Browse through our Study Abroad Alumni Testimonials and find inspiration to go on your own adventure abroad!
Semester in Salzburg, Austria, Spring 2012
The host family
“The whole experience started very smoothly. Once I landed in Germany, I met up with the rest of the students and teachers. We spent the first week in Munich, touring the city and visiting the Castle Neuschwanstein. We then made our way to Salzburg where we met our host families. I couldn’t have been happier with my family. I had the nicest mom and a really great brother. I never had any real problems, and things were always flexible. They even showed me around the town so I would know where I was going for my first day of school."
"School was an experience in itself. The building was built into a mountain and was unlike anything I had ever seen. For German class we would go to a local Salzburg market and we studied art and architecture by visiting one of the many churches in the town. The program organized trips to other cities and countries, as well."
"For the second half of our two week spring break, we all met up in Vienna with one of our professors, who was born and raised in the city. He knew exactly what to do and gave great recommendations. Among other things, we had the opportunity to go to the United Nations and the Austrian National Bank. We also went to Oberösterreich in northern Austria where we visited Mauthausen, a concentration camp. The experience was eerie but enlightening, especially the opportunity to speak to a Holocaust survivor."
Meeting a Holocaust survivor
"I had the opportunity to speak to Holocaust survivor, Marco Feingold, who is now President of the Jewish Community in Salzburg. Mr. Feingold is 99 years old, but to me and my group, he could have been in his 70’s, and was extraordinarily sharp. Mr. Feingold talked about his experiences during the war and how he dodged captivity by traveling to other countries with his brother until he was arrested and brought to Auschwitz. While in Auschwitz, he was mistreated and weighed only 80-90 pounds. He told us how he evaded death, including volunteering for skin transplants. Miraculously, he healed so well the night before his surgery that he was not able to be operated on. The others who were operated on all died of blood poisoning. Mr. Feingold was also able to collect cigarette butts and then roll cigarettes, which he used to trade in the camps for either food, or clothing. Mr. Feingold’s experiences made me realize how easy my life has been in comparison to those who survived the Holocaust. Our group talked about Mr. Feingold and the miracle of his survival for days after our meeting."
Overall experience"The experience of studying abroad is one I will never forget. It changed me as a person and allowed me to experience another culture and lifestyle. I tell everyone that studying abroad is easier than it seems, and to take the chance if they have it. I am so grateful that I took advantage of this opportunity.”
Semester in Carlow, Ireland, Spring 2012
“My experience abroad was exhilarating, slightly scary, and ultimately rewarding. I had the opportunity to meet interesting people and try things I never imagined I would. At the end of my journey, I gained a new sense of freedom and independence as well as a deeper understanding of different cultures.”
"During the semester, my study abroad cohort went on a series of weekly fieldtrips. One week we traveled to Glendalough, a national park that was previously the grounds of an ancient monastery. We hiked up a nearby mountain and came across waterfalls and a high cross that is believed to make wishes come true if you’re able to wrap your arms completely around it. Once we reached the peak we took a moment to reflect while gazing out at the lake below and mountaintops across the way."
"During spring break, I traveled to Holland and stayed at the home of a Dutch study-abroad student whom I had met in Ireland. The next week we took a bus from Holland to Paris. We visited the Louvre, went on a relaxing cruise down the Seine River, and then headed to the Eiffel tower. By the time we reached the top, the sun had begun to set, and we were rewarded with a breathtaking view of the city. Watching Paris light up at night was one of the most spectacular sights I have ever witnessed.”
Semester in Seville, Spain, Spring 2012
Travel, a lot of travel
“I’ve been to Granada, Cádiz, Gibraltar, and Morocco. I went to Granada with my program and it was an amazing experience. On our first day we went straight to La Alhambra, a palace/fortress. Not only was it beautiful, everything really appealed to me because I had been learning about it in my Art class.
Later that day I explored the streets of Granada with friends. We shopped through tiny streets and bargained for better prices. In Granada it’s common to give free tapas with the purchase of a drink, so my friends and I relaxed and talked for hours over drinks and tapas. The next day my program took us to the Royal Chapel, where King Ferdinand and Isabella are buried. Unfortunately, no pictures were allowed but I tried to take some mental ones!
I headed to Cadiz for Carnaval about an hour after I had gotten back from Granada! I’m actually quite surprised my friends and I made our bus. Carnaval is a big party where everyone dresses up, similar to Halloween. I personally thought it was CRAZY there! I want to say that almost all of Spain went to Carnaval! There were times when we were stuck in a crowd of people for 20 minutes! I saw some of the most creative and crazy costumes I had ever seen in my life. My outfit was probably considered boring compared to everyone else’s. My roommate and I bought matching masks in different colors—good thing because mine got ruined anyway!
