Inside: Study Abroad

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    Traveling around the world, experiencing the sights, sounds and smells of another culture is a life-changing experience. Many say it expands their knowledge base and puts global thinking into practice 8212; often in a breathtakingly different and exciting backdrop in the heart of more than 25 countries around the world.

    From Sweden to London and Asia to the Middle East, the Center for International Studies at TCU enables students to gain international perspectives and understand cultures that were previously only a concept. Students earn academic credit studying core classes and strengthening their majors and minors, but the most significant aspect of the experience for many is the experiential learning and broadening of horizons beyond their everyday experiences.

    The cost for study abroad tuition, program fees and housing expenses are very similar to what on-campus students pay and many receive scholarships and financing options for programs which can last anywhere from three weeks to a full academic year.

    Cinque Terre, Italy

    While studying abroad in Italy I traveled around the country discovering small towns that otherwise I would have never seen. From the minute I arrived I was able to fully immerse myself in the Italian culture.

    Like most small towns in Italy, in Cinque Terre joy and beauty radiates from everything 8212; from the colorful architecture to the friendly locals. The Italian culture is typically spontaneous, and to that end we fit in right away. We arrived in the country with nowhere to stay. Luckily we befriended a couple who owned a bed and breakfast with an opening for the night.

    Being in a place like Cinque Terre you realize why everyone is so nice. Hiking through the towns, I was able to truly enjoy the simplicity of life that the Italians are so famous for. This photo captures the essence of small-town Italian culture to me.

    From young boys playing soccer to women talking over coffee, everything is done with a bright smile. One stay in a place like this will forever change your outlook on life.

    Photo and story by Allison Marshall

    Prague, Czech Republic

    Imagine a life outside your own. Imagine people you haven’t met, places you haven’t seen and food you haven’t tasted. Imagine the places you have not stepped, the lives you have not touched and the lives that have yet to touch you. Study abroad is about change and embracing the places that change you. My experience ignited a new thirst for discovery. I wanted to be the sponge that soaked it all up. I wanted to see everything.

    This image was taken at the Lennon Wall in Prague, Czech Republic. Created during the communist regime of Gustav Husak, the previously blank wall was reborn an outlet of peace, love and equality. Continual contributions create a living wall that is always changing. New words are written over hardened coats of adage.

    Representing the voice of youth, I also see the Lennon Wall as a symbol of life. Although constantly evolving, we remain the same; under layers of the past, we carry our experiences. We are ever-changing, ever-growing, ever-learning. And yet beneath our present and past identities is the blank canvas we started with.

    I like to think of my experiences abroad as a new layer of who I have become. This photograph is my constant reminder of everything I walked away with.

    Photo and story by Jenna Guarascio

    Cape Coast, Ghana

    Life beyond America is something very few of us can say we know. This picture represents Ghanaian citizens who have never known a life where things were given to them freely. To see people working this hard for things that we attain so easily is something that was very hard to grasp from an outside perspective. Seeing this made me a better person because I am 10 times more appreciative than I was before I was introduced to life in a developing country.

    The poverty and sadness I faced daily was something we only see through camera lenses, on TV, in newspapers and film.

    To see the tragedy from a foot away is something I can’t describe. What I can do is encourage others to explore the world outside of our borders and learn the same appreciation that I did. A life-altering experience such as this enables one to live each day to the fullest. It brings about an understanding that family and relationships are more meaningful than all other wants and desires.

    I went to Ghana naively thinking my presence would change and better the lives of others, but the person whose life was changed the most was my own.

    Photo and story by Elizabeth Slagle