponsored by Stony Brook University

Major/Minor: Biology, Philosophy minor

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When I originally applied, I was looking for a study abroad program that meant more than going to a university in a different country to take typical college courses I could have just taken at Lawrence. What I really wanted was the whole experience of being halfway across the globe by myself, completely immersed in a foreign language and culture, living in an environment unlike anywhere I have ever been, learning things by doing them personally, and struggling a bit with myself in the process. I definitely got what I asked for, plus a whole lot more. I will never forget watching the sun set over rainforest peaks while the haunting calls of Indri indri echoed in the valleys below or scooping tiny jellyfish out of the water with my bare hands as my wind-powered pirogue sailed to a snorkel site in the Mozambique Channel. Even though it was frustrating at times, I miss my inventive conversations with the native Malagasy, consisting of hand signals, facial expressions, and broken bits of English, Malagasy, French, and even Spanish. I now know what the word "poverty" truly means, how it looks, how it feels, how it tastes. I could speak for hours on the sticky situation that has recently become a terrifying reality for me: the impossible decision between saving the people or saving the rainforests. I genuinely believe that because I studied abroad with an intensive hands-on biology program, I learned more out there hiking in the deserts and sliding down the mountains and wading through the rivers of Madagascar than I ever could have taken from classroom lectures.

Hailey Bomar

Program: ACM Costa Rica

Major(s): Biology

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What my study abroad experience was like: My study abroad experience was very independent because I was on the field research program at ACM in Costa Rica. I spent several weeks at my research site in rural Pacific Costa Rica, where I was interviewing community members about their knowledge and experience in preventing the Zika virus. I was also lucky to receive awesome instruction in Spanish language and assistance with my research at the ACM Center in San Jose.

What I miss the most: I miss both of my host families, especially my host mom and her extended family from my research site in Quebrada-Ganado. The weeks I spent at my research were some of the most intense and wonderful weeks of my life, and were formative for contextualizing my research and improving my Spanish language skills. The close bond I developed with my host family during this time was one of the most important parts of my experience, and I’m still in contact with them today. I really miss the long conversations I had with my host mom (all in Spanish!) and I’m grateful for her patience and the warmth with which she welcomed me into her home and her family.

How my worldview changed: This experience helped me to contextualize my knowledge of public health, and to expand my view of healthcare systems beyond what I’ve known in the United States. I think we spend a lot of time identifying problems with healthcare in developing countries from an outsider’s perspective, but actually witnessing the functions of public health systems in Costa Rica opened my mind to unexpected barriers and new solutions.

Etta Lynch-Beaty

Program: IES Paris - French Studies (year long)

Major(s): French, Linguistics and ESL minors

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This study abroad experience was one of the most culturally eye opening and intellectually stimulating that I've had since travelling abroad in high school. What I miss most isn't the diverse foods or the famous monuments and museums, but my daily routine. When I took the bus to classes or just spent time outside I tried to put down my phone so that I could soak up every casual experience, smell, sounds, and interaction of my time in Paris that I could. This is the feeling I loved the most (and the metro, of course), and can't wait to get back to. I miss having the simple beauty of the day enthrall me because of its novelties that gradually became familiar, walking through the market, being able to know details about my neighbors’ lives when I greet them. I learned so much about language from this opportunity, through inspiring professors and interactions with people from multi-cultural and linguistic backgrounds, and it has pushed me to apply to several programs to continue my interests abroad!

Hannah Gjertson

Program: Lawrence University London Centre

Major(s): Biology, Biomedical Ethics and Anthropology minors

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What I miss the most: I miss the public transportation! I would just hop on the tube or bus and be in a whole new neighborhood within a few minutes. Also, taking the railway to the countryside on the weekends was lovely; England is so much more than just London!

What I loved the most: I loved getting to know Londoners. Many of them have a wonderful, dry sense of humour and the iconic British "stiff upper lip." I also love how much the British people emphasize tradition and formality. Understanding the values of pragmatism, modesty, and self-reliance helped me grasp many of the cultural and social nuances of London and its people.

How my worldview changed: Living in London made me a more independent and confident person. There were many times where I embarrassed myself and outed myself as an American. But eventually, I overcame the shyness about being an "outsider" and embraced living in a wonderful, historic city that I now miss every day! There's a lot of value in living in a new place and culture. I can't recommend it enough.

Olivia Gregorich

Student in Ireland

Program: Gaiety School of Acting in Dublin, Ireland

Majors/Minors: Theatre Arts major, Creative Writing minor

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My study abroad experience and what I miss: I miss the sound of voices from Ireland.  It's not as simple as accents--the movement in their speaking has a different sound.  While on a trip to Galway, I took a day to visit one of the Aran Islands where they still speak Irish fluently.  I miss the hiking--one of the most interesting things I heard in one of my classes at the Gaiety School of Acting was that accents reflect their landscapes: wide open land creates speakers of wide open sounds, lots of snow and wind makes people clench their teeth to keep out the weather.  Language truly lives and breathes the stories, geography, and music of the people and their place, and I was more than happy to listen for a while.

How has my world view changed? It was an interesting time to be outside of the United States, during one of the most controversial Presidential elections perhaps ever.  I loved learning more about the history of Ireland, but I think in global terms it really showed me how closely the rest of the world does watch us, and how myopic we are (or can be) in return.  I know next to nothing about French or British politics, let alone those of countries on other continents.  If anything, the experience has thrown down the gauntlet for me to push myself even farther outside my comfort zone in the interest of broadening my understanding and appreciation of how complicated the connections between us and our differences are.

Dalia Khattab

Program: IES Paris - French Studies

Major(s): Biology, Government (International Relations), and French

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What my study abroad experience was like: It is hard to describe my study abroad experience in a few words and without sounding cliché, but it was one of the best experiences I have ever had. This immersion program allowed me to improve my language skills, to learn about French culture through living with a host family, to explore the French professional setting through an internship, to try new things, and to travel around France and Europe.

What I miss the most: The pastries. The hot chocolate. The Nutella crêpes. My host family. My friends. The beautiful architecture. And even the metro...

Katie Singer

Student under water in EcuadorProgram: IES Abroad Quito, Area Studies and Language

Majors: History Major, Government and Spanish Minor

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What I loved most: I loved being immersed in the Spanish language and having the opportunity to live in a completely different culture. I was lucky enough to travel to many different parts of Ecuador and learned so much about how the culture varies from the Andes to the coast to the Amazon rainforest, which really helped to increase my understanding of the country.

How has my worldview changed? I am definitely more empathetic towards others now, especially people who I don't initially have a lot in common with. Also, I am much more confident in myself and my abilities--If I can navigate a foreign culture in a different language, I can do anything!