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Summer 2015 Faculty-Led Study Abroad Programs

French Study Abroad in Reims, France – Summer 1: May 30 – June 30

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The Reims-based study abroad program offered 14 TTU students an opportunity to live in a beautiful French university town and take French classes taught by Dr. Carole Edwards, Texas Tech University. Students were housed in the International Center.

Student Reflections on Culture and Cuisine
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"My French buddy, Charlène, invited me and my friends to her apartment for a 'very French evening'. She made us a lot of food, but the most interesting thing was the escargot. I was very afraid to try them; it's hard to get past the idea that you're actually eating a snail. They aren't very pretty when they're out of the shell either, which was really disheartening. When I finally got the courage to try it though, I was very surprised! They're not bad at all, and I finished my entire plate by the end of the night. I would definitely eat this again, and I'm really glad I had the opportunity to do so. We drank champagne with our escargot, followed by some French films. This was the most fun I've had in France, and I'm really thankful I got to try so many new things!" - Savannah Feekes, Junior BA English

"The weekend of June 12 fellow student and I went on a trip to Strasbourg, France. Being able to drive one hundred and thirty kilometers per hour on the road was a very exciting thrill, but going to the Notre-Dame Cathedral was an unforgettable experience. The original cathedral was built in the eleventh century, but it was mostly destroyed in a fire. The version still standing today was built at the end of the twelfth century. As we approached the cathedral a large group of tourists gathered at the front steps started an impromptu A-Capella group. As I listened to their voices I gazed up at the cathedral and was in complete awe of everything that I was witnessing at this moment. Every inch of Notre-Dame had such intricate details that it was almost shocking that people made this with the resources they possessed in the twelfth century. This angelic cathedral along with Strasbourg's unique mixture of French and German influences makes it one of the most memorable places that I have visited." – Kierstyn Gilmore, Senior BS Kinesiology

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"A cultural moment that I observed occurred on my second day in Reims. We all went out for dinner at a crêperie called Louise. I learned something about French dining that I have not experienced before. When they eat they take their time, and are never in a hurry. A dinner or lunch meal could easily last 3 to 4 hours or even more depending on the number of people present." - Chukuemeka Ogudu, Senior BS Biology

"One of my favorite cultural moments in France was experiencing Fondue...I thought it was a lot of fun to cook your own food and it was very interactive. I have noticed that going out to eat in France is more about socializing than about stuffing your face. This was especially evident at the fondue restaurant because we were all involved in cooking our food together which sparked a lot of conversation." - Jeff Strayhorn, Senior BA Languages & Cultures-French

"During an evening in Paris, my parents and I decided to go to a Vivaldi concert at the famous Saint Chappell. The concert was a last-minute, hastily-made decision that turned out to be one of my favorite experiences in France. As we sat in the historic chapel, the sun rays beamed through the beautiful stained glass windows while the musicians played Vivaldi's Four Seasons. The exquisite music, combined with the beautiful architecture of the chapel made for an incredible atmosphere. The whole experience was truly moving and inspiring." – Susanna C. Toler, Senior, BA Languages & Cultures – French

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"We listened to a band filled with tubas, saxophones, trumpets etc. and it was the coolest of all the live music being played in a village because this is something that doesn't happen in the States, and it was really mind blowing to communicate with people that speak a different language and to be able to understand completely. Something that I never fully understood until now was the language of music, although our cultures are so different, at that moment we all felt so in sync and the music was conveying something that words could never do. I've been in band for 8 years and it's always a close-knit of people playing together -who speak the same language- but what was cool about this experience was that I don't speak the language at all... for those moments all cultural barriers were pushed aside and we communicated with just music, and everything looked a little less foreign in my eyes." - Dejuanna Bogar, Sophomore BA Psychology

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Anna Snyder shares a new found perspective after a visit to the D-Day beaches in Normandy, "It was hard to believe that such tragedy occurred in such a calm, peaceful, and beautiful place. I had only ever read about the battle in a textbook, so visiting the beaches, museums, and cemetery brought this catastrophic event to life in my mind. It was not only historically interesting, but an immensely eye opening and humbling experience as well." – Anna Snyder, Senior BA Psychology

German – Munich, Germany Summer 1, May 24 - June 26

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This summer, the Munich-based study abroad program under the direction of Dr. Charles Grair and in affiliation with Inlingua Munich offered 10 TTU students the opportunity to immerse themselves in German in one of the most beautiful and culturally-rich German cities. Students earned 6 hours of language and culture courses at the 2000+ levels. Participants had the enriching experience of living with host families, participating in cultural excursions during the course of their study abroad.

Student Testimonials

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"At first I was terrified to study abroad. I had never left the country before and I was not very confident in my German language skills. However, my experience in Germany has been one of the best in my life. I have seen so many things, beautiful and picturesque, as well as tragic and humbling. Germany is much more than just Oktoberfest and nice cars. Bavaria has a rich history spanning centuries." - Angelica Caserio, Senior, BS Microbiology

"The summer in Munich, Germany was quite an experience. It was a trip that aided me academically but also personally. The language class being conducted entirely in Germany has helped immensely. I am now able to understand so much more than before while my speaking abilities have improved as well... Being interested in World War II history, I found Dachau to be the most interesting and moving excursion. Growing up interested in history, I have heard and read many stories dealing with the Holocaust. It was such a moving experience to finally see a real concentration camp in person, rather than just a picture in a history book. The experience will be one that I will never forget. In contrast to academic life, the trip has also helped me grow personally. I feel as though I have become more confident and independent because of it. Being immersed in the culture and language has required me to step outside of my comfort zone at times, allowing me to grow in a way that I would not have been able to while studying in the states. Being pushed beyond my limits offered me the chance to find out more about the world around me, as well as the chance to find out more about myself. There is nothing I regret about this experience for I know that it has truly helped me become a better student and person as a whole." -
 Robert C. Campbell, Junior BA History

