Study Abroad

New hemisphere, new perspective

At the 5,000-foot summit of a mountain in Wanaka, New Zealand, I cried. I was sitting on the ground eating a peanut butter and jelly sandwich after having trekked up the nearly four miles of straight incline trail. There was salt on my face from the sweat, chilling against my skin in the breeze.

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I knew during my senior year of high school that in college I would want to study abroad. I remember making the final decision on the exact location and program my freshman year at the University of Michigan after a heartbreak.

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A summer in China with your best friend sounds like an absolute dream, right? It is, of course, just as long as you know the basic guidelines of navigating a Buddhist temple.

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Living in Chile this past month has served as a reminder of the significance of my social identity as a U.S. citizen and a woman, the implications of which can be something I tend to take for granted.

 

“We’re sorry, but this price is firm. You’re welcome to come back if you change your mind.”

We had just left the local hospital in Jarabacoa, Dominican Republic, where we displayed an automated surgical warming mattress that had taken a year to develop. The hospital we were addressing was in a dire situation.

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It was the first day of my spring break — halfway through a grueling semester — and I was unsure about my choice to spend my break in Nicaragua.

After the election, like many of my fellow students, I had mixed feelings. However, unlike many of my friends, I felt a small sense of relief.