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Study Abroad Profile: Sara Owens

Program: Global May HungarySara Owens (H) in Global May Hungary O-H-I-O
Location: Hungary, Austria and Poland
Rank: Junior
Major: Financial Planning

“I made the best decision of my life when I decided to pursue my goal of study abroad with the Global May Hungary program. I was drawn to this program because of the convenient length of the program during the summer, and because of STEP I was able to use my Second-Year Transformational Experience Program fellowship to travel. I chose Hungary as my host country because of my Hungarian family, and wanted to explore and learn more about the land that has been home for my ancestors. Additionally, this underrated country has intrigued me ever since I did a report on Hungary in the fourth grade. Most importantly, I wanted to study abroad because I have little travel experience and I wanted to experience a new culture for the first time.

I expected to learn about Central and Eastern European history and culture while abroad, but I walked away from this experience with so much more knowledge about myself and the United States. To see the world from a new perspective for the first time was an incredible and life changing experience. I often caught myself reflecting, deeply reflecting; why it was that this new culture was so different from America’s culture. I quickly adapted to a more versatile lifestyle in Europe. I fSara Owens (left) abroad with Global May Hungaryound so many possibilities to take advantage of on a daily basis. I am mostly grateful for the opportunity to navigate around an unfamiliar country. This aspect alone has encouraged me to set out and explore more, even in familiar territories, because I no longer fear getting turned around or lost. I discovered the beauty of language while in Budapest. I arrived in this country not knowing a single word of Hungarian. Over time, I listened and watched how locals interacted and began to catch on to what they were actually saying. By the end of the trip, I couldn’t wait to engage in conversation with Hungarians so that I could use the small amount of the language that I did pick up. 

Each and every moment of this adventure was so memorable for me. Beginning this experience with strangers and returning to America with lifelong friends is indescribable. One of my favorite memories of this trip occurred on one of the first few days abroad, before I actually knew the other students. We decided to hike up to the tallest point in Budapest, Elizabeth’s Lookout. The climb up the hill created the perfect opportunity for us to all get to know one another. Arriving at the top of the site, and overlooking the gorgeous city, which we would all be living in for the next month, was one of the most rewarding feelings I have ever encountered. “