Study Abroad Student Experiences

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



Valencia, Spain
Winter Quarter, 2013

Check out the blog of her journey in Spain!


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!"

Jamaica, Short-term Program, June 2009

"Jamaica is a place I never wanted to leave. I fell in love with it- the food, the weather, the land, and especially the people. I was transported from my home in Washington where the days seemed to drag on endlessly to a country where I thrived and strove for something more. My students were the biggest pride and joy. To see their smiling faces light up whenever my partner and I walked into the room made my heart melt. They were eager to learn and have us show them how to pronounce a word or do a math problem. I felt connected, like this was where I belonged.

Jamaica WaterfallNone of this would have been possibly however if I hadn't taken the opportunity to look into scholarship options. By just taking the time and working on a heart-filled paper I was able to receive the award and cover a good portion of the Jamaica Study Abroad trip. And even though I grumbled about my dislike of writing and how there was no way I was going to get the money, in the end it was all worth it. In the end I left my heart in the Blue Mountains with full intentions of going back. Intentions that will hopefully be fulfilled."



Italy, Spring Quarter 2009

"Studying abroad in Florence was one of the best decisions I've made in my life.  Going into it, I really didn't know what to expect besides the obvious allure of seeing Italy's great sights.  What I ended up coming away with was surprising and is something more valuable than just having great pictures to take home.  What I gained was self-discovery and an awareness of the world around me.

Being placed in an unfamiliar city, submerged in an environment I knew nothing about, I was forced to figure things out and learn the norms of a new culture.  Eventually, I adapted and became self-sufficient and resourceful.  Since I was living, schooling or interacting with people I had never met before, I learned how to deal with a wide variety of people from diverse backgrounds.  After some time I was able to adjust and coexist with even the most different of personalities.

I also discovered how I reacted when placed under certain scenarios.  Many times during the course of the program I encountered some kind of adversity.  My character was tested but I still managed to come away unscathed.  By learning of my reactions during these times, I grew cognizant of my mental and physical make up, while also recognizing areas of needed improvement to better prepare myself for future situations.

One thing I didn't expect was how these experiences helped uncover certain skills and traits I never knew I had.  Sometimes you're just not sure of what you're capable of until you're given the opportunity.  Since these were all new and unfamiliar situations I encountered, the skills that had gone unused and tucked away were able to shine through and expose themselves.

Studying abroad has given me a wealth of knowledge and awareness about myself and the world around me.  The things I've gained from this unique adventure will benefit me for the rest of my life.  By enduring these personal experiences I now believe I can succeed if placed in any type of situation.  But what's most important is the confidence it has given me to achieve any and all of my future goals."

Blogs and websites from previous Shoreline study abroad programs:

2008 Paris Summer Institute Blog

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