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Students recall summers abroad

Published on September 12, 2023

Students recall summers abroad

Marcel Vicente

Amirah Foster

Michael Monty

Fernando Jeronimo

Marcel Vicente

Amirah Foster

Eastern Connecticut State University offers countless opportunities for students to grow as intellectuals, workers, and people. Over the summer, students had the chance to travel outside the United States, visiting countries such as England and Spain.  

Political science major Marcel Vicente ’24 studied in Spain at the Universitat de Valencia. He spent his time interning at Culturas Unidas, an organization that acts as a meeting point for dialog, resources and support for the cultures located in Valencia and across Spain. Vicente was also able to conduct interviews with recently resettled migrants from Morocco and Algeria, and he will use these in an independent study at Eastern. 

“My favorite part was hands down the Spanish culture and social life. Spain values quality time with family, friends, even coworkers,” Vicente said. “I enjoyed how kind and welcoming all of the people were, how much Spaniards loved their country but still had respect for other cultures and identities and of course all the pretty sites to see across Spain.” 

During his time abroad, Vicente was able to travel across Europe and into Africa, visiting places such as France, Ibiza and Morocco. He said, “Traveling every weekend provided me with more independency and a better understanding of the world and provided me with invaluable experiences.” 

The trip allowed him to deepen his respect for other cultures. Vicente encouraged others to study abroad as well. “There is something about having an international perspective on certain topics, issues, trends and the like that makes someone stand out when they are educated about the world around them,” he said. 

Exploratory social sciences major Michael Monty ’25 studied in England at the University of Westminster, where he took two classes. The first, called “Monarchy: a Royal History of London,” discussed the history of the British monarchy in the context of European and British history as well as the relevance of British history to Americans. In the second, called “Art and Society,” students visited a museum during class and had discussions about works from different eras, styles and cultures. 

“My favorite part about England was the people and culture. I became close with several Brits, Aussies and New Zealanders during my time there,” Monty said. “We, in my experience, just ‘get’ each other because of our similarities in culture. The differences in culture were often pleasant, rather than jarring. One that stood out to me was speech. We speak English but with different dialects. This was something to get used to. It wasn't troublesome, just entertaining, really.” 

“I gained an incredible amount in insight in areas like international relations and cultures, thus a more cosmopolitan worldview. I gained self-sufficiency and can live on my own. I also learned how to get around and deal with people better, taking ownership of situations and becoming a stronger man,” Monty expressed. “I thank God for this opportunity. Going abroad was a spectacular experience which I see as just the beginning of advancement for me in my life.” 

Statue in Spain via Marcel Vicente

Spain via Marcel Vicente

Marcel Vicente riding a camel in Morocco

Spain via Marcel Vicente

Spain via Marcel Vicente

Spain via Amirah Foster

Amirah Foster

Communication and sport and leisure management major Fernando Jeronimo ’24 studied in Portugal at the Instituto Universitario de Lisboa. He recounted his time making friends and spending time exploring. 

“I am so grateful to have this opportunity and get to know so many different people from around the world,” Jeronimo said. “You can’t have this kind of experience any other way.” 

Business administration major Amirah Foster ’24 studied in Spain at the CEA Barcelona Center. She enrolled in a comprehensive international business class that provided insights into global market dynamics, trade policies and cross-cultural management. There was a class seminar dedicated to exploring how international business practices differ from one country to another. Foster was also given the opportunity to work at an internship that allowed for the application of classroom knowledge to real-world scenarios.  

“Being a global hub for students and travelers, Barcelona allowed me to interact with individuals from diverse nationalities, cultures and backgrounds,” said Foster. “Through shared experiences, language exchanges and cultural events, I had the chance to forge friendships with people I might never have met otherwise.” 

 She said that her time abroad helped her to “foster a greater appreciation for global diversity and the interconnectedness of our world.” 

Foster shared tips for other students interested in studying abroad. In addition to connecting with locals and keeping a journal, she said that prospective students abroad should “be safe, be open minded, and be respectful,” highlighting that, “it's essential to be aware of cultural differences and adapt your behavior accordingly.” 

Foster said, “It was a truly enriching experience that extended far beyond the classroom.” 

Written by Marcus Grant

Categories: Study Abroad