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What students say they’ve gained from studying abroad

09/15/16 - BOSTON, MA. - Scenes during the Study Abroad event held in the Curry Student Center at Northeastern University on Sept. 15, 2016. Photo by: Matthew Modoono/Northeastern University

Students who visited the Curry Student Center Indoor Quad on Thursday found themselves immersed in a sea of global learning opportunities at the Study Abroad Fair.

This semester, 245 students are doing study abroad in 40 countries. In fact, for the first time Northeastern students are doing study abroad in Finland, Kazakstan, Lithuania, and Norway.

Here, five students who volunteered to share their own global experiences at the fair explain why those experiences were so meaningful—and why other students should consider study abroad.

Photo by Matthew Modoono/Northeastern University

Photo by Matthew Modoono/Northeastern University

Mollie Scott, E’20
Major: Civil and environmental engineering
Dialogue of Civilizations location: Seville and Barcelona, Spain

Scott’s dialogue trip focused on Spanish language and culture. “I wanted to study abroad as quickly as possible,” she said, adding that the experience not only aligned with her minor in Spanish and provided an opportunity to practice the language beyond the classroom, but also fit well into her schedule studying engineering on campus.

What did she take from the experience? “I think that there’s so much you can learn outside of the classroom … that you have to learn from getting out of your comfort zone and immersing yourself in a culture different from your own. That was the big part of the reason I chose Northeastern, because (the university) makes study abroad and global opportunities more accessible than any other school I could find.”

It’s an invaluable experience, said Scott, who is now aggressively looking for opportunities to enhance her Northeastern experience through global co-op, dialogue, and study abroad.

Photo by Matthew Modoono/Northeastern University

Photo by Matthew Modoono/Northeastern University

Aziz Mondeh, SSH’17
Combined major: international affairs and political science
Study abroad location: Hansard Society Scholars, London, U.K.

Mondeh took classes in British politics and public policy. He studied in London pre-Brexit, from January to May, and became, as he put it, a “British politics junkie.” He had the opportunity to examine British politics and gauge the emotions of politicians and workers during this historic time in U.K. history.

“The program increased my acumen for understanding international politics from a comparative perspective,” said Mondeh, who wants to work in the Foreign Service after graduation. “One of the major tenets of an international affairs major is being able to compare different systems and contexts.”

He added: “In a globalized society it’s important to have at least a sliver of international experience.”

Photo by Matthew Modoono/Northeastern University

Photo by Matthew Modoono/Northeastern University

Danielle Shoulman, AMD’17
Major: Music industry
Dialogue of Civilizations location: Salzburg College, Salzburg, Austria

Shoulman studied classical music and business. “It was amazing to study classical music in the city where Mozart was born,” she said. “There’s no better place to study that. It gives you a whole new perspective, seeing the different ensembles of orchestras there playing music that is from that same place from such a long time ago.”

Going abroad, she said, helped her get out of her comfort zone. “It opens your mind to opportunities that you didn’t think you’d have.”

“Living with a host family was one of the greatest experiences of my life,” Shoulman added, explaining that this aspect allowed her to immerse herself deeply in the country’s culture and people. The experience left such an impact that she traveled with her own family back to Salzburg the following year to see her host family.

Photo by Matthew Modoono/Northeastern University

Photo by Matthew Modoono/Northeastern University

Amy Romanello, S’18
Major: Behavioral neuroscience
Study abroad location: Charles University, Prague, Czech Republic

Romanello took courses in psychology, literature, and photography. One in particular that stood out was a seminar on philosophy of psychiatry, which allowed her to explore the discipline from an ethics perspective.

Why would she recommend study abroad? “You get out of your shell,” she says, adding that living and studying abroad provides a rich opportunity to expand your perspective and open your eyes to new ways of seeing people and the world. She found this from traveling across Europe during study abroad and talking to people from as many different places and backgrounds as she could.

Photo by Matthew Modoono/Northeastern University

Photo by Matthew Modoono/Northeastern University

James Phelan, SSH’19
Combined major: Economics and political science
Study abroad location: University of Sydney, Sydney, Australia

Phelan took classes in economics and politics, and learning about these topics in another culture gave him a more global perspective on them. “Australia isn’t too different from the United States, but as an international student you’re in a melting pot of different people and cultures,” he said. The opportunity to immerse yourself in a new culture, he said, is a huge benefit of study abroad. It also changed his career outlook. He’d intended to work on Capitol Hill as a “policy guy,” but now he’s considering the idea of working for the World Bank or a non-governmental organization.