Off-Campus Program Past Participant Contacts
Feel free to contact any of the students listed below to learn about their experiences in their Off-Campus Study programs. If you are interested in a program but you don't see it listed on this page, please email us!
Also, if you have studied off-campus and would like to be listed on this page as a contact for students interested in your program, please contact Molly Doruska at firstname.lastname@example.org or Laura Zuege at email@example.com.
Program: Sustainable Development Studies at the School for Field Studies in Costa Rica
Major/Minor: Art History, Environmental Studies minor
What I miss most: I miss the life I was surrounded by in Costa Rica. I’m talking about the herds of birds that would sweep over the center four in the morning and the plants that seem to come from the sky. I’m talking about the soil and how it makes everything green and growing or pink and thriving. I miss the leaf cutter ants. Oh! And the powerful rains, I miss those! I miss the people of Poas who invited me into their homes despite my stumbling Spanish. I miss the residents of Uvita. I miss that Sunday at La Sabana park. I miss my fellow students, my professors and the staff of SFS and our home Atenas with my whole being.
I miss the community I witnessed and the life I lived in Costa Rica. I miss the kindness I experienced from strangers and the I’d the people I’d see every morning on their way to work, and utter care I received from families that fed me before even knowing my name. I miss Costa Rican mornings of sun and hummingbirds and oily bean filled tortillas and banana milk. I miss the radio drifting from the guard house at night. I miss the typical Costa Rican food served at sodas.The people of Costa Rica taught me to get up early. They taught me that you can trust a stranger. That people can just have good intentions. They taught me that being a member of a community means participating in tasks and in life with purpose and joy. It means partaking and being proud in a shared vision. The family of El Toledo Coffee Farm astonished me with their devotion to learning, their devotion to being humbled by new knowledge and their devotion to adapting. They taught me humility and creativity. The people of Poas taught me to ask questions of the people around me, because only then will you understand a person and a place. But probably most great, I attained a feeling while in Costa Rica that I had never felt before. It was like being familiar and comfortable with the place and the people and cultivating this constant contentedness, yet remaining endlessly in awe and in love.
Maybe I won’t achieve exactly that again, but I can say that upon returning to the United States, although it is harder to be in wonder, it has trained me to find wonder in little things, and where I can’t find it, to make it. Since returning, I am highly conscious of my actions. I try to embody my beliefs more than speak them. I am more compassionate and more forgiving. For that, I am forever grateful to those people and to that country.
How my worldview has changed: The summer before I was leaving for Costa Rica was the time that the President of the United States was at the height of his ICE raids, at the height of separating children from their families and jailing them. I was aware that I was going to move seamlessly across borders, when others were dying trying to do so. My privilege was so incredibly apparent in this study abroad experience, amplified by the most recent hate of the President of the United States. And then I was welcomed into Costa Rica as the white, ashamed American that I am, taken care of like family, and that is still astonishing. If that doesn’t speak to the benevolence of Costa Ricans, I don’t know what will.
Program: IES Berlin
Major(s): Global Studies and German
What my abroad experience was like: I was paired with a super nice host-family and I spent times with them exploring the city and learn about each other’s culture. Coming to Berlin, I was really nervous about speaking German, but my host family always invited me to share how my day went and I got to practice a lot of speaking at home with them. Not only I speak German in a classroom setting, I also learn from my host family’s friends. We cooked and baked so many things including traditional German food as well as Indonesian food. On that note, I also ate a lot of döner kebab, something one cannot miss when in Berlin!
How my worldview has changed: My experience in Berlin allowed me to learn about the Berlin culture and how to speak German, but it also allowed me to learn more about myself and my own culture. Instead of just learning about Berlin, my host family also wants to learn about my culture and this cultural exchange makes me appreciate the culture I am learning, as well as my own.
Program: Lawrence University London Centre
Major(s)/Minor: Violin Performance and English dual degree, Creative Writing minor
What my abroad experience was like: Studying abroad in London was the best time of my life. I learned to navigate one of the coolest cities in the world while educating myself in so many areas. I experienced a unique freedom and independence while living in another country, which has given me confidence and real-world experience. I enjoyed taking violin lessons from multiple professionals, attending concerts and plays at prestigious venues with fantastic ensembles and casts, and I traveling during the mid-term break. (I went to Ireland and Wales.) I would recommend studying abroad to everyone!
What I loved the most: I enjoyed being out on my own and exploring London and surrounding areas. I learned so much from the places I visited and the people I met, and I felt connected to the world, which is larger and more diverse than I ever imagined. Specifically, one of my favorite memories is attending fiddle jams at local pubs in London, where I got to know local Londoners and exercise my fiddle chops in a challenging yet supportive atmosphere.
Program: IES Salamanca - Advanced Spanish Immersion
Major(s): Economics and Spanish
What my abroad experience was like: As a first-generation Latina student, being the first of my family to have the opportunity to study abroad was a big deal. My time in Salamanca, Spain was most definitely a life changing experience. It was a great opportunity to live in a foreign country where I could work on both my economics and Spanish majors in a more effective and exciting way. More likely, since an economics major requires a greater cultural knowledge and understanding, a country like Spain that is so culturally rich, has undoubtedly influenced my personal and professional development. My Spanish major was furthered improved by learning and practicing a different kind of Spanish in comparison to Central American Spanish.
