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Illinois Abroad Student Stories Blog

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

blog posts

  • A Semester in Pavila, Italy

  • Exploring Research Interests in Greece

    "During my time conducting experiments in a research internship for Perrotis College in the American Farm School located in Thessaloniki, Greece, I learned a lot academically, internally, and culturally, all of which has changed my outlook on life."

  • Virtual Global Experience Spotlight: Nicole Park, VA Corps - South Africa

    "Through this internship, I was able to develop my collaboration, networking, andinvestigation skills during my group-based learning projects with global organizations likeUNAids."

  • Discovering the Many Facets of Costa Rica

    “In my classes, I learned about all of Latin America, not just Costa Rica. I really enjoyed this broad curriculum because it complemented my out-of-classroom experiences. It was interesting to learn about migration as a global phenomenon in the context of prevalent economic migration to Costa Rica. Both my coursework and the conversations that I had with locals sparked an interest in this topic that I could see translating into my future career path.”

  • Studying Politics in Switzerland and Interning For the British Parliament

    “After a semester of studying politics in Geneva, Switzerland, I was able to intern at the British Parliament and gained a lot of experience working on public safety initiatives. It was an incredible experience that advanced my professional development. I also experienced British politics on a large scale, but also a small-scale when working with the constituency office. I came back to Illinois having grown professionally, academically and personally. Studying abroad on these programs gave me opportunities to flourish.”  -- Katherine East, junior in Political Science

  • Identity Reflection in Ghana

    “One integral part of the program was identity reflection. Although I don’t personally have Ghanian roots, I feel as though I had impactful experiences that translated into reflecting on my own identity, particularly my race. Our professor and TA incorporated group discussions after every cultural activity. It was powerful and educational to hear what my peers took from our experiences and how they related it to their life and identity. Being on a program like this was very special to me.” - Rosianna Alexander, senior in Human Development and Family Studies

  • Navigating Accessibility In Stirling

    “I was unsure about the culture around disabilities in the UK or what resources would be available to me, but I eventually made a personal decision not to take her [Gaza]. I found that the UK was inclusive, accommodating, and welcoming – when people saw having difficulty with my cane at the airport, or that I was struggling to keep up with the group, they put out a hand, asked if they could assist me, or waited for me to catch up. While abroad, I climbed the 246 steps of the National Wallace Monument and at the end of my program, I even gained enough confidence to climb Dumyat Hill with the people on my program. I love Gaza. She is a part of me, and always will be, but my identity had become ‘the girl with the dog.’ My study abroad experience allowed me to do the self-healing that I needed.”

  • 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!”