Isabelle is an Ambassador who studied abroad in South Africa
Major: Elementary Education
Why did you choose to study abroad and how did you decide on this program?
I chose to study abroad because I wanted to immerse myself in a culture that was different from mainstream American culture. I wanted to go to South Africa because of my passion about African cultures and African history. I wanted to learn more about an African culture that was different from my own, while actually being in the continent.
Briefly describe a specific cultural experience you had on your trip that made a lasting impression.
When were in South Africa, we spent a weekend in the Transkei village area. There was no electricity and no running water. We stayed in huts and we were fully immersed in the traditional Xhosa culture. This excursion made a lasting impression because it made me think about how little that we need to be truly happy. It made me reflect back on my life back in America and how much we think that we need to be happy, but in reality its the little things that matter.
Describe your overall study abroad experience.
My overall study abroad experience was rewarding and meaningful. I'm so thankful for the experience and I am happy that I was able to go spend time in another part of the world.
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?
Spending a semester abroad allows for constant reflection and time to think about the way you live your life. Study abroad presented many challenges that helped me become a well-rounded person, and I have become more intentional with my interactions. Professionally, studying abroad has helped me see the value in having people who are of different cultural backgrounds come together for the greater good.
What advice can you offer for CSB/SJU students who are considering or planning to study abroad?
I would advise that CSBSJU students do things that stretch them beyond their comfort zone. Studying abroad is great time to enhance all areas of your life. It pushes you to see life in a different way, and this new perspective is well needed once you arrive back home.