Study Abroad Student Testimonials
Sociology majors have studied abroad to six out of the seven continents and so we have many stories about where students have gone! Below are just a few. Interested in sharing your story? We love to feature new content, so talk with Bobby Bryant about having your story featured here or in our Soc Scene newsletter!
Laila Hernandez - Study Abroad in Cape Town, South Africa Fall 2019
I studied abroad this past fall semester from July to November in Cape Town, South Africa. I lived with 12 other American students from all over the US but really wanted to get out of my comfort zone and make friends from South Africa. I was proud of myself for not sticking to what was familiar and really challenging myself to make authentic and genuine connections.
I learned a lot about Apartheid and the effects it still carries to this day. It was interesting to see the differences in social justice, allyship, and activism compared to the U.S. Activism was less performative, allyship was focused more on intersectionality, and social justice was more assertive than it is in the States. During my time there, I learned a lot about agency and mobilization when it comes to protesting and how singing and dance are incorporated in protesting. A big protest that occured during my time there was the protest for Gender Based Violence.
I made a YouTube video of my experience and shared what I learned while I was there, it has a lot of videos and pictures along with a spoken word piece I made to summarize all I learned.
Christian Hastad - Transatlantic Seminar in Germany Fall 2019
I studied abroad to Berlin, Germany in Fall 2019. Something that surprised me was how well everyone got along and how we were able to team up and make memories together! My favorite moments from the trip were shared meals, morning coffees, and evening walks/bike rides with the group I went with. So much engaged discussion happens outside of the lesson plans, and that really was a surprise. Every moment was interesting and not only because of the new location, but because of the people I was sharing my experience with. The Transatlantic Seminar study abroad course was very relevant to both my sociology and fine arts majors. We were in Berlin researching and discussing the effects of artwashing and gentrification within artist communities. Gentrification was a large theme and my sociological background allowed me to discuss these issues with confidence, and my knowledge on the subject grew exponentially when visiting sites in Berlin that were very recently experiencing it.
This experience really changed the way I understood how art can be in direct reference to sociology and activism. We met many artists whose work focussed on artistic intervention, and how artists are combatting real estate speculation, the destruction of affordable living, and the phenomenon of artwashing in the development of new and expensive housing. This really changed me in that I now feel I have a much better understanding of how sociology and art can be integrated.
Anitra Varhadkar - Study and Intern in the U.K., Spring 2020
I was fortunate enough to take a global human rights course and the professor did a great job of connecting Britain's history to the topics at hand. It was also very insightful to get another perspective on some issues, exposing how truly complex some situations are. On the other hand, it was interesting to see how London was responding to crime and deviance and how their approach was day and night different from the US. As an LCD major we see a lot of human rights issues and a lot of how the US responds to threats and crime. Sometimes we get to see how the solutions we put into place are making a positive difference, but most times we see the same issues time and time again with no solution in sight. For the latter, I realized that looking to countries like Britain who have created effective solutions can be very beneficial to the US. Every corner of London is different from the next-- from parliament square to piccadilly circus, every place has its own rich history (that is worth getting to know) that has shaped London to be the global city that it is today. I know the allure of traveling is strong during your time abroad, but get to know the city you are in. The hidden gems you will uncover are truly irreplaceable.