I chose to study in the Balkans because I had never seen a short-term trip offered that included so many places. I needed three more credit hours to graduate and with the tuition cap it was actually inexpensive compared to taking one regular (non-study abroad) class in the summer. It also meant I would be done with school quicker. What better way is there to finish undergrad than traveling to five of the most beautiful countries in the world? We went to Croatia, Montenegro, Albania, Macedonia, and Kosovo. Each place was so beautiful but so different. One day we were in Old Town Dubrovnik, the next we were at a beach in Montenegro, and the next in the Albanian Alps surrounded by mountains.

Having Dr. Asllani, who is from Albania, show us these places was such a gift because I don’t think anyone else could have pulled off this trip with so many different cities the way he was able to. And having him there to help us order food was a plus. We traveled to a different city every day until the end of the trip in Tirana, Albania so we got to experience so much in the amount of time that we had. Every country spoke a different language and used a different currency so it got a little overwhelming at times, especially for people who had never traveled outside the US before. I like to challenge myself, and it is my goal to move and work abroad so this was a great experience for me to work towards that goal.

I hope that Dr. Asllani does this trip again because it meant so much to me and I know others had the same experience. I am also starting the MBA program in the fall and I would love to visit these places again as a grad student. This was my third short-term study abroad trip (second through UTC). And the more I travel the more comfortable I am with being vulnerable and learning to leave preconceptions at home. I think all students should go on a study abroad trip. There are some things that can’t be taught in a classroom and it is also one of the best conversation starters while networking or during an interview. It might just be the one thing that sets you apart from the rest.

Bronwyn McEwen is majoring in Business. She participated in a faculty-led trip to the Balkans through the College of Business in May, 2018. Bronwyn had the following to say about her time abroad, “From this trip I have gained friends and mentors that have helped me realize how much I am capable of. It’s amazing how much we learned in such a short amount of time. This trip to the Balkans was the best way to end my undergraduate time at UTC and I’m so thankful for the opportunity to study abroad. It was the best decision I made as a student and I hope that I can continue to study abroad as a graduate student. These pictures don’t even do justice because these places were breathtaking.”

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