By: Travis Archie
The university has activities and events, besides whitewater rafting at the U.S. National Whitewater Center in Charlotte, N.C. or Pancake Bingo; that can truly enrich the lives of college students; an example of such is studying abroad.
Gardner Webb has seven foreign exchange partners which are, the University of Malta, Trinity College in Wales, Linnaeus University in Sweden, University of Quebec in Canada, Universidad de Leon in Spain, Hong Kong Baptist University of China, and Danish Institute of Study Abroad Copenhagen.
The Spanish program has a four week program in the summer to Costa Rica. There is also a trip hosted by Dr. Bonner in the summer, for about a month, to countries such as Italy and Ireland. During spring break there are missionary trips that can be taken through Christian Life services. In this upcoming spring break there is a group going to Guatemala and Honduras.
Students who participate in these programs not only get to see other cultures, they also get to see what they are truly made of. College students know the struggles of having to come into a new environment and learn how to adjust.
People from different cultures may or may not like Americans, English may not be the primary language, and culture shock is always a factor. Seniors Kristina Beth and Chelsea Price are two students who experienced the positives and negatives in studying abroad.
Beth is double majoring in Spanish and French. In the spring her sophomore year she decided to earn Spanish credit by participating in the Spanish program at the Universidad de Leon in Leon, Spain. “I had a great time and learned a lot traveling all over Northwestern Spain. I was able to walk, eat, breath, and live in Spain,” she said.
But on a negative note Beth said, “My host family was a bit stand-offish and it was hard for me to get to know them, but over time I got use to them and they got use to me.” She also had to overcome a major language barrier because the region of Spain were she studied had hardly any English speaking people.
Price spent her spring semester of sophomore year studying at Trinity College in Swansea, Wales. “I always wanted to study abroad and the opportunity presented itself,” she said. During her three-week-break she visited eight European countries such as the Netherlands, France, and of course all of the United Kingdom.
The main issue Price experienced was, “being terribly homesick and hungry,” she said. She also did not know anybody, had a rough time adjusting to the culture, and unlike Beth who just had to deal with a host family, Price had to live in a house with nine other people including herself.
Beth and Price had their ups and downs for their trips, but both made it through. They would encourage others to take time to experience that part of college life.