IAGE Student Stories Blog

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IAGE Student Stories Blog

Read about Illini, whose study abroad experiences enriched their global perspective.

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  • Inclusive Teaching Philosophy Inspired In Granada

    “Granada is a city that is so rich in history and culture from different groups of people. This whole experience really strengthened my belief in the importance of inclusivity in language education curriculum. As a Spanish teacher, I will make it a point to ensure that when teaching history, everybody’s history is a part of the lesson. When teaching the language itself, I think it is so important to teach the different variations of how things are said in Spain, Latin America and South America. It’s one language, but spoken in many different (yet equally beautiful) ways. I can’t wait to teach my students as inclusive of a version of Spanish as I can.” - Daniel Donovan, junior in Spanish Education

  • Learning Languages As A Vessel For Religious Exploration

    “I was raised a Reform Jew, but not really practicing. I learned and went through the motions but didn’t feel a strong connection. My freshman year of college, I converted to Catholicism and found myself feeling more at home. Being Jewish is still a part of who I am, even though my faith is Catholic. At times it is difficult to reconcile the two parts of my identity, but this experience in Israel helped me realize that I can embrace these parts of myself both separately and at the same time. It was really helpful to find the Hebrew Catholics while I was there, who assisted in me reconciling and accepting that I can be both Jewish and Catholic. Jerusalem will always be a special place for me because of the role it played in helping me connect to my identity.” - Maxine Katz, senior in religion & Spanish

  • Connection and Family In Costa Rica

    “A cool part of going on a small program is how close you get with the people you go with. In our case, we all lived with host families, who even got to know each other. My friend’s host sister took us all around San Joaquin and we all climbed a mountain together! It was really cool because I wouldn’t have had that experience without the close connection between our host families. I also loved getting to bond with locals on a deeper level, not just my host family!”

  • Creative Thesis Inspiration Found While Abroad

    “I spent my semester abroad in Perth, which is on the southwest coast of Australia. I grew up in Los Angeles on the southwest coast of the United States and spent a lot of time as a child around water. Being in that environment was quite inspirational to me. I had vague ideas about wanting to create a piece revolving around bodies of water and their parallels to the human body, but my concrete ideas formed and came to life during my time in Perth. I directed a video that serves as the first of three parts that make up my senior thesis in collaboration with composers and videographers who also attended the Western Australia Academy of Performing Arts. We visited several national parks around Western Australia to film the video, so that was a great way to explore areas outside of Perth. I grew more confident in myself as an artist when creating this piece. It embodies a part of who I’ve always been, and a part of myself that I grew into throughout this experience.” -- Symone Sanz, senior in dance

  • Just Do the Thing: Learning in and Out of the Classroom

    “I stared back in awe at the undeniable beauty the Cathédrale Notre-Dame epitomized. I don’t know what it was about that day, April 14th to be exact, that compelled me to fixate on the monument. But I’m really glad that I did because the next day it was on fire. That seemingly normal taxi ride as we concluded our spring break in Paris is one I will never forget. Being close to such a sad event was a wake up call reminding me that every opportunity in life should be taken before it’s gone. Whether it’s holding onto one last look or embracing any experience that comes my way, it’s a reminder that life is oh-so-fragile. It’s a reminder to just do the thing. Because of this re-instilled urgency to live life to its fullest, I hiked Monte Brè in Switzerland, and it was one of the coolest things I’ve ever done.” -- Maddie Ehret, senior in journalism

  • How Study Abroad Prepared Me For Med School

    Arnold Oparanozie, a senior majoring in Molecular and Cellular Biology and Global Studies with a minor in Chemistry, studied at the Universitat Pompeu Fabra in Barcelona, Spain to work on his Spanish language skills.

  • Interning in Ecuador

    Having previously traveled to South America, Clarita Sullivan, a Junior majoring in Political Science, knew she had to return back to the continent as her study abroad destination.

  • Living in The Lion City

    When asked if there was one place you would visit again, Jiayi Xu, a senior studying Mathematics and Statistics, replied without hesitation that she would visit her host university – The National University of Singapore – to catch up with old friends and to see the campus again.

  • Funding Your Study Abroad

    Cost can be one of the most important factors to consider while researching programs. This guide will help you with factors to consider during the planning process, financial aid/scholarships opportunities, and budgeting advice.

  • Returning from Spain with a Spanish Major

    Getting academic credit while studying abroad is one of the many advantages to studying in another country, and sometimes you’re even able to earn credit toward a course of study you had never anticipated. This is what happened to senior Paulina KocoĊ„ when she studied abroad in Barcelona, Spain on the Liberal Arts and Sciences’ S&P program during the Spring of 2016.