By Emily Landgraf
Despite being banned from Greece for the next five years, senior Katie Beckman is anxious to return.
Beckman, an English major, was one of four students who presented their experiences at the Study Abroad Panel, held in the BLC Fireside Lounge at 7:30 p.m. on Wednesday.
“I crave Greece every day,” Beckman said. “Sometimes I dream in Greek.”
Beckman went to Athens through AHA International, a company that helps students plan their study abroad trips, for three months in spring 2008. Besides taking classes, she climbed Mount Olympus and went to the Five Islands.
“It was the most amazing thing I’ve ever done,” she said.
But she ran into issues because she had the incorrect type of visa. Besides being banned from the country, Beckman has also been flagged as an immigration problem. However, this has not dampened her desire to travel.
“I love traveling, and I can really see myself moving abroad someday,” she said.
While the other students were not banned from the countries they studied in, they too said they had some amazing experiences. Senior Regina Barlet, an international business major, spent her fall 2008 semester at the American Business School in Paris.
“It was a perfect fit for me,” Barlet said of her time in France. “The fact that I was able to study at the American Business School and transfer the credits over was great.”
Barlet said that being able to experience a new culture taught her a lot. She called her experience “eye-opening.”
“There are so many different aspects of culture you don’t even realize,” Barlet said. “Language is only a little part of a culture.”
Barlet was also able to travel to other places like London, Lisbon and Barcelona, and she treasures these experiences.
Senior Samantha Gallo also cherishes her study abroad experiences. Gallo is a psychology major who spent her spring 2008 semester studying in London.
Gallo liked the experience of starting fresh in a new country. Many of her classmates were from the West Coast, which she said was interesting to her.
“I was learning about another country, but I was also learning about my country,” she said.
Gallo was able to experience the museums and the city through her classes.
“We had a theater class where we went to see a play every week,” she said. “We got to see all kinds of plays. We actually got to see King Lear when [Ian McKellan] was in it.”
Gallo lived with a homestay, which is when a student stays with a host family, and various other international students came to stay with the family.
“[I] got to experience a little of everything” at the homestay, which was as varied as London itself, she said. “There are so many cultures there.”
Junior Heather Chojnacki also got a dose of culture by spending her fall 2008 semester in Madrid. As a Spanish major, she said it was very helpful.
“It really helped me with the language because I was speaking it every day,” Chojnacki said.
Chojnacki also said that planning early to study abroad early is a good idea if it is something a student is interested in.
“It’s really good to do it earlier,” she said. “That way you can plan around it. It’s a lot easier to transfer elective credits.”
Chojnacki enjoyed her studies and her social life as well. Chojnacki also liked living with a homestay.
“I learned a lot more about the culture and the food and the family life,” she said.