From May 7 to May 17, 2022, I traveled across Croatia and Bosnia and Herzegovina as part of the RIT faculty-led study abroad program War and Peacebuilding in the Balkans. The focus of the program and the class preceding it was the causes and aftereffects of the Bosnian war. During the spring 2022 semester, we learned about the history of the Balkan region, the tensions that led up to the war, and the events of the war itself.
We all know it is good to be social and make friends, but how often are we truly open to it? For myself, my friend group over the past four years has been relatively stable. Sticking to your group works fine until you move across the world during Study Abroad! Separating yourself from your friends can be scary unless you fully embrace it and see the new opportunity to diversify your circle.
As an autistic individual, sometimes it feels difficult to make new friends. I never really know whether or not I’m just being tolerated or actually liked in a group of people. That being said, this was not an issue while I was abroad. I truly felt like everyone I met was a part of me, and I was a part of them. I studied abroad in Budapest, Hungary on the Budapest Semesters in Mathematics program.
Since I am originally from Dubrovnik, Croatia, I wanted to explain a little bit about the culture of drinking coffee almost every day for HOURS!
Last year I was completing my third year of college as a study abroad student at the RIT Zagreb campus. I am very grateful that I got a chance to go back to my home country to study and experience all the special rituals that Croatia is known for.
Last fall, I received an email from RIT about study abroad opportunities. As a Computer Science M.S. student, I had no idea that I was even eligible for study abroad programs and was not familiar with the Critical Language Scholarship (CLS), sponsored by the U.S. Department of State. The goal of the CLS program is to increase the number of Americans trained in foreign languages critical (no pun intended) to American prosperity, yet aren’t frequently taught in American schools.
One of the reasons I chose to study abroad in France was to improve my French-speaking skills via immersion. The most immersive experience possible is living in a homestay, where I would live with a local French family, so I chose that housing option. I figured that I would live with a couple and possibly their kids. I was excited to experience the typical French/Parisian family life. A few months before I left, I filled out a form detailing my housing preferences and living habits and waited to hear back for my homestay assignment.
When I initially decided to study abroad on the Summer Psychology in Croatia program, I imagined the classes would be identical to RIT Rochester’s psychology courses (I had already taken two psychology courses at the main campus). When I arrived to my first day of class in Croatia though, I quickly realized I would reap the benefits of an RIT course – the grading structure, the language of instruction being English, etc.
From January 4th to January 9th, 2021, I participated in a virtual study abroad opportunity called the HEX Discovery Program. This six-day-long program was hosted by the Hacker Exchange, an organization based out of Australia that helps teach young adults leadership, entrepreneurship, and networking skills. During the program, a group of 30 participants from universities worldwide came together on Zoom to learn from guest speakers and work in teams to create a new product. At the end of the six days we pitched our product to a panel of judges.
While studying abroad at Florence University of the Arts (FUA) in Florence, Italy, I participated in an Experiential Learning program that FUA offers called Special Project Experiential Learning: Book Publishing. I, along with ten other students from different majors, including photography, graphic design, videography, and book publishing, worked on FUA’s magazine, Blending. This magazine is published online as well as physically printed each semester. There is also a monthly newsletter and radio podcasts to complement the magazine.
The summer after my first year at RIT, I studied abroad in Zagreb, Croatia. It has been one of my favorite college experiences so far. I made so many memories that I will cherish forever and friends that will last a lifetime. During my planning for the trip, I came across different phone plans that I could choose. My sister had gone abroad previously, and she decided to get a SIM card when she landed. She had cellular service that she could use to communicate with her friends and for social media. I decided to do something a little different. Instead, I chose a plan that would charge me for
Studying Abroad in Zagreb, Croatia was an extraordinary experience with my two Deaf best friends. You might wonder how we studied abroad in a country with a different language, both written and signed. We went to RIT Croatia, an English-spoken university at the Zagreb campus. RIT provided interpreters for the entire semester program. Croatian Professors spoke in English to my Croatian classmates. The difference-maker for us, Deaf Americans and ASL interpreters, was the teacher would sometimes abruptly stop the lecture because he forgot how to say a specific word in English.
After the first few months of living as a college student in Christchurch, New Zealand, I already knew that one semester abroad would not be long enough for me. I loved everything about the kiwi culture, including the wonderful accents, breathtaking scenery, delicious meat pies and other snacks, and the overall laid-back approach to life. Even after living in New Zealand for a semester as a student, I still felt like a tourist on a mad dash to soak up as much fun and excitement as possible. I wanted the chance to slow down and become more assimilated into everyday life.
