Traveling abroad is a life-changing opportunity that no student should ever pass up, if given the chance. Anna-Kate Mayhew, a senior French major, didn?t pass up her chance when the Honor?s College gave her the opportunity to travel in Europe for a semester, courtesy of a travel abroad grant. ?This was a great experience that I couldn?t of gotten anywhere else,? she said.
Mayhew began her travels by spending one week in Paris before moving on to a school in the Alps where she began taking classes at the French Institute of the Alps, in Chambery. There she began a four-month, in-depth study of the French language and culture, which in the end would help meet her first two goals of French language fluency and improving her understanding of international relations.
While in school there she was on her own surrounded by a culture with considerable differences from the U.S. But Mayhew, a strong and bright woman, began to adapt to the new society.
After Mayhew finished her four months in France she received a certificate of excellence and a diploma from the French government for language proficiency.
She then began the second half of her journey through Europe and started a hands-on independent study of the Holocaust. This horrific journey, Mayhew said, couldn?t be experienced in words. ?It was something that you would have to see in order to have an understanding of this experience,? she said.
This journey enabled her to meet her final goals: empathy and understanding of the Holocaust, and self-discovery, as she spent an entire month traveling solely. Mayhew said, ?Traveling alone for a month helped me to gain more independence in myself and this trip also allowed me to have courage to go other places alone, which I wouldn?t of done if I hadn?t participated in this trip.?
This experience for Mayhew has been life-changing, not only academically but also personally. Now that she has returned to the states, she is looking into starting a project that would enhance awareness for the international programs. Now that she has finished her journey she is one step closer to her dreams of becoming a professor or working in international relations.
The experience has not only given her courage to reach a higher level of independence, but also it brought her to a new level in her education. Mayhew said, ?Studying abroad was one of the best decisions that I have made. It challenged me intellectually and personally.?