University of Cape Town in Cape Town, South Africa, spring 2011
South Africa is the most beautiful place I've ever seen, and the best decision of my life was to spend my spring semester there. It's difficult to say how I've changed over that time, because we are all constantly changing, but I would say my confidence is at an all-time high and many of my views on the way we live life in America are different than before. I can't begin to choose a favorite experience from the trip, but a few that affected me the most were my road trips with my new friends, hanging out with the locals, a number of interesting cab rides, and oddly enough, getting robbed several times. Let me explain that last one—I always felt safe in Africa, but after having my shorts and wallet stolen on the beach, losing my confirmation necklace, and having my phone pick pocketed several times, I care a lot less about personal possession—which I think is a good thing. My security guard Peter, who lives a hard life in the townships, summed it up well by saying, "You are alive...so losing your phone is not a problem." He didn't mean it like I was unsafe, but that I needed to realize what was important. Now I think I realize what's most important is living life and having great friends."
Cori W. Curtis
Yeditepe University in Istanbul, Turkey, summer 2010
"During the summer of 2010, I studied European Union and International Law at Yeditepe University in Istanbul, Turkey. My three months in Turkey were packed with challenging academic work as I learned the Turkish language and international law while being immersed in the cultural and historical beauty of Turkey. My experience entailed everything from the fine tastes of Turkish cuisine, the sights of architectural wonders like the Haghia Sophia and the ruins of Ephesus, and the sounds of the daily Islamic call to prayer from the many minarets dotting the Istanbul skyline. I learned how to be diligent in practicing a new language with friends and shopkeepers as well as gain confidence in traveling to new places alone. My favorite experiences from Turkey derive from my willingness to be a part of Turkish society and explore. All in all, I was able to have a phenomenal time in Turkey because of creating a network and learning how to be a part of a community far from home."
Senshu University in Tokyo, Japan, fall 2010
"While I was in Japan I lived off of the theology: I have never done this before so I have no excuse to not do it now. Because of that mantra I went to Japan for three months, knowing no Japanese. With that I went from being apprehensive about going to Japan in the first place to traveling alone across the country for six day with only one month's worth of Japanese. I tried various foods that where swimming only minutes before. In short: I just got out and lived. It was an experience that was worth 30 hours of travel to get there and back, it was worth the extra time I will spend at UNL. Because of it I have friends on different continents that I can talk to in a different language."
Ajou University in Suwon, South Korea, fall 2010
"South Korea is a small country—it takes about 6 hours to get from one end to the other by bus—but it is bursting with places to explore. My husband and I lived and studied in Suwon, a city crammed with 22-story apartment buildings and surrounded by a stone wall that is part of the old royalty's fortress. Such parallels of modern living and traditional history are everywhere in the country. Fish markets are tucked between coffee shops and boutique stores, while grandmothers sell fresh vegetables at the street corner. Get out of the city by a few miles, and you can climb the many mountains which shelter Buddhist temples. Of course, the greatest parallel is obvious when comparing the South to the North. All in all, our four months passed too quickly and we left already planning to return. The Koreans were gracious and generous hosts, and we also interacted with students from dozens of other countries. Studying in Korea is popular for those who want to practice English but can't afford to go to the U.S.; this fact surprised us but made for a very culturally diverse experience."
Université de Franche-comté: Centre de Linguistique Appliquée in Besancon, France, spring 2011
"Making the initial decision to study abroad did not come without difficulties for me, as it seemed like I'd be put so seemingly far outside my comfort zone I'd never truly adapt to the place where I was to live out my life for six months. However, my desire to learn and see new things trumped my worries, and as it turned out, the decision to study abroad has been perhaps the best decision I've made thus far. With a program set up by Marshall Olds, a French professor at UNL, I traveled to Besan?on, France, a quaint city (50,000 people less than Lincoln) in the East of France, near the Swiss-French border. I attended a school that taught students from all over the world French-with whom the only language I had in common was French. Despite our often stilted conversations, I feel as if I learned a lot about other cultures and made friends in the process. I loved the ease of traveling throughout Europe, as we had many opportunities to make use of the excellent European rail system and take cheap flights from city to city. Since my study abroad, my desire to explore new places has greatly compounded, and I know I am going to continue to be intrigued by other cultures, despite having since returned to the United States. My French language skills have grown quite a lot and my interest in other languages has prompted me to start taking German in addition to French, and hopefully, when coupled with my prime major (Art History) the two will bring me back to Europe again, allowing me to (somewhat) satisfy the 'traveling itch' gained by my study abroad experience."
