Study Abroad Student Experiences

Japan Fall 2022

Studying abroad was the most incredible experience in my lifetime so far, and I am so glad that I did it. We got the opportunity to live in a Japanese apartment and travel around by bus and train, visit the local grocery store, go to college at a Japanese university and attend school festivals and activities as if we were a local. I feel that living in a foreign country for a long period of time is a very important way to truly experience the culture, and I am very glad that I had the opportunity to have this experience rather than just traveling to Japan as a tourist for a few weeks, because honestly even a few months did not feel like enough time. Not only was the experience of being in Japan absolutely breathtaking, but I was able to make so many new friends from the program and also from Japan that I still stay in touch with regularly. Studying abroad is an amazing way to really experience the world and meet new people, and I feel that it is something everyone should do in their lifetime. 

Prince sitting on a beach in South AfricaPrince
South Africa Summer 2015

When traveling to another country, you must remain open minded and willing to adapt to the environment in which you enter. On this trip there were a plethora of different environments that we explored, so adapting was a crucial element. Most importantly, humbling yourself and constantly inquiring about selected topics, products, and situations is what makes the journey incredible! It takes you out of your comfort zone and enables you to adapt rather than simply roam as a foreigner. 

My favorite part was meeting all of the beautiful, loving, and phenomenal people from South Africa! I fell in love with that country due to the people. The views were astounding and I enjoyed every one of them, but the people are what make a country what is it.

I had an incredible time! Would go back next month if possible! Couldn't have had a better professor to lead us! I pray that Dr. J continues this program as long as possible!  

Brenna in Cape Town sitting on a brick wall with the iconic Table Mountain behind her.Brenna
South Africa Summer 2015

I learned how privileged I am to be American, and more importantly, white, in today's world. I saw a lot of parallels between the post-apartheid system and the way America sets up race barriers. Really eye-opening.

I really enjoyed seeing how much young people cared about their immediate communities (neighbors, classmates, family & friends), their larger communities (groups they were a part of, their town/city) and the entire country in itself. Anyone from age five to twenty-five that we came across was super literate and well-versed in the history of their country, and would do anything to prevent something like apartheid from happening again / clean up the remnants still left from the apartheid era. They all really cared about what's happening socially and politically, and seeing that was refreshing, coming from a place (*cough* USA *cough*) where a lot of people talk the talk but don't walk the walk.

It really, REALLY inspired me to get more involved in the issues that I'm passionate about and showed me that you really can make a difference if you speak out and educate others on what you believe is important and right. Also, South Africa is the most beautiful place in the world. My breath was stolen by the Indian ocean and rolling valleys of the Eastern Cape on multiple occasions. It was amazing to see the serenity of a country that has been so much and very artistically inspiring.   

Jamaica Summer 2014



Ireland, Short-term Program
Summer 2010

 "While looking for a good way to spend my summer vacation I came across "Writing in Ireland: Stories to Last Forever", an study abroad program in Ireland. I had never been to Europe so I thought this was an excellent opportunity to go. This was also my first study abroad experience. I did not have much knowledge on Irish culture before I went but after spending three weeks there I learned a lot and visited many unique sites.  Such as Trim Castle, Abbey Theater, and the Cliffs of Moher which are very important to the Irish culture.

Through this program we as a group got the chance to meet local authors and professors who gave their insight on Irish culture and literature.  Along the way I engaged with the people with on the trip as well as talked to many locals. They were interesting individuals that were very open and kind.  By the end of the trip I was dreading the flight back to Seattle. I didn't want to leave yet!

This first experience in Ireland was unforgettable. Had it not been for this scholarship I would not have the means to enjoy this trip. I am glad that opportunities like this are available to the public. I would defiantly encourage more people to take advantage of programs like these."

Italy, Quarter-Long Program
Spring Quarter 2010

"Looking back, this trip to Florence, Italy with WCCCSA and AIFS was the most amazing experience of my life so far.  I didn't get the chance to study abroad while I was getting my Bachelor's at WSU so when I saw the chance with Shoreline Community College, I was really overjoyed.  This trip continuously surprised me with not just the city's beauty and culture, but with my growth as a student and a person. I did things like climb to the top of the Duomo of the main cathedral (fear of Heights and all) and I made lots of wonderful friends.  I immersed myself into the culture of Florence and it was more than I could have imagined. It's amazing what I discovered about myself when I was placed into a entirely new situation: new culture, new language, new adventures, new challenges.

And what is more, I would never have enjoyed and known the city as well as I did by travelling as a tourist.  What I learned in my classes translated to what I saw in the city. No guide book could have taught me as much about where I was living.  After reading about Cellini in my literature class, I walked in the Palazza Republica and saw the exact statue of which I had read.  I was more immersed in the city than I could ever have imagined.  Without my classes, my instructors, my tour guides, and all that was offered to me, I never would have felt so a part of the city as I did. I am so grateful that I had this opportunity and if I have a chance to study abroad again, you better bet I will be taking it without a second thought!"

Please consider submitting your own words or photographs! The format is up to you. Past examples have included journal entries, articles, and web pages. Contact to submit your experience.