“Through studying abroad, I learned much more than I could in a classroom or reading a textbook.” – Natalie Szot, ACES Faculty-Led Program: Service Learning, Child, Family, Health and Agriculture in South Africa Summer 2017
Many students believe that they won’t have time to study abroad in their college career. In reality, students don’t have to take time out of their academic schedule to study abroad. There are plenty of programs available during the Summer term as well as during Winter and Spring breaks. Natalie Szot spent three weeks in Cape Town, South Africa during the Summer 2017 term.
Natalie’s experience abroad was unforgettable. Although she had to do extensive planning, Natalie said it was worth the work. “From a small urge of wanting to spend my summer doing something extraordinary to actually looking at all the programs on the Study Abroad website, I would have never guessed in just a couple months I would be halfway across the world.”
Natalie had to take extra steps in the planning process because she requires a wheelchair. As soon as she was accepted into the program she began preparing for her three weeks abroad. “This included finding a personal assistant to come with me and assist with activities of daily living, renting a wheelchair, applying for scholarships and making sure all travel arrangements were accessible.” Despite having to coordinate additional accommodations, she would absolutely do it all again.
“Words nor pictures do justice to the conversations spoke, things I saw or experiences I had.”
Natalie had the opportunity to experience everything from traveling through the mountains to going on safaris. Through these experiences, she felt as though she learned more than she ever thought possible. “I learned first hand through engaging in a culture different than my own, listening to others’ stories and exploring. South Africa has a deep history that I learned so much about.”
Natalie encouraged everyone to study abroad, despite a person’s level of ability. “Even for just a short time you will learn so much by engaging in new cultures and broadening your horizons.”