In this week’s blog entry, I spoke with two amazing women who have made the most of their time abroad. As a junior at Roanoke, Hannah Godsey is spending a year abroad in Denmark where she is applying relevant material from her public affairs courses to her international studies program abroad. RC alumna, Christine Sullivan also studied abroad in Denmark and she shares her story on how she ended up returning to Denmark to pursue her graduate degree.
This story offers two different perspectives. Christine’s story highlights how her degree from Roanoke College has helped set her apart in her coursework in Denmark. Christine attributes Roanoke to her success abroad, she remarks, “International relations courses are the classes that pushed me the hardest at Roanoke, and made me look at IR in a different light. I also think that with a background in public affairs, my knowledge of issues is wide, and this allows me to connect issues, that are not normally compared.” She also shares that her coursework set her far ahead of her peers in her masters program.
Yet, while studying abroad may be temporary, it seems like it’s a connection that will last for many years for both Godsey and Sullivan. In fact, two years after graduating from Roanoke, Christine is pursuing her graduate degree in Denmark at the University in the Faculty of the Humanities. Similarly to Sullivan, Hannah is working on courses to complete her undergraduate program at Roanoke. Like Christine, Hannah is also studying at Aalborg University.
For Hannah, Denmark just made sense. Traveling was something that she was always interested in, and Roanoke provided her just the resources to be able to do so (while not breaking the bank!) Christine also shares that she returned to Denmark because receiving a graduate degree was more economical abroad in comparison to the United States. For both women, living abroad has enabled them to travel easily to other parts of Europe. However, that is not the only thing to do in Denmark! When I asked Christine what made Denmark so different from the United States she shared,
“The biggest difference in my everyday is the fact that everyone bikes everywhere. It’s not a strange for me to bike about 40 minutes to get out to school. Its annoying when its raining, but in the end I’m thankful that the culture is like this otherwise I would be fat from all of the delicious baked goods.”
After speaking with Hannah and Christine, it seemed like both of them felt that they had made the best decision by studying abroad. When asked if they would recommend studying abroad to other students, Christine said:
Roanoke is a great place to grow, but there comes a time where you are ready for something new, but are just comfortable where you are. Its important I think in today’s competitive market to be able to be self reliant, and not to have someone holding your hand through the process. And studying abroad is NOT a may term. Study abroad isn’t typically an academic/educational experience. I would say that come second when thinking about the importance of study abroad. I believe that the core importance of studying abroad, is the personal growth.
And while Hannah is not so sure if she will return to Denmark for a graduate program, Hannah says that studying abroad allowed her to find a place where she could really shine, while providing her with real world experience.
If you want to see more of Christine and Hannah’s interview, click the links below to find out more, and while you’re at it don’t wait to start a conversation about studying abroad…go make an appointment with your advisor!