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"This study abroad trip has been the greatest experience of my life. I can't believe I had this amazing opportunity to explore a region of a country that I have longed to visit. When I came here, I thought I knew enough German, but that wasn't the case. The first week was hard, but as I learned, I became more confident with the language. Now I'm getting compliments! I've loved every moment of this trip, and would do it over and over again. It has taught me so much, about the language, the culture, and myself."- Geoff Hebertson, Senior BA Economics

"Study abroad opened my eyes up to a culture that, while in some ways the same as mine, is different in many other ways. Whether those ways are for better or worse is debatable. What's more important is the fact that being on this trip has brought these differences to me, and made me have to really question myself and contemplate on my morals, beliefs, and actions. Overall, it has be a very enlightening experience, as any abroad session would be the first time in Europe, and I definitely intend on returning to Europe and Germany more specifically." - Blake Herrera, Junior BA LACU- German

"My favorite things to do have been to just explore Munich and visit the castle nearby my homestay. The Germans are a hardworking, serious group of people, but they are also very fun. This trip was a valuable learning experience which I will remember forever." - J. Tyler Dorner, BA Business Administration

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"...As my time in Munich went on, I started to realize that the people here in Germany share so much in common with Americans. The only barrier is language!" - Michael McNulty, Junior BS Chemistry, Minor, German

"I have learned a lot of German and because of that I am much more confident in my German language skills. From visiting many exciting historical sites, I have loved being able to experience these places first hand, because it's so much better than reading about them in a textbook." - Kristen Reid, Senior BA Psychology

Italy, Summer 2 June 26-July 25 Calabria, Italy

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This summer, the Calabria-based study abroad program, under the direction of Instructor Francesca Beretta and in affiliation with De Rada Italian Institution and the University of Rhode Island, offered 4 TTU students the opportunity to immerse themselves in Italian in one of the most beautiful and culturally-rich Italian cities.

"The program was a success. Students had the opportunity to live, visit and explore areas of Southern Italy that were extensively colonized by Greek settlers. Living in a small town was a wonderful opportunity for daily conversation with locals. URI professors and students were very much impressed by the language skills showed by our Red Raiders. Guns up, guys!" - Francesca Beretta, Instructor of Italian

"The summer study abroad trip to Calabria afforded me the opportunity to interact with locals and pick up the language at a rapid pace. A side of Italy full of rich art, food, and culture, rarely seen by tourists, was opened to me. This was truly a life-changing opportunity. Ever since visiting Italy, I have this new desire to master the language and to study great Italian poets in their native tongues. It's a new feeling but it's pretty strong!" - Matt Sirgo, Senior BA Honors Arts & Letters

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"The study abroad program with URI and the De Rada Institute in Calabria was perhaps the most unique learning opportunity I've had the pleasure of experiencing. The concept of immersion firmly holds to this program, as southern Italy, though rich in art, history, and beauty, is relatively naive to the influences of American tourism. I had the good fortune of learning with extremely bright students from TTU and URI. I was enriched by the beauty and complexity of the Italian history and culture. But the experiences I am most grateful for are those in which I just interacted with the unique local people around me, using the language skills afforded to me by my wonderful professors." - Matt Amodeo, Doctor of Medicine Texas Tech School of Medicine

"The program in Calabria was an unbelievable experience that helped me improve my Italian and make new, amazing friends. I would do it again in a heartbeat." - Claudia Della Polla, Senior BA Electronic Media & Communication

Mexico Field Course

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The Mexico Field Course (MFC), after a hiatus of 4 years, returned to San Luis Potosí, México this past summer with 22 of our Spanish minors and majors. And we are very pleased to report that it was a huge success! As many know, students are placed with Mexican host families, and all of them reported this to be one of the best parts of the program. With the rate of exchange being so favorable, we were able to provide additional cultural activities above and beyond what we normally include; for example, attending a concert at the beautiful Teatro de la Paz. And our excursion to Playa del Carmen to conclude our stay in Mexico, a first for the MFC, was a marvelous experience as we were able to visit the magnificent Mayan ruins at Chichen Itzá and Tulum. We are already looking forward to taking another group to Mexico in the summer of 2016!

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 TTU Center - Seville, Spain

Spanish 2607 - Instructor Ruben Varona

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"To anyone who is trying to decide if going abroad is for them, my suggestion is this: GO!. Studying abroad gives you the opportunity to experience people whose paths you would have never crossed otherwise, to learn things about the world no one can teach you in a classroom, and to challenge yourself in ways you never would have expected. Although each person has a different experience while abroad, I believe everyone who yearns to gain something from it will leave learning something about themselves and about the big world we live in." - Sarah Jackson, Senior BS Biology/Minor Spanish

"Studying abroad has taught me to keep an open mind and realize that one place is not better than the other, but simply different.... Overall, this experience has made me a more cognizant, curious, confident person, and I am grateful for all the opportunities it has given me. - Shannon Panuska, Junior, BS Kinesiology

"Spain has been so much better than any expectations I had, and it is an experience I treasure greatly. To have the opportunity to experience the local cuisine, culture, language, and surroundings is a blessing that not enough people take. One needs to be okay with stepping out of one's comfort zone and seeing a completely different lifestyle up close and personal." - Megan Migdal, Sophomore BS Biology

"Looking back today, in my last week of the program, I am stunned by our classes' improvement in language and ability to assimilate in the Spanish society. Traveling the world has been a dream of mine for years, but with the direction I've received from the center, there's no stopping me now." - Sharon Polackal, Senior BS Microbiology

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