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Meet Our Study Abroad Ambassadors

Megan Acree
General Education in Spain and Greece, 2011

My name is Megan Acree. I am currently a junior studying history and secondary education. I have been a study abroad ambassador since the fall of 2011. I studied abroad on a short-term, faculty led program, to Spain and Greece, in the summer of 2011. This trip was four weeks long; while in Spain, I lived with a Spanish-speaking host family and took two classes with Longwood professors. This trip was one of the best experiences of my life. It taught me about independence, gave me confidence, showed me how to interact with different cultures, and increased my fluency in Spanish. I became a Study Abroad Ambassador so I could help students understand the power and advantages of studying abroad. There is nothing like learning in another country, you will never forget the experience.  

 

Jamie Clift
Semester in Valencia, Spain, 2012

I went to Valencia on a whim. I had always wanted to study abroad, and I had a serious fascination with the Spanish language, so when my roommate told me that she was heading to Spain, I decided to go too. It was one of the best decisions I have ever made in my life. As someone who had never left the country before, or even been to a city larger than Washington D.C., I was really nervous about going to a foreign place, full of people who didn't speak my language and living among them in a city of about 1 million people. But I knew that this was something that I had to do. I made it my goal to go out and make Spanish friends, try all of the Spanish food, and see all of the sights that Valencia had to offer. I was rewarded with a deep understanding of Spanish culture, amazing memories, and incredible friendships. Yes, I learned to speak better Spanish, and I learned about Spanish culture, history, food, architecture, and politics. But the most important things I leaned were quite different from what I had expected. I learned to be confident in myself, to live with relative independence, to navigate a city. I grew up a lot. Studying abroad changed my life, and it's something that I think everyone should experience.

 

Mandy McPherson
Malaysia, 2010 & student teaching in Costa Rica, 2012

‘This world could not have been created for me to simply stay in one place.' My name is Mandy McPherson, and I am currently a graduate student at Longwood University. As a part of the five-year Master's Degree program for Special Education, I have been attending Longwood since my freshman year. In May 2010, and after much going back and forth on the thought, I embarked on my first trip abroad to Malaysia. This two-week excursion changed my entire view on life and caused me to start thinking like the previous quote. I guess it took more of a toll on me than I understood because two short years later I completed the second half of my student teaching in Ciudad Quesada, Costa Rica- which lasted close to two months. Both of my trips were similar in a few ways. The food was amazing, testing my physical limits was challenging, living like the locals was humbling, and dealing with language barriers was sometimes frustrating... but I would not take it back for all the money in the world. In fact, I would relive those experiences again any day. It's like someone once told me, travelling is the only thing you can spend money on and come back richer than before.

 

Caroline Nye
Semester in Limerick, Ireland, 2012

I am a senior and Communications major at Longwood University. During the spring 2012 semester, I participated in the semester long exchange program in Limerick, Ireland. I attended Mary Immaculate College and studied Mass Media. During my five month stay abroad I was forunate enough to travel to eight different countries: Ireland, England, France, Germany, Wales, Scotland, Spain, and Holland. Studying abroad was such an amazing opportunity for me. Not only did I learn about other cultures but I learned a lot about myself as an individual. My experiences abroad will definitely be beneficial when searching for careers in law enforcement because I have experienced communicating with people from all over the world. I also made friends from several different countries and was able to expand my time abroad by staying with a friend in Holland once the semester was finished. My experience abroad was amazing and truly an experience of a lifetime.
 

Stephanie Peterson
General Education in Spain and Greece, 2012

If I were to name my greatest experience from my three already amazing years at Longwood University, I'd talk about the summer that I lived in Spain. When people ask me how I enjoyed the trip, I know that they're looking for a brief synopsis of my experience. But how can I describe that month to them in a few short words? No, this trip meant so much more to me than that. I would have to show them all the pictures, explain all the lasting friendships I made, and let them look at all the emails my host family has sent me since I left. If my study abroad experience had to be summed up in just a few short words, I would say that it was life changing.
I had always wanted to study abroad, and I definitely was not disappointed by this opportunity. Just getting to live in a different country and to be thoroughly immersed in the culture was an amazing learning experience for me. If that wasn't perfect enough, we also took a trip each weekend, including a trip to Athens, Greece. In that month, I learned so much more than I could have learned by just sitting in class. Being able to actually go to the places that I've seen in books was so incredible. I think that everyone would benefit greatly from this opportunity. Not only do your Spanish skills improve, but you also gain so many unforgettable life experiences that I wouldn't trade for anything. Given the chance, I'd do this program all over again.
Studying abroad was truly one of the best choices I have ever made and I hope that others will take advantage of this opportunity as well.

 

Skyler Carpenter
Exotic Thailand, 2012

In May of 2012 I studied abroad in Thailand for approximately two weeks. We traveled through various areas of Thailand including Bangkok, Ayutthaya and Krabi; indulging ourselves into the Thai culture daily. I traveled with 13 other students and we visited urban and rural areas, including cities with luminous night markets and hill tribes in the dense jungle areas. I not only gained worldly knowledge but I also learned how to adapt to a culture that was completely opposite from mine. This trip was a life-changing experience due to the international connections I made while abroad, including friendships. Studying abroad was the best decision I have made for my future thus far. I learned how to relate to people from across the globe and I consider that to be one of the most rewarding aspects of studying abroad.