This weekend I traveled to a different CONTINENT! Some friends I booked a trip to Gibraltar and Morocco through a travel agency. I have never been anywhere like Gibraltar. I thought it was a unique city and had so many special things about it. “The Rock of Gibraltar” is a mountain with some crazy fauna…and by crazy I mean monkeys everywhere! Some of them were climbing on top of people’s heads! From the beaches of Gibraltar I was able to see Africa! It is still so amazing to me that I was on a different continent this past weekend.
We took a ferry from Gibraltar to Africa, which only took about 45 minutes. As soon as I was in the second city we visited in Morocco I definitely had culture shock. I knew traveling there that it was going to be a lot different from what I know, but I think actually SEEING everything is what shocked me. We passed through customs in Ceuta, and checked into our hotel In Tetuan. Most of the day was spent in Gibraltar and traveling so I didn’t see much of Morocco until the next day when we left for ChefCauen. We had an awesome tour guide who shared interesting information with all of this. I loved the colors of the city—so many gorgeous blues!
After touring the city, we were allowed free time to browse some of the shops. Except for a few things, fixed prices are nonexistent in Morocco and bargaining is a part of their culture. I bought a beautiful (cheap) pink bracelet for less than 2E! The next city we visited was Tatuan. In Tatuen we ate lunch and explored the city. It wasn’t until I was in this city when I realized how lucky I am. How privileged I am to be a part of a culture where I have endless opportunities and can make any choice I would like to.
Leaving Tatuen I had bought a few more things: two small leather handbags and another bracelet for 6E! We were provided an awesome dinner that night at our hotel. People, music and belly dancers performed throughout our dinner. At first I was nervous to try the food, but I enjoyed all of it!
Although I was having an awesome time learning and experiencing this new culture, I was REALLY excited for our last day because that is when we had our camel ride! I had my friends take as many pictures as they could on Sabrina :-) (my camel’s name!) I never would have guessed that one day I would be in Northern Africa riding a camel. Along with seeing all these new places, I couldn’t have asked for better company. My roommate, Elena, and I had a case of the giggles almost every bus ride. :-) "
Semester in Xian, China, Spring 2011
"I studied at Xian International University where I was in classes three days a week for three hours blocked. There was a lot of content covered, but the teachers were extremely helpful. I thought the classes were pretty interesting for the most part, and they covered a lot of different aspects of Chinese culture, such as the Great Wall, big historical events, food and what it means to be a Chinese person."
"I felt that getting to know kids who were roughly my own age, had grown up in such a different culture, and had such different lives was really interesting. Just being able to get to know their own ideas, and understand how they thought America works was great. I liked the trading of cultural knowledge, and learning how things happened in both cultures, which I thought was very beneficial to my overall experience.
Being in China was my first time studying abroad. I was, however, born in South Africa, and lived there until I was eight years-old, so I was familiar with other cultures, yet it was the first time I had been entirely on my own in another country. I was confident in my abilities to be on my own, but it was nice to be able to make my own decisions entirely, and experience what I wanted to experience there separate of my parents."
Life in China
"It was really nice because things in China were really cheap. On campus, there was a cafeteria where for 7 Yuan, which is the equivalent of $1.00, you could get a full plate of noodles with meat and vegetables, along with other various combinations, so it was easy to get food whenever we wanted. I would usually eat on campus, and if I wanted to, I would eat breakfast, lunch and dinner in the cafeteria.
On days when we had class, we would work on our assignments for class, or be in class, and then there were other opportunities on campus to hang out with Chinese students. A decent amount of the Chinese students could speak English, so I would say there were maybe 5 students that I became very close to while there, and maybe 40 others that I would see pretty regularly.
The Chinese really like playing basketball, so I would play basketball a lot. Students were very willing to show us where they hung out in the city—different restaurants, shopping and internet cafes where they spend a lot of time playing games. So pretty much day-to-day life was reflective of how an American college student would experience life, but we were experiencing the activities of Chinese people, and their lives as lived in their culture."
"I think when a Chinese friend of ours took us to his hometown and introduced us to his family, which was in Chengdu located in the Sichuan Province. While we were there, we were able to eat a meal with him and his family. It was really cool to spend time with his friends and family, and I thought that was the highlight of the trip. It made us feel really welcome and just established our friendship that much more, which was incredibly very meaningful."
