Degree candidates offer insight on study abroad experiences

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    Three December graduates share their memories and offer suggestions from their experiences abroad. While overseas, they experienced exotic food and diverse lifestyles and saw sights ranging from Machu Picchu in Peru to the Eiffel Tower in France. TCU students travel to Europe, Asia, Latin America, Africa and other destinations through the study abroad program. Twenty-eight percent of this year’s seniors have studied abroad.

    Strategic communication major Mckenzie Zieser

    Hometown: Phoenix, Ariz.

    Destination: Seville, Spain

    Time: Spring 2010

    • Favorite Memory: Climbing to the top of the sand dunes in the Sahara Desert to watch the sunrise.
    • Popular Phrase: “”No pasa nada,’ which means “don’t worry about it.’ Spaniards use it for everything 8212; just proves their easygoing culture.”
    • Places traveled: Madrid, Barcelona, Salamanca, Toledo, Segovia, Granada, Paris, Morocco, Amsterdam and Portugal
    • Misses the two-hour siestas every day.

    “This world is a much bigger place than I could ever have imagined, and I never want to stop traveling. It’s really an addiction for me now. I realize that every place offers something.”

    Theatre major Justin Rapp

    Hometown: Phoenix, Ariz.

    Destination: London, England

    Time: Summer 2010

    • Favorite Phrase: Cheers. “It just makes you happy.”
    • Favorite Food: Had to buy a crepe everywhere he went.
    • “Don’t let a second go by where you aren’t out. Spend every second doing something.”
    • Inspired by how two human beings could overcome the language barrier and still communicate by few shared words.

    “People do see and enjoy the small things in life. People in France aren’t afraid to go to a park for a day and enjoy doing nothing without feeling guilty. The appreciation for life and people in their life is inspiring.”

    Speech-language pathology and Spanish double major Julissa Sargeant

    Hometown: Benbrook

    Destination: Buenos Aires, Argentina

    Time: Spring 2010

    • Enriching experience: Enrolled at the Instituto Universitario Nacional del Arte, where she challenged herself to learn how to tango and made two of her best local Argentinian friends.
    • Popular phrase: “Que se yo?” 8212; What do I know? Typically used as a filler phrase in Argentinian colloquial language.
    • Favorite food: Tartas de verduras 8212; vegetable pie.
    • Advice: Living with a host family is crucial to the experience because it gets you involved right away.

    “I loved how friendly everyone was. I feel like everyone always had some advice to give you, right down to the taxi drivers who always enjoyed giving their two cents. I really loved the openness of the culture.”

    These three December graduates faced language and cultural barriers, yet managed to adjust quickly and returned with a new outlook on life.

    “About a month in, you start having a couple of bad days where you don’t understand anything people are telling you,” Sargeant said. “I adjusted by realizing that this is what I wanted. I wanted to be abroad. I chose this for myself and will never regret being there, only grow from it.”

    Through their various experiences, they said that they learned that flexibility and an open mind are key in succeeding in a foreign country, that experiences abroad are priceless and, most importantly, one should appreciate diversity and continually work toward discovering his or her world.