By Kjerstin Wood, Sophomore, Major: Journalism
Here’s a question for you: What can you do in 57 days? Let’s narrow it down even further—what can you do for 57 days in the summer? With no classes, friends travelling back home, and maybe you dreading going back to that summer job you’ve done five summers in a row?
Here’s what I’m doing with 57 days of my summer vacation: travelling to five different countries, learning a foreign language, immersing myself in an entirely new culture, and getting ahead by finishing a chunk of my upper division theme, not to mention elective credits. I’m meeting American students from all over the U.S., as well as students from all over the world. I’m challenging myself academically while gaining independence and professional experience. I’m representing the Chico community in an international forum—all in just a little less than two months.
As someone who participates in many great on-campus events, clubs, and Greek life, I wondered how I would be able to study abroad without missing all the great events that occur on the Chico State campus. So when I approached the Study Abroad Office and found out about all the amazing summer programs available, I rallied to find the funds, the program, and the location best for me.
Prague has become everything I could have possibly imagined. Beautiful, scenic, historic, cultural—for me it was the best location. My professors are all fabulous, and most of them have lived in Prague or the Czech Republic their entire lives. What I love most about the classes here are that most of the things we’re learning about we can actually go out and experience! My Alternative Cultures class was studying the importance of graffiti and street art in the political sense, and we were able to visit the legal graffiti wall in Prague called Tesnov and discuss the various forms of street art. My program director, Jan, was present at the very first protest that sparked the Velvet Revolution in 1989, which led to the fall of Communism in the Czech Republic.
While here I have visited Krakow, Poland, located near Auschwitz and home to St. Mary’s Church. I was even lucky enough to visit the “city of dragons” during their Independence Day festival, a large parade on the river with fireworks and balloons. I have also been to Nuremburg, Germany, and this weekend the USAC group is going on a five-day trip to Vienna, Austria and Budapest, Hungary, with several stops along the way.
There will always be excuses for not going abroad, but in my opinion there’s no better time than the present. You could spend your whole summer at home with your family, visiting friends, which is a fun and great way to spend your time, but why not experience something new? Why not meet amazing new friends and learn more about yourself through an entirely new culture?
If you have any questions, go to the Study Abroad Office and have a chat with a peer advisor or Coordinator Tasha Dev, or just ask a friend who’s studied abroad. I guarantee you will not find a single person who regrets it. I know I don’t!
This is the second piece in a series of four about the Study Abroad opportunities available at Chico State year round.