Kelcey Kryzer is an Ambassador who studied abroad in South Africa
Why did you choose to study abroad and how did you decide on this program?
I wanted a completely different culture that was not similar to the one I grew up in, so basically something that was not first world. I was also looking for adventure when I went abroad, not just looking at churches and museums the whole time. Lastly, South Africa is a place that I will probably never have a chance to travel to again unlike a few of my other top study abroad choice countries.
Briefly describe a specific cultural experience you had on your trip that made a lasting impression.
Volunteering in a primary school inflicted with poverty was the most amazing experience I had while I was abroad. I learned the ins and outs of a completely different education system, saw how students and teachers act differently in South Africa compared to the US. They taught each of us memorable things about their culture, from how they share food if a classmate doesn't have enough money for food to how their family structures are.
Describe your overall study abroad experience.
My overall study abroad experience was incredible! Not only did I learn how to live in a different culture and my group, but I learned a lot about myself as well. I gained a better sense of independence, of testing my comfort levels, and realizing that no matter how far away people live from one another and how different their cultures are, people are still very similar in the ways that they want to treat people and the ways that people treat them. While Abroad did have it's difficult moments, we, as a group, learned to lean on one another and support one another as much as necessary
Based on your experiences abroad, what are some of the benefits of spending a semester abroad? How has studying abroad contributed to your personal, academic, and professional development?
I learned a lot about myself while I was abroad which will make it easier to talk about my best and worst qualities in job interviews. I also am much more comfortable with talking to people that I don't know and asking them questions that are of interest to me. Lastly, when learning about the South African culture, I was able to realize what gives America their sense of culture which I had never noticed before.
What advice can you offer for CSB/SJU students who are considering or planning to study abroad?
Don't be afraid. Jump right into everything- meeting new people or trying new activities. Also, learn to branch out outside of your group. Your group will always be there for support, but use this once in a lifetime opportunity to make new connections.