Olivia Sonderman

NU Sponsered India Critical Issues Study Abroad Summer 2013

University of Deusto-Bilbao Summer 2012

  1. What motivated you to want to study abroad?
  2. When I was younger, I was an avid reader, and I always wanted to visit the places that I read about in my books. As a fifth and sixth grader, I worked with a volunteer at my elementary school, Mrs. Sokol, who helped me study for and participate in the Nebraska State Geography Bee. Learning more about the world in those years only increased my desire to travel. As a freshman in college, I knew that study abroad would be a valuable opportunity to fulfill my longtime dreams to explore the world. Furthermore, I recognized that study abroad would be a vital part of my education, especially since I am studying Global Studies pre-med with a Spanish minor.

  3. In what ways were you able to fund your study abroad experience? (i.e. scholarships, financial aid, etc.)
  4. I cannot stress how absolutely crucial it is for students to apply for scholarships. In my experience, both of the study abroad trips that I enjoyed were mainly paid for via scholarships while the rest of the costs were covered with my own personal funds. The University of Nebraska—Lincoln Education Abroad office offers students over one-hundred and fifty different scholarships. Furthermore, within UNL colleges, money is also set aside to send students abroad.

  5. What international University/program did you attend/participate in? What were your housing arrangements? What were some of the highlights of your time abroad? What was the application process like?
  6. I have been blessed to participate in two study abroad programs in my undergraduate career. In the summer after my freshman year, I spent five weeks in Bilbao, Spain at the University of Deusto through a UNL faculty led study abroad program. The application process was quite simple since I merely applied to the UNL Program. While abroad I watched the Running of the Bulls in Pamplona, toured the Real Madrid soccer stadium, took surfing classes, experienced a traditional festival, and explored La Sagrada Familia among other awesome experiences. I also lived with a host mom, earned six credit hours for my Spanish minor, and enjoyed excursions included in the costs of the program. The friendships I made with students from around the world and the United States were perhaps the best part of my experience.

    In the summer after my sophomore year, I spent three weeks in Mumbai, India on a Critical Issues Program funded by the Nebraska University system. I applied for the program via a competitive selection process in which four students were chosen from each of the university campuses. On the trip, I earned three credit hours for an international business course which focused on the critical issues in India and the solutions to those problems. To earn this credit, my fellow students and I listened to a variety of lectures at H.R. College of Commerce & Economics. Accompanying these lectures were several field visits to various NGOs, foundations, and businesses in the city. Three days of the trip were spent touring Jain Irrigation Systems Ltd., a micro irrigation company with whom the University plans to collaborate on research. Some of my favorite experiences on the trip include wearing a traditional sari at the farewell banquet, seeing the Queen’s Necklace at night, taking a six hour train ride, touring the Gandhi Institute, shopping in the open markets, and visiting Elephanta Caves. Once again, the friendships I made while in Mumbai are one the best outcomes of my trip.

  7. What do you plan to do with your study abroad experience now or in the future?
  8. At this point, I am planning my third study abroad experience to Buenos Aires, Argentina for a semester in Fall 2014. I have yet to decide on my program, but I am absolutely thrilled to begin planning and preparing for this next amazing experience.

  9. What advice would you give to students who are thinking about studying abroad?
  10. I can say without reservation that studying abroad has been one of the best experiences of my undergraduate education. I strongly urge anyone considering study abroad to just go. In my trips, I gained confidence, language skills, new friends, cultural awareness and the ability to adapt. Though the price tag, time and effort required for these study abroad trips can be daunting, remember that any education abroad experience is a personal investment that will pay dividends in the long run.

Ian Brager in Museum Photo
Ian Brager Photo