Not many people can say they have traveled by camel into the Sahara desert to camp for the night or that they have gone to a vineyard in South Africa.
But for Chelsea Rump and Sarah Mills, these are just a couple of stories they brought back with them after they studied abroad.
Students can sign up for their own studies abroad through CSUâ€™s Study Abroad Office, located in Laurel Hall. This yearâ€™s applications for spring 2011 Study Abroad are due to the office by this Friday.
Last spring, Rump, a senior art history major, traveled in the spring to study at Al Akhawayn University in Ifrane, Morocco. And while most of the Moroccans spoke Arabic, she said she made friends at the university who helped her past the language barrier.
While there, she visited the Hassan Tower, a large mosque in Rabat, Morocco, as well as Chellah, an old Roman town in Morocco that was abandoned in the 1100s.
One of the main difficulties she had was travel, she said. Because Ifrane was in the mountains in a much colder region, the students would travel on the weekends to other parts of Morocco as well as places like Spain and Israel. It was hard for her to return for classes after traveling all weekend.
Mills, a senior marketing major, had her classes follow her during her study abroad. She attended Semester at Sea, a program that holds classes on a boat as it sails around the world. During her voyage last fall, she went everywhere from Nova Scotia to Spain, Ghana, South Africa, China and Hawaii.
She said lectures were different since professors used personal life examples during their lectures based on the country in which they were traveling. Because the Semester at Sea program has such a good reputation around the world, she said people from each of the countries expected the students and were willing translate the local languages.
Through her travels, she visited the Taj Mahal and the Great Wall of China. While at the Taj Mahal, she said people would come up to her group wanting them to hold their children and take a picture with them.
Millsâ€™ biggest challenge came when she returned home.
â€œWhen I came back, people who knew me were able to see how it changed me, but people who asked about my trip who donâ€™t know me didnâ€™t understand,â€ she said. â€œThe Semester at Sea is much bigger than the program.â€
Rump also found it hard to adjust when she came back to the States.
â€œAt first I was ready to come home,â€ she said. â€œBut once I came home and started going to summer classes, it was weird not traveling every weekend.â€
Rump and Mills came back from two very different experiences, but they said they learned something different about themselves.
Mills said the voyage taught her to be more outgoing.
â€œIt was hard to open up to people when I first arrived,â€ she said. â€œBut the people on boat are there for the same reason. The trip is a tie that links people together. The experience made me want to try new things, and thatâ€™s one of the reasons why I joined Kappa Delta (Sorority).â€
Rump said she learned she could manage in new situations and how to be self-reliant.
When asked what advice they would give students who are applying or who are already going to study abroad, Rump said that she would tell students to â€œget on it, and to choose a place where you will challenge yourself.â€
Sarah also recommends doing research and â€œlearn what you want to eat, see and do before you go.â€
Staff writer Kate Reitinger can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.