Many of our Go Global students go on to study abroad a second, or even a third, time. We’ve been lucky to have students come abroad with us on several of our programs back-to-back summers and even multiple times in the same summer. However, one option that we do not offer at this time is the opportunity to take a semester abroad.
Two of our 2014 students, Kara, a junior at the University of South Carolina, and Cammie, a junior at the University of Alabama, are currently studying abroad for the semester. The life skills that they acquired on their Go Global experience so heavily shaped their current semester abroad, that I thought it would be beneficial for our prospective students to read an interview from these two. Are you considering studying abroad for a full semester? Read Kara and Cammie’s advice first.
1. On which Go Global program did you travel with us? Which study abroad program are you on now, and where?
Kara: “I traveled on LEAD Cape Town last summer, and it was without a doubt the absolute best five weeks of my entire life. I am not kidding; I talk about it at least once every day. I am currently studying abroad in Barcelona, Spain through a program called International Studies Abroad or ISA. However, I couldn’t get enough of Go Global, so I am returning for round two this summer on Greece Direct.”
Cammie: “I traveled to Cape Town, South Africa with Go Global in 2014. This year I am studying at the University of Roehampton in London, England with the CIS program!”
**side note = Cammie will also be abroad with us in summer 2015 as a Rome intern!
2. What are the top lessons/life skills did you learn on Go Global that have impacted your experience on your current study abroad experience?
Kara: “I am forever grateful because Go Global taught me so many valuable skills that havetranscended to my current study abroad experience…
-Going outside of your comfort zone is the greatest way to learn about yourself.
-You can do anything you set your mind to.
-It’s okay to not have a plan.
-Meeting new people is incredible.
-Live in the present moment.
-Immerse yourself in the culture.”
Cammie: “I have learned…
-the value of diving into other cultures
-to appreciate diversity
-to take advantage of every opportunity; you will regret it if you don’t
-to maintain friendships; you never know who you will see again
-the value of genuine friendship”
3. If you had never studied abroad over the summer with Go Global, what mistakes/differences do you think you would have made on your current study abroad experience?
Kara: “For me, traveling is the most amazing gift in the world. Prior to my summer with Go Global, I had only traveled out of the country once before, and I was very young, so this whole experience was pretty new to me. I didn’t know much of what to expect, but seeing the world from a new perspective is incredible. My current study abroad experience would be completely different had I not studied with Go Global the summer before. Cape Town truly gave me more confidence in my abilities and myself. As a Community Leader, I learned that I could be a leader among my peers and even stand up in front of a room full of people and do a funny skit without being embarrassed. I learned that regardless of the duration of your trip whether it is five weeks or five months, time flies, so it is important to seize every opportunity to make the most out of your experience abroad. It is easy to say you will do something next week or wait until later on in your program, but the truth is, there is never enough time, so you just have to go for it in order to maximize your time abroad. Because of Cape Town, I feel like more of a leader among my friends here because I have traveled abroad before. Go Global really eased the transition from being around for five weeks to five months. I now have no problem navigating the streets of a new city or trying to figure the best places to see. I enjoy taking the initiative because Go Global gave me the confidence and knowledge to do so. I am much more aware of my surroundings now because Go Global taught me to immerse myself in new cultures and really learn what makes them unique. This really helped me in Barcelona because I knew that most countries don’t separate checks, and you have to weigh your fruits and veggies before paying for them. It is learning the little things like that that make your experience more fulfilling because you get to be a part of a completely new culture. Also, I learned that it is really important to journal or have some way of keeping track of your adventures abroad. You do so much that it is easy to forget the details of what made one weekend so special or what restaurant served the best mojitos. And you will be so grateful when you have it to look back on years down the road.”
Cammie: “If I had never studied abroad with Go Global, I do not think I would be here right now! Go Global taught me the importance of investing in other people. Life stories are a huge part of Go Global trips, and I really got to know great friends in London by using similar methods. My summer in Cape Town taught me the importance of living life to the fullest. With Go Global, you always have an amazing variety of activities to do. However, when you are abroad for a full semester, you are responsible for creating your own fun. It is so easy to want to sit in your room and watch Netflix, but the world is waiting for you!”
4. If you could give any advice to a college student who wants to study abroad for a semester, what would it be?
Kara: “Absolutely, 100% do it. You will not regret it. Everyday I wish Go Global had semester long programs because I cannot speak highly enough of them. Their programs are so unique that nothing compares. But in general, being abroad again is absolutely amazing. Cape Town definitely gave me the travel bug, and 10 months later here I am sitting in a hostel in Rome, Italy, with seven countries behind me and five more to go in a span of five months. I honestly can’t get enough, and there is still more that I want to do. Being abroad just makes me feel alive. I love getting to know the nooks and crannies of different cities and eating my way through them. It is so different from what I am used to in the U.S., which is part of what the whole experience so incredible. You grow immensely from being abroad and are able to learn a lot about yourself.”
Cammie: “I would definitely recommend going on a summer with Go Global first. Having that experience allowed me to look for programs with similar qualities, so I knew I would be happy.”
5. What was your best memory from Go Global, and what has been your best memory so far from your current study abroad experience?
Kara: “This is tough. There are so many to choose from. The bungee jump in Cape Town is definitely one of my favorite memories because it showed how much I grew during those five weeks. Heights are my absolute biggest fear—even elevators scare me because they take you higher up. I still remember talking to Carolyn before I even left and telling her how I told myself I would never, ever bungee jump but that in Cape Town I was going to do it. She believed in me and so did everyone else in my group because I still remember them cheering me on as I hobbled to the edge and soared off. It was the absolute, greatest feeling in the world. I felt so free and so on top of the world—even though I was falling through it. Accomplishing this really proved to myself that there isn’t anything I can’t do. It has also made me a lot more adventurous.
Choosing a memory from my current study abroad experience is equally as hard because I have traveled to so many different cities this semester and have special memories in each place, but I am going to have to say one from my new home in Barcelona. I remember being dropped off the first week and thinking to myself how am I ever going to navigate this city. Well, that didn’t last long because even after two days I began to feel much more comfortable and was quickly learning my way around the city. About three weeks into our semester, I hiked to the Bunkers at sunset, which is a lookout point in Barcelona that overlooks the entire city, with five friends. The hike is difficult, but the view makes up for it because it is absolutely breathtaking. The coolest part though was that we could identify all the major landmarks and where school and our apartments were. It is funny to look back on how a few weeks earlier I questioned whether I would be able to get to the grocery store or to class let alone know my entire way around the city. Now, Barcelona is my home, and I feel like I know it like the back of my hand.”
Cammie: “My best memory from Go Global is the feeling of community during the bungee jump on Adventure Week. It was amazing to me how a group of people who were total strangers four weeks ago can make you feel so excited, loved, and comfortable when jumping off a bridge on the tip of Africa! My best memory in London I can already tell is still coming! I am soon leaving for a backpacking trip across Europe, and even making the journey back to Africa (Morocco) for a few days!”
As for me, the life skills that I acquired the most on my Go Global trip are the safety tips I learned from the staff. If I ever studied abroad again, I would feel so much more comfortable and competent in navigating safely around a foreign city because Go Global taught me how to be a smart traveler.
I couldn’t be happier for these two that they’re getting this opportunity to go abroad again. But I agree…there is something extra special about a Go Global summer 🙂
Studying abroad for a semester is great…but don’t miss out on the opportunity to spend your summer with Go Global! You won’t regret it; the lessons you’ll learn will stick with you for the rest of your life and help you in your future endeavors, such as studying abroad a second time, which we totally encourage. Comment on this post to learn more!
-Anna and the Go Global team