By Greg Russell
The University of Memphis’ Study Abroad Program keeps getting bigger: throw a dart
at a world map and chances are it will land on a host country for a study abroad opportunity.
Some 200 institutions in 45 countries offer unique learning experiences for University
of Memphis students.
Initiatives include bilateral exchange programs that offer students the opportunity
to study abroad at one of the U of M’s partner schools for a semester, summer or academic
year; faculty-led programs where students earn credits; and opportunities through
study abroad program providers that the U of M is affiliated with.
Students have traveled to Asia, Africa, South America, Australia and Europe for
study. Experiences vary, according to the locale and to the student.
Patrick Mitchell won the Study Abroad Program’s International Photo Contest with this
picture he took in Prague while studying in the Eastern European country.
“My scholarship to the University provided me with a study abroad stipend — I would
have cheated myself by not even attempting an international experience,” said senior
business major Patrick Mitchell, who studied in the Czech Republic last year. “I was
enthralled by the possibility of existing in a world where I did not know the language
as it gave me a chance to explore firsthand the realm of human communication.”
Mitchell said he chose the Bohemian region because “it has experienced much turmoil
yet has remained deeply rooted in its unique cultural customs that bridge Western
and Eastern European.”
“The sheer depth of history and tradition within the region was the perfect destination
for a student often frustrated with the infancy of American society,” he said. “Prague,
a city founded hundreds of years before Columbus accidentally stumbled upon North
America, enticed my curiosities and eventually became the only relevant option.”
Nicol Castillo found an organic farm in Brubisbalm, Switzerland, of interest; her
photo placed third in the Study Abroad Program's photo contest.
He said adviser Chrystal Goudsouzian in the Study Abroad office made applying simple
by always providing insightful and relevant information.
Miller said the experience of living abroad would last a lifetime.
“I most enjoyed the time I spent within Prague. Simply riding the trams to class every
morning was enough to allow me to appreciate the experience I was having. Trying to
integrate into Czech society, I lived a different existence from what Memphis has
to offer me. Thus, I savor every memory as a taste of more to come. I only wish I
had utilized the opportunities that the U of M was giving me earlier so that I could
have spent more time experiencing different worlds.”
Mitchell said he is returning to the Czech Republic this summer with the U of M’s
Teaching English as a Foreign Language (TEFL) program at the University of West Bohemia
Senior Angela Godwin, who is majoring in both biology and Spanish, called her study
abroad experience in Costa Rica “the trip of a lifetime.”
“I chose to go to Costa Rica because I wanted to improve on my Spanish and because
I was looking forward to experiencing the wildlife there. I visited a national park
that had monkeys, sloths and other varieties of wildlife. On my trip, I also enjoyed
a trip to Tortuga Island, where I went kayaking with some friends.” She said she also
Angela Godwin snapped this shot of Volcan Irazu National Park while studying in Costa
Rica to place second in the International Photo Contest.
“I was immersed in Spanish, so I learned to speak it very well, and I matured as a
person. This was truly an adventure. I would recommend this program to anyone interested
in the Spanish language or in learning about different cultures.”
Senior nutrition major Nicol Castillo said her study abroad experience in Switzerland
was a boon both academically and socially.
“I learned about the Swiss culture and their practices in exercise, therapy and nutrition.
Personally, my perspective on life and people expanded a lot. Spiritually, my eyes
were opened to the beauty of the Swiss Alps and how big they were. We got to experience
the German, French and Italian parts of Switzerland. This program was amazing because
we had our professor with us and an amazing translator and tour guide. There was never
a dull moment on this trip.”
For more information on the Study Abroad Program, visit: http://www.memphis.edu/abroad/programs.php.