Seven students recount their experiences in Germany, Italy, Portugal, and Spain
The opportunity to travel, experience new cultures, and study in locations you've only read about are some of the many reasons students choose to study abroad. The experience can be full of fun and discovery and create lifelong memories and friendships. Potential employers view students who study abroad as self-motivated, independent, and able to solve problems. UMass Dartmouth's International Programs Office offers an array of study abroad options during the summer and semester.
This summer, seven UMassD students—with majors ranging from accounting to biology to illustration—studied abroad in Europe. Read about their eye-opening experiences below:
Dorothy Mulo '23, political science major
Philipps University of Marburg
"Being the foreigner who doesn’t speak the primary language was very humbling. I’d understood foreign peoples’ situation, but never really felt it. Putting myself in that role gave me a lot more empathy for Americans who don’t speak English. The trip also taught me a lot about myself, like that I prefer living in a big city like Berlin over a small town, which is an important thing to know about yourself before graduating."
Quinn Brophy '23, integrated studio arts major and sustainability minor
"As someone who studies and works in sustainability on campus, it was eye-opening to watch another country take strides towards their zero-carbon emissions goal. Their passion and mindset sort of reinvigorated mine to try to make changes on campus and in America."
Cameron Akeley '23, biology major
Sant'Anna Institute, Sorrento, Italy
"I chose to study here as I want to go into a marine biology field, the large coast of Italy, and the study abroad program that had classes keen to my interests. Unexpectedly, the experience showed me a different point of view on how to live life, as Italians live much slower-paced lives than typical Americans. This experience really helped to push me out of my comfort zone and do something different. It allowed me to experience a different culture and people, which may occur frequently in the scientific world."
Alyxandra Vieira '23, graphic design major
Florence University of the Arts
Alyxandra interned at the university's magazine and helped to design an upcoming issue.
"My internship was very helpful to my future career and helped to boost my confidence. Designing magazines is something I would really love to do. In my art history class we had a lot of field trips, not a lot of lectures. We saw art work that I would never see at home. I had never left the country before or lived away from my family. It was amazing, and I made lifelong friends. Studying abroad was the best time of my life. I'm very happy I decided to go."
Adoria Kavuma-Winburn '23, illustration major
Florence University of the Arts
"Being in an environment where I could dedicate myself wholly to art was really impactful. I saw many famous and not-so-famous pieces that were special to me. Improving your artistic eye is 90% about looking at art and developing taste so I was very fortunate to be in proximity to so many museums. Art and art appreciation are embedded in the culture of Italy, so being in such a radically different environment was very invigorating! A lot of what I saw will be incorporated into my work. I would like to be a visual development artist and you cannot design without having a rich visual library. This experience made me rededicate myself to art in a way I probably wouldn't have if I did not go."
Aidan Goddu '23, history major
Catholic University of Portugal, Lisbon
"I feel like a more globally engaged citizen. Classes in Lisbon offered a view of history and culture that isn’t often covered in American curriculum, such as African history. My favorite aspect of studying abroad was having the opportunity to live as people do in different countries and enjoy the differences and unique elements of life outside of America."
Carmen Zhao '23, marketing major and accounting minor
University of the Basque Country (UPV), Bilbao, Spain
"Learning from another country’s point of view allowed me to see things in a different perspective, getting to understand their normal and adapt to their environment. While I was in Spain I was learning in the classroom and outside the classroom. I do feel more globally engaged because I’m more aware of cultural differences, in class we discussed how no culture has a right way of doing things. There was a bit of a struggle in the beginning communicating with a language barrier. They spoke mainly Spanish and Basque but by the end of the program I got used to it and Bilbao felt like home to me."
According to international programs office Assistant Director Gina Reis, summer study abroad programs last about eight weeks, while semester-long programs typically run for 15 weeks. Since courses are taught in English, no foreign language proficiency is required, although it is helpful. Reis added that many scholarships are available to help defray costs. Students are encouraged to work with the Office of Financial Aid to estimate how much their study abroad program will cost.
This fall, Corsairs are studying in Costa Rica, Ireland, Italy, Spain, and the United Kingdom. Students interested in studying abroad are encouraged to attend the Study Abroad Fair Wednesday, Sept. 7, from 11 a.m. to 2:30 p.m. The deadline to apply for winter and spring programs is Oct. 15.
For more information, please contact the International Programs Office.