PulseCatching up with Studiers Abroad

Three students share what they loved, what they missed and what they took away
Marielle Anne SambilayFebruary 12, 2020534 min
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Photos provided by Emily Richie, Amelia Mundell and Emily Cruz

This time in the semester, students are beginning to think about and prepare for studying abroad in the fall. The Center for International Engagement provides a range of resources for determining where to go, how to get scholarships and even what to pack. Still, perhaps the best resource for students prepping for travel may be other students who have already done it. We talked to three Tigers who studied abroad in the fall of 2019 to get their take on going abroad, learning and coming back.

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Emily Ritchie

Senior // Saint Petersburg University, Russia

What did you miss most about Trinity while you were away?

I missed Mexican food and sunshine the most.

What do you miss most about the country (or countries) you visited?

I miss the friends I made in Russia and my wonderful host family. I also miss the museums and amazing architecture.

What was a key difference between your study abroad location and Trinity?

Well I studied in a cathedral, so the scenery was very different. There wasn’t a student center or library either. Saint Petersburg also has a lot more to visit than San Antonio.

What is the best thing you brought back with you?

I brought a lot of great things with me, but my favorite is a tie between a Russian board game I played a lot while I was there and these delicious Russian cookies filled with dulce de leche.

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Amelia Mundell

Senior // University College Dublin, Ireland


What did you miss most about Trinity while you were away?

I was at a big school (University College Dublin) so I missed the feeling of community that Trinity provided. I was able to connect with people if I put in extra effort, but there definitely wasn’t the same feeling of inherent care from my professors and peers that I get a lot of the time at Trinity. I also missed Tex-Mex food and the Trinicats.

What do you miss most about the country (or countries) you visited?

Everyone is super happy-go-lucky in Ireland, and there’s a great local music scene. It’s also incredibly beautiful. I also miss my friends (both fellow study-abroad kids and locals).

What was a key difference between your study abroad location and Trinity?

Students were overall more laid back than at Trinity, which either felt like a nice break when I was feeling overwhelmed or was frustrating when I was looking for some sense of engagement.

What is the best thing you brought back with you?

The classic but true answer is ‘memories’ … but I also have a neat little crocheted sheep from a trip to Dingle.

Emily Cruz

Emily Cruz

Senior // Council on International Educational Exchange (CIEE) Global Institute, France


What did you miss most about Trinity while you were away?

I simply missed familiarity. I missed knowing my surroundings, cultural nuances, the ease of communication and family and friends. Everything was so new and drastically different so I longed for the feeling of being comfortable. The things I was experiencing abroad were completely different and new and expected but unreal when it finally came true.

What do you miss most about the country (or countries) you visited?

I miss the adventurous walks I would go on, both with friends and on my own. I know that seems simple and mundane, perhaps boring, but it’s much more significant than it seems, at least to me. At the end of my stay in Paris, there was dense protesting in which the majority of the metro lines I would use daily were shut down. So, I ended up walking a lot more than I usually did. In any case, I walked a lot more than I would here since it’s much easier to drive to get to places. So, through all these new ways to commute places both before and after the metro was able to be used, I found myself quietly reflecting a lot on the background of my travel environment and realizing all the things I would naturally tend to overlook. I would get lost people watching and observing and, maybe most importantly, learning how to slow down and enjoy the simplicities of life. Through all of it, I kept a mental note and imagined all the places I went to as a puzzle piece. I had all these experiences in Paris in different arrondissements that by the end of it, I was piecing together a personal map and creating an image of what my Paris developed to be. So, I suppose I miss the personal connection I created in Paris and how I managed to do that at all.

What was a key difference between your study abroad location and Trinity?

Culture. I cannot get into every cultural nuance I encountered since there are so many, but that is most definitely the key difference. The language and the way you communicate was different, for starters. It was considered rude walking into a boutique or grocery store or something of the sort without first saying good day or evening, and I could in no way go to a restaurant and be in and out in 45 minutes (maybe, but I did not try hard enough to execute that feat). Also, semi-personally and probably very relatable to the average Trinity student, I am usually always busy on campus with classes or assignments or extracurriculars. I am up to something most of the time. But in Paris, I very much acclimated to the “joie de vivre” vibe that was evident everywhere. I slowed down and I was still busy, but more so in terms of enjoying where I was, the people I was with and everything I was surrounded by. I would sit by the Seine with a stereotypical baguette and a book and chill and read or go to Jardin des Tuileries and sit in the grass and journal or my friends and I would go for a picnic at the Champ de Mars. Regardless, the key difference was culture and the thought and carrying through with just slowing down.

What is the best thing you brought back with you?

The desire to pursue. I could get really deep with this one, but I believe that Paris opened doors for me that I did not imagine I would have the chance to open and discover what lies beyond them. I cannot say that I did not have the desire to pursue before I left, but the definition I had of it transformed into a new understanding of what it truly means to pursue. I want to take as much advantage as I can with the realization that the time to pursue anything is now.

Marielle Anne Sambilay

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