By Erich Maynard
As the spring semester begins, students who were studying abroad are trying to adjust to life back in the United States, and on campus
Students said studying abroad was one of the best experiences of their lives and offered them a new perspective on different cultures and life in general.
Caroline Lambert a junior at Stonehill College spent a semester at Oxford University in Oxford, London. She took classes towards her interdisciplinary global policy and relations major. While at Oxford, Caroline was an attacker for the Oxford lacrosse team.
Lambert said she quickly noticed Oxford classes are structured differently.
“In America we are in class for most of the day, with a lot of instruction. At Oxford it is one on one with the professor, and most of our time is spent researching and writing essays,” said Lambert.
The biggest adjustment at home for Lambert was the time difference, and having her own car again. She said students at Oxford were also different.
“I don’t want to bash Stonehill but at Oxford the students were really engaged and intelligent, and in depth with conversation. While at Stonehill the culture is still friendly just more relaxed,” said Lambert
Lambert said studying abroad changed her, “I learned more about myself in the last three months than I have in the past few years, being thrown out of your comfort zone allows you to grow. It’s challenging but completely worth it.”
Andrew Curran, a Stonehill senior majoring in Political Science & International Studies, visited Nepal, Jordan, and Chile. He took a more untraditional route for his study abroad program. He was part of a comparative research program in human rights that centered around all three countries.
“The variation in daily lives, and routines, my home stays and encounters with natives in the area life seamed a lot more relaxed and less hectic,” said Curran When discussing the differences from the United States.
Curran said he did not have the same luxuries that he was used to while at home.
“I think like certain comedies and conveniences, it was really bizarre for me to use my cellphone wherever I could, instead of waiting until I could find a cafe in a random part of the city,” Curran said.
The biggest difference he said he saw when he returned to Stonehill was how people looked at their lives.
“I met people who had family members murdered. We really do have it pretty great here so it was pretty unsettling hearing to hear people complain about how many courses they are taking this semester or how early they have to wake up for their 8:30’s,” said Curran.
Abby Bongaarts, a senior at Stonehill and a German major, spent the entire last year living in Munich, Germany.
Bongaarts decided to spend a year abroad because she believed that was necessary to fully learn German and excel in her studies.
Bongaarts noticed when she returned home that the American flag seems to be flown in more places around the country compared to the German flag in Germany.
“It was more challenging coming back to Stonehill. I got used to doing my own things so by being an RA, not only do I have to abide by Stonehill’s rules, but I also reinforce them. It was an adjustment coming back and having that responsibility again,” said Bongaarts.
Bongaarts expressed how glad she was for having the opportunity to be able to study abroad for the year.
“I’m glad I didn’t spend all four years at Stonehill, and I’m glad I didn’t spend my four years in Germany,” said Bongaarts.
“I think it has definitely made me more open to new experiences, and really promoted independence,” said Bongaarts in response to being asked how she had grown from studying abroad.
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