Ryan is an Ambassador who studied abroad in Fiji
Why did you choose to study abroad and how did you decide on this program?
I wanted to see a part of the world that I probably wouldn't normally travel too. I didn't want to be in a big city. Lastly, I love action and adventure. Fiji seemed to be the best fit and I really enjoyed both the professors that were leading the trip.
Briefly describe a specific cultural experience you had on your trip that made a lasting impression.
On our first day in Fiji, we travel by jet boat to a native village to see their lifestyle and participate in a kava ceremony. The natives gave us a tour of their village and spoke in-depthly about their culture and life. After hanging out with some of the villagers and eating a home cooked meal from Fiji, I told my professors that it was one of the coolest things I have ever experienced. I said this because I learned that you don't need fancy cars and big houses to be happy. All it takes for these people to be happy was to make someone else happy.
Describe your overall study abroad experience.
It was life changing and a memory that I will never forget. I made so many lasting friendships that I can see will last far longer than my time here at SJU.
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 biggest benefit was stepping outside the comfort of MN and exploring a place that was across the world. You build these great relationships because it is only you, some other students that you just met, and your professors. After this trip I found myself challenging myself more on projects, I changed my major, and I view life differently after seeing how the people in Fiji live.
What advice can you offer for CSB/SJU students who are considering or planning to study abroad?
Go for it! My only regret is not studying abroad for a longer period of time. Put your "home" life on hold and go see the world with a group of people your age.