Studying abroad changed my life forever. I have always loved to travel, but it costs a lot of money and takes a lot of time to be able to see everything when you visit a place. Through the Study Abroad Program at UTC I was able to offset some of that cost through receiving scholarships and also make my time abroad worthwhile by getting to travel and go to school simultaneously. I was fortunate enough to study abroad with someone I personally know that also goes to UTC, and I think that made the process even more enjoyable. Going to another country for a few months can be overwhelming, but I was often reassured by family and the staff at UTC, specifically Laura Livermore who is amazing at her job and very clearly loves what she does while also providing the information you need before you go.
I studied in Australia for a semester and it was easily the best experience of my life. Not only was submersing myself into their culture very rewarding, but being able to travel and see places many people never get to see in their lifetime was unreal. I will forever be thankful I decided to take this opportunity and see the world. Traveling changes who you are as a person in the best way. I definitely loved my time abroad, but it also made me even more grateful for my own country. Seeing the way other people live is intriguing and something everyone should take part in at least once in their lives.
Studying abroad did come with its setbacks, but they were all very minor. Their school system is quite different than ours and sometimes you are unable to take classes based on your major. It was also challenging not having the convenience of a car. Something I typically take for granted, like being able to drive to the grocery store and take my groceries home that way, was not available to me while abroad. But then again, this just made me even more grateful for both the experience and my life back home. Missing loved ones while abroad was also difficult, but because I was able to study abroad with a friend, it made it a lot easier.
Now that I am back home, I find myself trying to bring up my experiences studying abroad in casual conversation with strangers or new friends because I want to encourage them to explore their horizons and take on new experiences that may be overwhelming or frightening to begin with. I will
always be grateful for my time studying abroad, the friendships I made, and the places I was lucky enough to visit.
Olivia Cagle is majoring in Biology (pre-professional) and spent the Spring 2019 semester studying abroad in Brisbane, Australia through KEI. Olivia had the following to say about studying abroad, “Studying abroad was one of the best experiences I’ve ever had. I would do it again in a heartbeat.”
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