What I miss the most: The food, my local friends, and being able to learn about different cultures and values that differ from mine.
What I loved the most: Being able to attend the University of Salamanca and making Erasmus friends from all over the world.
Milou de Meij
Program: Bard-Smolny, Russia
Majors: Russian and Piano Performance dual degree
What I loved the most: I loved the conversations I was able to have and the people I met. The best moments were always the spontaneous ones—meeting a castle guard in a tiny Russian town who let us climb the castle tour and ended up giving my friends & I a local tour or finding myself discussing urban elitism in Russia vs. America at a party with other young Russians. I learned so much linguistically and culturally by just listening, and it was an honor to be able to immerse myself in another culture and hear their stories.
How my worldview has changed: Study abroad helped me become much more confident, flexible, and comfortable with change, thinking on my feet, and throwing myself in new adventures. I was able to really develop my listening skills and really tried to experience Russian culture as openly as possible without letting preconceived notions or judgements keep me from fully learning and experiencing. My worldview has expanded tremendously, and I now carry this new sense of openness with me to every new scenario.
Alice (Manxin) Luo
Program: IES Berlin - Language and Area Studies
What my abroad experience was like: During my time in Berlin I spent about half of my time doing school work and the other half taking ballet classes. I didn't actually expect to spend much time on dance in Berlin but I surprisingly met the best ballet coaches there who have inspired me so much both technically and psychologically that I decided to go back to Berlin later to do more dance training and see if I can do something with my life about it. It was such a life-changing experience that has totally changed my plan.
How my worldview has changed: Berlin is such a dynamic city with people coming from all over the world. In the street you can hear so many different languages that people are speaking and everyone seems to be multilingual, which is very cool. In America I felt an urge to be more American and I tried to deny my Chinese identity to some extent. In Berlin with the diverse population and cultures and a seemingly freer atmosphere, which I personally felt, I learned to accept my identity and even celebrate it and appreciate it.
Program: Lawrence University London Centre
Major/Minor: Math, Physics minor with teaching certification
What my abroad experience was like: Studying in London was a wonderful experience that will truly have an impact on the rest of my life. It allowed me to go out and engage with the diverse, historic city that is London and learn so much about the world we live in. All the classes were great in supporting and adding to this experience – from watching a weekly play performance, to cheering for the local football team, to taking day trips around England. For anyone looking to grow as an individual and learn through engagement, I highly recommend the London Centre program.
What I miss most: I miss engaging in new and exciting things every day. It was very nice to have a term to live more independently in a place that offers just about any experience one could wish for. I also liked being able to always be living and making fun decisions in the moment – be it what famous museum to go to, whether to go for a run by the Buckingham Palace or in a quiet park, and even just what to make or have for the next meal. It was really enjoyable being able to make decisions like an adult in the playground of experiences that is London.
Program: IES Vienna
Major/Minor: Psychology, Music minor
What my abroad experience was like: My study abroad experience was full of those two things: psych and music. I also traveled all over Eastern Europe and spent time exploring as many cities as possible. Vienna also went through three seasons while I was there, so it was full of environmental beauty as well.
What I miss most: I miss experiencing new things every day. Being in a foreign country and traveling almost every weekend, I was constantly seeing things I had never seen before. It’s so hard to choose what I love the most, but I will say that I loved the opportunity to grow and create a new home. I was often a tourist in my own city, and that was a beautiful experience. I also loved the friendships I made. There is something very special about experiencing all these gorgeous new things together. From dancing at balls to getting lost in art museums, from the traditional Viennese coffee houses to the endless gardens and greenery of palaces, each day was something I’ll never forget.
How my worldview changed: My worldview changed dramatically, and though this is a cliche, it made me realize how big the world is. Something we don’t always realize on this small campus is how much there is beyond Appleton or even the U.S. Studying abroad also instilled in me a deep sense of gratitude.
Program: IES Auckland - University of Auckland Direct Enrollment
Majors: Biology and Environmental Studies
What I miss most: I miss living in a vibrant, multicultural city. Auckland was the biggest city I've ever been to and I loved that it was full of people from all over the world. There was always something going on in the city and so much delicious food to try! And on the flip side, a short road trip out of the city would take you to breathtaking natural scenery- volcanoes, sub-tropical islands, glowworm caves, beaches etc. It was the perfect combination of natural beauty and city life.
How my worldview has changed: I learned a lot about Polynesian culture and found it fascinating. I realized that the reason I hadn't learned these things sooner was because my education up until then had been very Euro-centric. The Polynesians are the most spread-out of any people, having colonized islands all the way from Hawaii to New Zealand. European explorers didn't believe this at first because they thought it was impossible for the Polynesians to have such advanced navigational skills. The Maori, the indigenous people of New Zealand, have an incredibly rich and beautiful culture, and I was shocked that I had never learned anything about them before coming to New Zealand.
