Study Abroad Blog

CAMERON ARNZEN – SUMMER 2016: POLITICAL ECONOMY RESEARCH IN ZAMBIA

“Africa was always a romantic idea for me, but even more out-of-reach was the idea of conducting my own research. When C of I secured a new Political Economy professor who specialized in African Politics, the idea became more tangible. I started exploring the opportunities that were available, but the concept of Africa finally cemented when the new professor offered me a chance to both assist her in post-dissertation research and conduct my own research project.

Zambia offered me valuable experience through conducting my own research project as well as assisting Professor Hern in polishing an astoundingly impressive project. I was living the exotic idea of research in a foreign country. C of I had provided me an opportunity to do what few undergraduates get to do -- research. It had always seemed so complicated and abstract, but suddenly became my purpose.

After a month of traveling around Zambia by boat, plane, and car, I had developed a working collection of data from daily interviews. Through the help of C of I, developed my own research project to be proud of. At the end of the trip, SAIPAR (Southern African Institute for Policy and Research) was hosting a seminar discussing research and we were invited to attend. As an undergrad, I got to discuss our projects and contribute to the discussion. It turns out that nothing is more rewarding than fielding questions about your research from experienced scholars, and having complete confidence in answering them.” 

 

Brittaney bones -- Winter 2016: Interdisciplinary Studies of Venice and Italy    

"It is no exaggeration when I say my Study Away experience with C of I created some of the most impactful experiences of my life thus far.  From the insight given by the professors who guided us along the winding canals of Venice, the new cultures we partook in, and through eating way too much French cuisine -- each part of the trip helped me to establish a new global perspective. The shared observations made by traveling through Europe with students from the C of I community created close knit friendships and outlets to discuss the exhilarating sensory overloads we were all experiencing. What I most appreciated from this opportunity however was the independent growth I gained from getting the freedom to travel as an individual. The preparation of the class and professors helped instill confidence in my ability as a capable traveler. Despite being my first time out of the country, I was able to learn to navigate around cities where the only words I knew how to speak were “hello”, “goodbye”, and “where is the restroom?” This addicting nature of travel even caused myself alongside two other students to decide to extend our trip, visiting London, Belfast, and Dublin before we came home to greet the spring semester." 


Liz trenkel -- WINTER 2016: INTERDISCIPLINARY STUDIES OF VENICE AND ITALY    

"I always knew that I loved travel, so when I found out that there was a faculty lead trip, I couldn’t let the opportunity pass me by. What I didn’t know was how much studying abroad and fully engrossing myself in a cities culture, history and of course my favorite part, the cuisine, has changed the way I view the learning process. There are so many more wonderful opportunities to learn than in the traditional classroom setting. It is truly a life-altering experience to see famous paintings by artists that I thought I was only ever going to view through an electronic screen like Degas, Monet, Van Gough, Pollock and Ernst. To be able to stand underneath famous monuments I have only ever seen in movies like Eiffel Tower, Notre Dame, Arc de Triomphe and St. Marks Basilica. However, the most valuable lesson I learned was that I was capable of being independent and successfully navigating a city where there was a language barrier. This experience has given me more confidence in the classroom back on campus, made me more observant of my surroundings, and ultimately, inspired my inner travel-bug to continue traveling and immersing myself in new cities and cultures."