Advice about Study Abroad
"Study abroad is integral to your understanding of other people around the world as well as understanding yourself. Studying abroad throws you into situations that you wouldn’t find at home that challenge you to grow. And getting to see the world, which is an enormous place with lots of cool things to see and experience—you wouldn’t see them if you didn’t travel.
I hope I get to study abroad again. I greatly enjoyed China, and I liked that things were pretty accessible all the time. For example, things stay open late and there is a food market available where people are very willing to help you. For the most part, people were genuinely interested in us, which I found pretty cool.
I do think that students should know there are lots of different types of study abroad programs out there, and that it’s not that difficult to get signed up for a trip, which could end up being one of the most meaningful and memorable moments of your life. Studying abroad is part of your education just like anything else, and a great time to do it would be in your first couple of years in college because it can really help enhance your experience. I had decided on a major before I left, which is Economics, but I think seeing the rest of the world only enhanced my understanding of the field of economics. I saw a whole different economic system, and seeing how people react to different things related to Economics made me even more interested.There’s really no downside to studying abroad in my mind, and I think pretty much anyone who went on the trip with me would say that they loved it and that they would do it again in a heartbeat. I think that students should not be afraid of difference—that’s maybe one of the major objections that people have—they’re worried that they won’t fit in, or that they won’t enjoy things, but we had so many different people on our trip ranging from an ex-Marine in his 40’s to a freshman in college to various races and ethnicities. If anyone was afraid of the food, or going somewhere, they overcame it and they walked out of the trip feeling empowered, and like they could take on the world. People should put any reservations aside, take the leap and go for it because studying abroad really is a life-changing experience."
Semester in Canterbury, England, Spring 2010
"Studying abroad in Canterbury, England opened my eyes to amazing cultures beyond the United States. England has such a fascinating culture to offer any visitors and while living in Canterbury you can experience all of the wonderful parts of the English culture."
Life in Canterbury
"Although the weather is not always the most pleasant part of Canterbury, England, the architecture and the people will keep you more than entertained. Canterbury is a smaller town closer to the Southern Country side, but that does not mean that it is a boring town. Canterbury has a large population of college students due to the fact that there are two college universities located in Canterbury, so the night life is very exciting. Students can choose from a wide variety of pubs or they can go to the night clubs that are all no more than a twenty minute walk away. If you would also like to do some sightseeing you can go to Canterbury’s famous cathedral and learn about the death of Thomas Becket or you can see the remains of the glorious castle walls that surround the city center. The people of Canterbury are also very nice and would be more than willing to share a pint with you."
"Canterbury Christ Church is also a very good educational institution with many skilled professors willing to provide their wisdom about the English culture and history. The workload is not too bad, most professors just ask their American students to write one final term paper at the end of the semester."
"Since the amount of school work is low, it provides students with the opportunity to leave Canterbury for a long weekend to go visit London, which is only an hour and half train ride away. If you are hesitant about traveling abroad because of the language barrier, don’t worry because they speak English!"
Advice to my peers
"I would highly recommend this experience to any college student that is interested in traveling abroad, you will not regret it. JUST DO IT!"
Faculty Study Abroad Leader, Kevin Long, nominated for 2015 Tony Award!
One of Harper College’s study abroad faculty leaders, Kevin Long, was nominated for a 2015 Tony Award for Excellence in Theatre Education. Congratulations Kevin!
Currently Associate Professor and Director of Theatre at Harper, Kevin received the Illinois Theatre Association’s Award for Excellence in College Theatre Teaching in 2012, and is President of the Illinois Communication and Theatre Association.
During the spring semester of 2015, Kevin took a group of students to London for a study abroad experience. A wildly successful program, the students explored the life and work of William Shakespeare from historical, textual, critical and most importantly performance perspectives while on campus. Then the students traveled to London over spring break where they experienced site visits, master class workshops, guest lectures, and live performances at the Globe Theatre, as well as other sites with Shakespearean connections, in London. By all accounts, the students had an unforgettable experience that developed theatre skills, advanced their knowledge of Shakespeare and his times, and deepened their appreciation and understanding of Shakespeare’s plays through active participation and performance.
Congratulations, Kevin, you truly deserve this honor!
See video about Kevin’s nomination for the 2015 Tony Award for Excellence in Theatre Education
See video featuring Kevin’s work teaching First Folio Technique for Chicago Shakespeare:
Kevin’s website: www.kevinlongdirector.com