 

Kenzi Harrington
Practicum II in Ireland, 2011

In the summer of 2011, I was lucky enough to go with nine other girls and Dr. Nancy Powers to do my Practicum II in Limerick, Ireland for three weeks. We stayed at the amazing Limerick Strand Hotel where we got a delicious buffet breakfast every morning. Our entire stay at that hotel we were treated like royalty and never wanted to leave. For dinner every night we went out to eat at places around the city. It was really fun to just walk down the streets and randomly choose a place. We found some really great food and fun places that way! I fell absolutely in love with the city of Limerick in my time there. We were divided in groups among schools in the area; I worked at Presentation Primary Sexton Street School with a class of sixth grade girls. I was surprised to find students not just from Ireland in my classroom but from Poland, Egypt, Korea, China, and more. We taught in the schools all day Monday through Friday then spent our weekends jam-packed with sightseeing! We used a lovely family owned touring company the entire trip and got to know the husband and wife well. When I think about the amount of things I saw in Ireland I'm blown away! We visited the Cliffs of Moher, which was my favorite of the sights. In addition we went to Burren, Bunratty (for a medieval dinner theatre!), Galway, County Cork, Blarney Castle (we kissed the Blarney Stone!), Dublin, and more! My absolute favorite part was the tour of the Victorian mansion Muckross house. It was incredible beautiful and the grounds were just as spectacular! Without a doubt, it was the best month of my life and I'm so grateful I was given the opportunity with Longwood!

 

 

Amanda Nurmi
General Education in Spain and Greece, 2012

I immensely enjoyed my experience during the General Education Spain and Greece trip. I was able to learn more about myself in the month I attended than in two years of college. We stayed with host families, which helped me adapt to their culture better and helped me increase my Spanish. Studying abroad impacted my life by opening up my mind and showing me how amazing the world is. This experience has made me want to travel more, which was never a priority in my life. Another big part of studying abroad that I loved was the bonds I made. Not knowing many people attending the trip allowed me to meet new people and break out of my shell. We had to work together and spend all day with each other. I encourage everyone to take the opportunity to study abroad if possible because it will change your life.

 

Brittany Olin
General Education in Spain and Greece, 2010

Hello! My name is Brittany Olin and I'm currently a senior at Longwood, majoring in Business Administration - concentrating in both Marketing and Management. I partook in a faculty-led study abroad program the summer going into my sophomore year (Summer 2010). I studied abroad in Valencia, Spain and Athens, Greece. The program that I went on is still being offered today and is open to all majors on campus. It is called the General Education Summer in Spain and Greece. I would definitely recommend studying aboard and going on this particular trip. I was able to have a ton of fun and experience a whole other world while taking courses that were relevant to my studies here at Longwood. The program allowed me to knock nearly a semester's worth of general education courses out of the way in just over a month's time. I fully embraced my experience in Spain and was able to learn from it. Not only did my foreign language skills improve but, my overall perception of the world had changed and I was exposed to world economic issues that would later come to help me in my upper-level business courses. Now, as I'm beginning to apply for jobs upon graduating in December, I'm finding that employers look highly upon students that have studied abroad. Not only has study abroad allowed me to set myself apart from my fellow graduating peers, but I was also fortunate enough to gain life-long experiences and friendships that I'll never seem to forget.

 

Katy Settell
Semester in New Zealand, 2012

Kia Ora! My name is Katy and I am a senior biology major. In spring 2012 I attended the University of Waikato in Hamilton, New Zealand for one semester. I chose to do study abroad through a third-party provider, GlobaLinks Learning Abroad. It was the only way to travel to my dream destination! Although many people overlook them, the third-party providers can send you just about anywhere. I was the only Longwood student going to New Zealand, so yes, I was very scared to travel literally to the other side of the world. GlobaLinks Learning Abroad was tremendously helpful though, they flew me out two weeks earlier to learn about the Maori culture in New Zealand, meet fellow international students, and have heaps of fun! I stayed in New Zealand for a total of six months to ensure I got to see everything the beautiful country provided. I was also allowed to travel to Australia and Fiji during my breaks. Studying abroad was by far the best decision I have made during college (possibly the best in my life!). I only wish I had done it sooner so I could do it over! I have gained a better understanding of what it feels like to be an international student and have also made everlasting friendships. I definitely got the adventures I was anticipating from such an adventure junkie country. A few things I did while abroad, besides attend class: hiked the Tongariro Crossing, hiked Fox Glacier, went skydiving, became an avid All Blacks fan (and fan of the Waikato Chiefs!), went sand surfing, and learned the traditional Maori Haka (definitely look it up if you don't know what it is, or find me, I'm usually wearing my All Blacks jersey, and I'd be happy to teach you!). Leaving New Zealand and all my new kiwi friends was the hardest "See you later" to say. Trust me, I will go back!