Study Abroad: Passport to the Mediterranean
Major: Studio Art
Hometown: Akron, Ohio
Study Abroad Program: Semester at Sea
(which included visits to Spain, Italy, Greece, Turkey, Croatia, Bulgaria, Egypt and Morocco).
Why did you select this Study Abroad program?
I selected this program because the theme was "Human Rights and Social Justice in the Mediterranean." I was excited about the unique classroom setting, the variety of course options, and the cross-cultural comparisons I could experience by visiting so many different countries.
What benefits did you gain from this experience?
After going on Semester at Sea, I felt ready to travel more and not be afraid to be absorbed in other cultures. In terms of my career, I was able to see modern and ancient art in most of the countries we visited. This allowed me to find new interest and inspiration in international art.
What surprised you the most about the experience?
It surprised me to learn that no matter how you were dressed or where you were shopping, people automatically assumed you were rich just because you were an American. I spent hours convincing a pushy peddler in Egypt that I hadnít brought any money that day. I really hadnít, but he refused to believe me. It was funny for the first five minutes.
What surprised you the most about yourself?
I was surprised at how quickly I picked up simple phrases in each country. I was able to navigate public transportation and find landmarks on maps written in other languages. It was an exciting challenge.
Some people think Study Abroad is a vacation. Would you describe it that way?
It was NOT a vacation at all. Living on a ship, taking classes on the ship, and then being in a different country every few days was challenging. I think the average GPA was less than 3.0 on my voyage. It's hard to go from world traveler to college student to friend constantly. Remembering to study and do papers was hard when we were in port.
What was your most heartwarming experience?
It was in Morocco when I was talking with and feeding children who lived in a shanty town (which happened to be right outside the highest income development in Casablanca).
Are there ways you are making this experience continue?
I've been keeping in touch with tons of people I met. I plan to travel across the U.S. to visit friends I met on the ship. I also would like to teach an art course on the ship some day for at least one voyage.