Norwegian University of Life Sciences in Norway, fall 2010
"What they say is true: studying abroad will change your life. Being deposited in a situation where almost no one's first language is English, none of your friends or family are with you, a cell phone can only be used when utmost necessary, and a slew of new foods and country-specific laws are on your doorstep will do that to a person; it will also make you realize just how strong you can be when the situation calls for it. Living in a country as diverse and expansive as the US, it's easy to simply travel from state to state to see different and beautiful landscapes experience something 'different.' What this experience has really shown me though is that it's not just about seeing the sights and appreciating the landscapes, the immersion in a blend of cultures and different norms are what make everything more eye-opening on a deeper level. It's interesting to find that the majority of the friends I made are from countries other than the one I was studying in (Norway). Looking back, I feel like I traveled to more countries than I physically did! One of the highlights of spending my semester up North was experiencing three days where I never saw the actual sun."
Estudio Sampere in Madrid, Spain, summer 2010
"My study abroad experience not only showed me a new world I had never experienced before, but changed the way I live in Lincoln as well. How I think of diversity is not in strict terms of nationality or race any more, as much as it is about personality differences. I was exposed to Swiss, Swedish, Korean, and Nigerian culture while in Spain which showed me that you never know what to expect and to be ready for anything. Going on my trip alone increased my confidence in my ability to be independent, but also made me appreciate the people I am privileged to see on a daily basis. Study abroad was without a doubt the experience of my life."
Uppsala International in Uppsala, Sweden, summer 2010
"Studying abroad gave me an opportunity to come out of my comfort zone and grow like I never had before. I spent a month in Sweden, a culture I was able to blend in with after even just a week-- even though I still couldn't speak the language very well. During the time I was there, I learned the language, visited museums with my school and on my own, and took day trips and weekend trips to neighboring cities and even Norway. I visited museums, rowed a Viking boat across a lake, had coffee with an archaeologist, went to a wedding reception for Crown Princess Victoria, climbed into the root cellar of my five-greats grandfather in Storåsen, celebrated Midsommar in Ockelbo, made many friends, and took about a thousand pictures. I gained confidence as I faced many of my fears of traveling alone, and had many adventures with late planes and cancelled trains and midnight buses across the countryside. Ever since I returned, I have been dreaming of how I might go back to visit someday."
University of Stellenbosch in Stellenbosch, South Africa, summer 2010
"We talked until 4 AM. About the world, about our cultures, about our lives, and about how we would love to see the first rays of the morning sun light up our African paradise at least once before our time together was through. So we grabbed blankets and little South African wine, drove to the top of a hill, and did just that. Strangely enough, this little experience turned my world upside down. It taught me to never hesitate to seize a chance at adventure, and that with a little gusto, spontaneity, and willingness to go outside my comfort zone, my wishes could become reality. During my time studying abroad in South Africa, I learned about many different cultures, was immersed in a society completely different from my own, did things that I thought I would only ever see on a television screen, and made some of my very best friends. Most importantly, I came back knowing that I would never again pass up a chance to explore this incredible planet, and I can't wait to see where my next journey takes me!"
La Universidad de Costa Rica-Sede de Occidente in San Ramón, Costa Rica, spring 2011
"Throughout my short time visiting the cozy country of Costa Rica, I learned more than I thought I ever could about a culture and history different than our own. Costa Rica, as a developing country, still has limits and faces many challenges when it comes to issues regarding education, crime, and politics. However, what I found charming was how dwellers of this small country made light of the situations. Here lives a relaxed people and I'm amazed and grateful at their ability to instill in me similar traits. Aside from witnessing much personal change (a mile-walk to school, 4 times a day, no biggie), another dynamic to this experience was how much I've come to truly appreciate my small hometown of Lincoln, NE. For me, home is where the heart is. Costa Rica welcomed my heart and let it take up residence there for a short time. Now, I return to my true home where I can gear up for another mind-altering adventure!"
Victoria University of Wellington in New Zealand, spring 2011
"This was truly a coming of age experience for me. I learned so much about myself and how I interact with the world. I loved that I was surrounded by people who shared my curiosity and travelling passion. This study abroad experience taught me to appreciate different cultures. I was also taught how to learn and study from different teaching strategies which will greatly improve my study habits back at my home University."