Six student panelists sat down at a long table in Fogler Library, as they got ready to discuss their international travels and adventures at the International Travel Workshop. The event took place the evening of Tuesday, Feb. 20 at Fogler Library. Panelists took turns sharing their experiences and answering questions for the students and staff who attended.
The workshop was focused on informing students about international travel and the study abroad programs offered at the University of Maine. Grace Liu, the Business Administration Specialist at Fogler Library, asked questions of the panelists. The floor was then opened up for the audience to ask other questions and share personal stories that related to studying abroad and traveling to other countries.
Each of the panelists answered questions related to what they learned while abroad, what they liked or disliked about the trip, where they went and why. They spoke about their backgrounds and what made them decide that studying abroad was the right move for them. The panelists were of all different ages and backgrounds, including Victoria Lydick, a fourth-year marine biology student who studied abroad in Australia at James Cook University.
“After high school I went on a trip around Europe, and got the travel bug in me,” Lydick said. “I decided that studying abroad was definitely going to be in my plans for college. I went in with zero expectations, deciding on Australia at the last minute and just seeing where the trip would take me. We ended up spending five days in New Zealand, driving 16-18 hours per day and sharing a tent with five people. We all depended on each other for things like cooking and cleaning, and making sure we were all happy. It was such an amazing experience.”
Other panelists included Trinity Jacques, a third-year social work student, and Amy Lyons, a fourth-year international business and international security student.
“I wanted a real genuine experience of speaking Spanish without any English influence, so I chose to study abroad in Chile where I could fully immerse myself in the language and culture,” Lyons said. “It was incredible to have the opportunity to speak and interact with the natives.”
Each of the students who participated told stories of how they fit into the new culture and adjusted to their surroundings.
“I love getting out of my comfort zone. Leaving the country has completely changed and inspired me, and I keep wanting to visit new places,” Carman Lambe, a fourth-year international business and international affairs student, said. “Studying abroad in four different countries has made me realize that I have a passion for being abroad and learning about new cultures and people. I’m so glad I’ve had these opportunities, they have even caused me to switch majors.”
The team of panelists not only discussed how their trips abroad went, but they also provided dozens of tips and tricks that they wish they had known before going away, and advice they thought students who plan to study abroad should hear.
“Language clubs and advisors here at UMaine can help get you ready and comfortable to go to a country where they speak different languages,” Lambe said. “They can help you get familiar with the culture, and give you a taste of what that country is like. We have so many resources here on campus that people should take advantage of before and while they are studying abroad.”
Grace Kelley, a second-year nursing student, and Ashley Sara, a marine biology student who studied in Australia, also shared insights and advice.
“Be smart with your time management. Focus on school and remember why you are studying abroad in the first place,” Kelley said.
“Look at the location and also the school before you get there. Do some research and find out more about the city and area,” Sara said.
All six of the panelists not only shared their stories and feedback, but also mentioned some of the programs that enabled them to study abroad, such as the International Student Association (ISA) and the Universities Studies Abroad Consortium (USAC).
For more information on how to study abroad or travel internationally, please contact firstname.lastname@example.org.