When I decided to study abroad (both times), I knew it was going to be an incredible experience. I was excited to visit a new country, experience a different culture, and taste amazing food! Japan and France definitely delivered on all of those fronts. This is why I encourage students to go on faculty-led programs. The professors are always super knowledgeable about local cuisine, museums, and quirky stores that no one else would think to tell you about.
I have many different identities that I embrace and traveling to the United Arab Emirates (UAE) made me the most comfortable with almost all of them. I consider myself to be a Black, deaf woman and during my time in the UAE, I could be unapologetically me (for the most part). Although I was fortunate enough to study abroad twice during my time at RIT, I am able to reflect more about my experience in Dubai.
Hi! My name is Kansas Cushing and I studied abroad in Dublin, Ireland, and was also able to visit London and Amsterdam while abroad. You’ll want to make the most out of your experience when you’re in a new country and will need to figure out some of the best locations to visit. It can feel overwhelming being immersed in a different culture, and sometimes a new language, but I have a couple of tips that can help you make the most of your travels abroad!
I knew pretty early on that studying abroad was something I wanted to do while in college. As a STEM major, I thought it would be interesting to gain a new perspective on my field and see how people from around the world approach scientific problems and develop applicable solutions. I also wanted to take the opportunity to travel before feeling tied down to a job after graduating.
It wasn’t one moment of studying abroad that changed me. Rather it was a slow accumulation of small moments and subtle revelations that led to the realization that the person I was before had given way to the person I had become. Change is something that happens slowly, and the awareness of it happening is even slower. It often happens in the small everyday events that go unnoticed. In London, I walked to class almost every day and often took new routes to see more of my neighborhood. Some mornings I would stop at a café for breakfast or go to lunch with friends after class.
One of the many perks of studying abroad is international travel. Depending on where you go, traveling from country to country can be as easy as a $12 bus ride. While studying abroad in Croatia, I decided to make the most out of my time there and took a trip one peninsula over to Italy. A couple of other students and I bought overnight bus tickets for Venice. The route was relatively simple: we would take one bus from Zagreb to Ljubljana, and then a second bus through the rest of Slovenia straight to Venice. I couldn’t have been more excited.
My name is Marshall Hurst; I grew up in a tiny town named Vineland in Ontario, Canada. You might be wondering, "Where the heck is Vineland?" Vineland is only 17 minutes away from the Lewiston-Queenston Border to the United States. The cultures are pretty similar, just that we follow the metric system, have British-influenced words such as colour with the 'U.' Fascinating, eh?
My path to studying abroad was an interesting one to say the very least. My older brother years prior had studied in Sorrento, Italy. Since then I wanted to see different parts of the world and learn important lessons along the way. I wanted to throw myself in a radically different environment. I wanted to train myself to become adaptive and aware of how different things could be. In other words, I wanted a global mindset, and RIT was my opportunity to start that journey.
Identity - it’s what defines us, grounds us, and ultimately who we are. We each have a multitude of identities ranging from race, gender, sexuality, religion, etc. While each of these identities play a significant role in who we are, I believe that race/ethnicity is the most apparent of them all. Unlike many of the other identities, you can’t escape the skin you live within. When encountering strangers in public, the first thing they see is my blackness.
I did not know that I was in for an adventure of a lifetime as the airplane touched down in Zagreb, Croatia. For the first time in my life I was completely alone in a country where I did not know the language, however it would not be the last. Throughout my six weeks in Europe I left my footprint in a total of five different countries and fell in love with an aspect of every one.
When I made the decision to study abroad, it was a no-brainer where I wanted to go: New Zealand. Of course, my decision was heavily influenced by the picturesque nature of the country, including snow-capped mountains, endless opportunities for hiking (“tramping” to the locals), sprawling green pastures dotted with sheep and cows, and stunning natural beaches. However, the other major reason why I wanted to spend a semester abroad in New Zealand was because that is where my mother was born and raised.
I have been an out and proud lesbian since I was a sophomore in high school. I was in my schools’ gay-straight alliance. It hasn’t always been easy, but I was lucky enough to live in a relatively accepting community and a very accepting family. I am not ignorant of how much privilege I have had growing up in my community and feeling accepted.
In spring 2020, I studied with RIT affiliate, Santa Reparata International School of Art (SRISA), in Florence, Italy. While in Florence I worked as a social media intern for Black History Month Florence (BHMF). I completed 2 months in person and the rest online due to COVID-19.