Brianna Hartke

­­­­Brianna is an Ambassador who studied abroad in South Africa

Major: Elementary Education

Minor: TESL

Why did you choose to study abroad and how did you decide on this program?

I decided to study abroad to gain a different perspective, to learn about a culture other than my own, as well as to gain a greater sense of independence. I specifically chose South Africa because of the service learning experience that it offered and the rich culture and political past.

Briefly describe a specific cultural experience you had on your trip that made a lasting impression.

My time at Pendla Elementary was an incredible experience and is something I will always remember. I was able to teach in a first grade classroom and see the cultural differences in education and classroom management. Through this experience I was able to form close relationships with my students and the staff and I was able to learn how to better teach students of diverse backgrounds.

Describe your overall study abroad experience.

I enjoyed the courses I was able to take and they were applicable to my everyday life in South Africa. My courses gave me a better idea of the countries past as well as where they were hoping to be in the future.

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 feel much more confident in my future career and was able to gain a lot more experience teaching students who don't speak English. Since I hope to be an ESL teacher this semester abroad was incredibly beneficial for me. I also have a better sense of the world around me and was able to realize a lot of the everyday things that we take for granted here in America.

What advice can you offer for CSB/SJU students who are considering or planning to study abroad?

I highly recommend study abroad! The group that you travel with is likely to become like a second family to you and you're able to bring those connections back to campus with. This is also a fantastic opportunity to see a different part of the world and learn from people that have had completely different life experiences than your own.