While it is impossible to generalize about student experiences, many university websites offer specific insights through student written blogs. The University of Florida maintains an attractive, informative study abroad site
, and readers can click on the “blog from abroad” section to travel vicariously to Holland, France, and New Zealand, as well as other destinations.
Students are usually the best advocates for the programs (photo above: Iowa State University group at Italian winery).
Kayla Chalfant, CAST’s Finance Administrative Assistant, has been on two spring break study abroad trips with Iowa State University. “The experiences have been completely positive for me,” says the 21-year-old senior majoring in accounting and management information systems. “Both trips gave me cultural experiences, some hands-on challenges, and a chance to meet new friends.”
During her trip to the Bahamas, Kayla (student on the right in cooking photo) studied hospitality and event management—students worked with the public at the front desk and main call centers. In Italy, the group examined entrepreneurship and sustainability at a winery and at the city market. “Their restaurants and markets are interesting,” said Kayla. “I was impressed with the way they use and display all parts of an animal.” She also enjoyed the cooking class. “They showed us how to make great dishes from local, healthy food. By the way, the wine tasting session wasn’t bad either.”
The amount of education, money, and hassles involved with each trip varies. Kayla pointed out that she had a research report due as a follow-up to the Italy trip. “As with most travelers, I gained plenty from seeing other people, places, and situations.”
She also benefited from good health and smooth travel. “We did have a cab breakdown in the Bahamas. A mad rush and some frantic moments got us to the airport for the final flight out.” Her Italy itinerary also went well, but a couple of fellow students missed a flight connection in Paris. “I guess it could be worse. Some of them thought it was cool to visit the Eiffel Tower and stay in a posh French hotel.”
As with any study abroad, everyone hopes it turns out to be a truly Bon Voyage.
by dan gogerty