Exploring Beyond the Red Doors

Warren Stella ’05 and Jeffrey Hughes ’05 stand in front of the Harbor Bridge in Sydney, New South Wales, Australia.

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Students decide to study abroad for many reasons, whether it is to enhance their major, meet new friends, or simply travel out of the country for the first time. Some students choose to study abroad on their own, while others bring companions along for the ride. Jeffrey Hughes ’05 and Warren Stella ’05, two best friends, studied and traveled together at the University of New South Wales in Sydney, Australia, during the Spring 2004 semester. Jeff noted that, “Australia allowed us to get a new cultural experience while still speaking English. Without having to deal with as significant of a language barrier, we really were able to immerse ourselves in the culture of Australia,” said Jeff. “Our most Australian experience was traveling to the Outback, where we camped out in the desert for four days and interacted very closely with the Aboriginese.”

Another student traveler, Valerie Lykes ’05, choose to study abroad for the entire 2003-2004 academic year. She spent the fall semester participating in the University of Maastricht exchange program, and in the spring semester she studied at the University of Edinburgh in Scotland. Her study abroad experience in the fall allowed her to complete a concentration for her economics major, and her visit to Scotland fulfilled her personal aspiration to see the country. “Studying abroad was a fantastic opportunity,” said Lykes. “I’ve always wanted to study and travel, and Muhlenberg had programs with a lot of options.”

Other students choose to explore the even more exotic and unknown. Junior Rachel Feinberg is spending the Spring 2005 semester at the University of Capetown in South Africa. Feinberg noted, “I wanted to go somewhere completely different and exotic where I could be exposed to experiences that were not common for me to encounter at Muhlenberg. I wanted to go to a school that has some diversity... maybe even where I’m included in the minority. Since South Africa is currently a third world country in the prime of its development, studying there would remove me from my comfortable mainstream American life experience and place me in a setting where I need to exercise independence in a new and very different environment. University of Capetown is also known for its phenomenal science department. None of the other typically visited study abroad schools really offered me the same opportunity to explore wildlife and ecosystems intensely.”

Muhlenberg education abroad programs undoubtedly provide students with unforgettable memories and experiences that are, for most, “the time of their lives.” But most Muhlenberg students also note how their experiences abroad strengthen the bonds they have with the College. As Hughes reflected, “After studying abroad, there was so much more I appreciated about Muhlenberg and college life here in the States.”

 

  1. Travel Light
  2. Take overnight trains when going long distances - saves time and money
  3. When entering a new city, ask other budget travelers where they ate, slept, and went out
  4. Make use of long distance friends
  5. Keep in contact with home periodically
  6. If you get sick, go to the doctor
  7. Reconfirm hotel and plane reservations
  8. Don’t change more money than you need
  9. Be alert, cautious and always respectful of local people and customs
  10. Learn how to say “Thank You” in the language of each country you are visiting

Travel Tips Provided by Council Travel and the Muhlenberg Education Abroad Program*

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