Program: Lawrence University London Centre
What my study abroad experience was like: My study abroad experience expanded my college experience by letting me explore a new culture.
What I miss most: I really miss the ease of travel in Europe and the independence I felt of living on my own in a foreign country.
Program: Associated Colleges in China
Major/Minor: Biology, Chinese minor
What I miss the most: There are so many things I miss about studying abroad in China. They include bubble tea, dumplings, parks, speaking to the locals, travelling, enjoying really fast food delivery service and never being bored on weekends because there were so many new things to see. One thing I am surprised to miss so much is speaking Chinese with my classmates. We bonded through overcoming the language barrier together and I will always cherish our inside jokes in Chinese.
What I loved the most: What I loved the most about studying abroad was the opportunity I had to see China in a way that I will never be able to do if I return as a tourist. I got to travel around China as a student not a tourist (I’m also going to miss getting cheaper tickets because of my Chinese student ID) and feel like a local. As novel things became more routine I really experienced the nuances of Chinese culture and society during my six months there and felt more and more proud of all that I had learned and grown accustomed to as time went by. When my study abroad adventure ended I was so sad that the ability to experience China like that was over. Even though I was still taking classes studying abroad was a chance for me to take a break from college life in the US and really dive into a whole new world. While studying abroad I was always aware that I was going to have to go back home eventually so I really appreciated every second I spent while abroad and it made the experience that much more enjoyable.
Program: IES Freiburg – Language and Area Studies
Major(s): German and Linguistics
What I miss the most: What I miss most is the sense of adventure all around me. I treasured just walking down the street and seeing a hundred opportunities to try something new, and falling love with a completely new city that offered countless places to explore. Luckily, that experience has taught me how to see my home country with new eyes, but I still miss waking up and knowing that each day would bring something I'd never considered before!
Program: ACM India
Major/Minor: Global Studies, Spanish minor
What I miss the most: I miss my host family every day, especially my host mom. The bond that I was able to create with her is one that will last a lifetime. My host family really did become like my second family, and I will always be grateful for the opportunity I had to live with them. It is also the best way, (in my opinion) to be fully immersed in the culture of your host country - and the best way to learn as much of the language as you can!
Program: ACM Amsterdam: Sciences, Global Health, and Interdisciplinary Studies
Major(s): Bassoon performance, Neuroscience, and Psychology
What I miss the most: Out of all of the things I miss about being abroad, I think I miss the city of Amsterdam itself the most. Amsterdam is one of the most beautiful places I could possibly imagine and I miss being able to spend an afternoon wandering around the city visiting museums. I also miss being just a short a short tram ride away from one of the most amazing concert halls in the world. I miss the canals, the flowers, the history, the architecture, and certainly the milder weather!
Xi (Zoey) Lin
Program: Lawrence University London Centre
Major(s): Theatre Arts & Piano Performance
What my study abroad experience was like: It was truly a fascinating experience. Academically, the work load was quite mild and a large portion of the classes were field trips so that we learned practical things from experience. We had a lot of free time to explore the area as we wanted. As a theatre major student, I saw lots of theatre productions and met a couple theatre makers. I was so satisfying by observing great actors and having dialogues with the professionals. London, in particular, is a city with long history and civilization and they manage to preserve the history and heritage as carefully as possible, so just walking in a place like that was a magical experience.
How my worldview changed: I would say my study abroad experience is life changing. The director of this program as well as my piano teacher in London, in particular, were extremely encouraging that they helped me a lot in building my confidence and being clear and firm about my life goals. In London, I saw people from all kinds of backgrounds thriving and that really gave me inspirations and motivations to become a proactive person.
Program: Lawrence University London Centre
Major(s): Viola Performance and Chemistry (Double Degree)
What my study abroad experience was like: My study abroad experience was what I expected in some aspects and totally different from what I expected in other aspects. It was slightly stressful being forced out of my comfort zone so often but in the end I think it was beneficial to my character and I started to enjoy doing new things that I wouldn't have thought of doing here. I've also never lived in a large city before so living in the heart of London was an amazing experience, for the most part. After a while I needed some space but the ability to easily get out into the countryside from London for cheap made the need for space and even a hike rather easy.
How my worldview changed: I knew prior that Europe was full of many different people that spoke different languages and had different cultural practices but actually going there for the first time made me realize how similar we are despite those things. Especially while traveling in countries that speak a different language I found that many people are open, nice, and willing to help even if they are rather quiet or reserved. I also got a different perspective on Americans and America while abroad that I hadn't thought about. Hearing their opinions of us made me rethink my own place within the US.
Program: ISA Granada
Major(s): Biology, Spanish minor
What I miss the most: The thing I miss most about Granada is living in a history book. I would sit through a lecture in class, and be able to see where it happened on my walk later that night. Granada is also a wonderful classroom, and many of my professors took us on walks as they lectured.
Studying in Granada is so much about the experience. Classes are important, and you need to attend and do the work, but the program allows you a lot of time to explore the city (and the rest of Europe on weekends). The program also takes you on many weekend excursions that allowed me to explore Spain in a way that I don't think I would be able to do on my own.