Tuesday, March 3, 2009

Foreign Fun!

Once you start thinking about college, you’re sure to hear the phrase “study abroad”. While the term seems pretty vague, I knew before I even stepped foot onto the University of Missouri campus that I was going to spend a portion of my undergraduate time in a foreign country, studying abroad!

After working my first couple of years to save some cash, I decided the summer after my sophomore year would be the best time to study abroad. However, now I had to consider tons of things!
  • What time of year did I want to travel?
  • How much could I afford to spend?
  • How long did I want to be gone?
  • What programs offered credit hours that would help me graduate?
  • Where exactly in the world did I want to go?

So then I started searching for answers:
I had always wanted to go to Europe and I wanted to be gone longer than three weeks but less than a semester. Going to a country that did not speak English was appealing and I had a rough idea of how much I could afford to spend. Between those few things, I decided studying abroad in Prague would be the best choice! Prague is located in the Czech Republic which borders Poland. This was even better, because being the history nerd that I am…visiting Auschwitz was a must during my Europe experience.

What a fantastic choice I made, about 20 other Mizzou students traveled to the Czech Republic for the same trip and we had the time of our lives! Each week we’d load into a bus and take an excursion. Our excursions ranged from coal minds to visiting historic towns such as Karlovy Vary…where my favorite movie Last Holiday was filmed with Queen Latifah! Weekends were often spent traveling to other countries. I visited Poland and Hungary, while other students visited Ireland, Switzerland and France- the possibilities were endless.

However, the weekly travel was not the only highlight. Each day we would attend classes and then spend the afternoons doing different activities. Surprisingly enough I enjoyed the classes, especially the history class! Learning about communist control, which only ended in 1989 was an eye-opening experience. Culturally, it was interesting to see how communism affected the Czech people and it was most apparent in the older generations. Daily activities ranged from sports, music lessons, paddle boating under the Charles Bridge and sightseeing in Prague.

The memories of studying abroad will stick with me forever, but I am continually reaping benefits from my experience. First, I had the opportunity to write an article for AgCareers.com concerning my study abroad experience. This allowed me to gain exposure and further enhance my writing abilities. And secondly, business is ever expanding into foreign markets so having international experience is increasingly appealing to employers.

If you are looking to study abroad, jump in and start asking questions! Roy Robinson in 2-64 of the Agriculture Building is always ready to talk about international experiences. Roy is a great resource when looking for scholarships, loans or information about specific programs.

Click here for more exciting info about CAFNR Study Abroad programs!

-Becky Schneider
Junior, Agricultural Education

1 comment:

Red Hott Martini said...

Becky, I loved your account of your experience. You are a world traveler and a fabulous person:). Thanks for sharing!