Tim 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 to study abroad because I wanted to have a worldly experience to expand my perspective. I was so used to my small world of the Midwest that I only had a very limited perspective of the world. Not only did I want to change that but I also wanted to become more independent and confident with my abilities. This in many ways are fulfilled by taking a risk on a study abroad trip.
Briefly describe a specific cultural experience you had on your trip that made a lasting impression.
As part of our Spring Break in South Africa we stayed overnight with a family that lived in a township just outside of Cape Town. A township is essentially a slum and people live in very close quarters. The reason that this made a lasting impression on me is that I got to talk to actual people of South Africa. I spent a lot of time learning about South Africa and everything that goes into it but it was harder to get that perspective from an actual South African. This was fulfilled in spades on that special night and I left thoroughly enlightened.
Describe your overall study abroad experience.
My experience was incredible. From getting on that plane in Minnesota to peering through my airplane window as the African continent gradually faded away there was never a dull moment. I met new people, I did crazy things, I felt alive, and above all I had no regrets. Ultimately my experience is unexplainable because it is something that cannot be reduced down to just words. Believe it is a once in a lifetime experience and I would
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?
The trip made me definitely a lot more mature. Surprisingly, a trip like South Africa actually made me think more about my future. A study abroad experience strangely helps you get to know what you are really like since I was forced to step outside of my comfort zone. Coming away from my experience I am definitely much more mature than I was before. I feel like I am very independent and just have a strong exhilaration for life which is something that I am not really used to. A study abroad experience transcends the exotic locations and the adventures that you go on. It instills a richness of life and that is something that has absolutely changed for me.
What advice can you offer for CSB/SJU students who are considering or planning to study abroad?
The one piece of advice that I would give to future Study Abroad students is to embrace everything about your experience. I probably got the least amount of sleep over a span of four months than I ever have before in my life but I was doing this because I wanted to experience everything that my locale had to offer. Another thing is step out of your comfort zone. Right away I half-heartedly wished that I was still back in the United States because that was my comfort zone. Once I stepped out of that box I grew more in the four months abroad than I ever have before