The best part of traveling to new places is discovering the beauty of the unknown. When you go abroad you will quickly realize how spontaneous your life becomes and how much you can learn once the “world becomes your campus.” It is always interesting to hear about others’ study abroad experiences and how unique their stories are. Whether you are traveling around Europe, Latin America, Australia or elsewhere, you might find yourself hopping on planes to different countries days before the flight departs. Ryan Air will become your best friend due to the insanely cheap flights that they offer, and Duo Lingo will become your go-to app to save you from total communication barriers!
Two students from the University of Kentucky shared their stories on their favorite memories while abroad. Jasmine studied in Santiago, Dominican Republic, where she traveled to different cities in the Dominican Republic to learn more about the development of agriculture and how their history has impacted the way they have developed as a country. “We did not only just learn about agricultural development. We also focused on the diverse communities within the country based on the Dominican and Haitian relations and why that has become a big issue in the country.” Not only was she able to travel to new cities and overcome some of her biggest fears but also Jasmine was also able to impact the lives of the local people living in poverty. She said, “We had the opportunity to build genuine relationships with them. We laughed, played games, singed songs, played on our phones and etc. It was very emotional for me because this was something that was really happening. To this day I still think about them and looking at the photos in hope that they are still in a safe place. I will never forget this day! I hope to go back and see them again soon.”
Another student named Kendall, studied abroad in Malaga, Spain. She went with ISA, one of UK’s partner programs, where she completed a three-month intensive Spanish language program. Kendall traveled to many towns and cities in Spain, as well as a few different countries around Europe. “It’s hard to say which was my favorite but I really enjoyed my trip to Mallorca. I went with a friend from my program and another friend from Slovakia that I met in Spain and really enjoyed their company. We stayed in the most amazing hostel and met lots of really cool people from all over the world. The architecture and the beaches were so beautiful. We also spent a day riding a train/bus throughout the island and the views were absolutely incredible.” She told me that some of her favorite memories come from spending time with her host mom. “By the end of my program when I could better understand her, we were actually able to have conversations and we always ended up laughing about something. One of our last days in Malaga, she walked all the way across downtown Malaga with my roommate and I to treat us to ‘churros con chocolate.’ My host family was one of the best things about my experience abroad.”
There are a number of different ways to go abroad with the University of Kentucky, all of which will teach you new life skills and leave you wanting more! Jasmine is now eager to go to Thailand or Africa for her next travels and Kendall said that she just wants to go somewhere she has never been, and would love to take up an opportunity that would allow her to accomplish this goal! Where will you go next?
Julie Lamagna is a Junior majoring in Communication Sciences and Disorders, and minoring in International Studies. She studied abroad during the 2016 Spring semester in Rome, Italy. She traveled to seven different countries during her time in Europe and learned more about her Italian Heritage. She loves to explore new places and is already trying to plan another trip!