Enjoy Research? Try it Abroad!

Kelsey Dillon 2

When I went home for Thanksgiving break, I caught the worst of colds. Headache, sore throat, fever, the works. My brother, helpful as always, decided that this would be a great time to strike up a conversation about viruses (thanks, bro). He had read something online about what’s called the Pandoravirus, the largest virus ever discovered. According to this NPR article, the Pandoravirus is part of a class of giant viruses, lives underwater, and poses no threat to human health; however, it is not the only giant virus found and research is ongoing. The coolest thing for me, though, was that the team that discovered Pandoravirus is based at Aix-Marseille University, where I studied abroad!

Although I am by no means a Biology major, I couldn’t help thinking: how exciting would it have been to take part in research like that? I participated in an exchange program, took my courses, made friends, learned to live in a new place, and had a lot of free time. I don’t regret a thing. However, for students looking to inject a little more academic rigor into their study abroad program, or those who are really excited about doing a scientific project, research abroad would be a great option!

It turns out there are plenty of options for students interested in research to do so abroad. EuroScholars offers American students the opportunity to conduct research at one of nine universities in Finland, Sweden, Germany, the Netherlands, Switzerland and Belgium. Many education abroad programs that aren’t specifically for research still include research possibilities in their academic offerings. One example of this is Bluegrass Down Under in Australia, where students take classes during the first part of the semester, then complete either a research project or internship during the second part. Finally, you don’t have to major in a STEM field in order to conduct research abroad. Many sites have opportunities for research in fields like Music, Religion, Education, even Business and Law.

Although catching that cold during a school break was no fun at all, you know what would be worse? Missing the opportunity to conduct research abroad!

Photo courtesy of Kelsey Dillon.


Kelsey Dillon is senior at the University of Kentucky studying Anthropology and French. Kelsey participated in the ISEP Exchange-Aix-Marseille Universite program in Spring 2015.