Hana Le, a biology and creative writing junior, studied abroad on the Geography of the European Union education abroad program during May 2019.
The Geography of the European Union study abroad program was a month-long trip to the gorgeous island of Cyprus. We attended classes with Stavros, our resident director, in the morning and spent our afternoons and weekends exploring our city, Paphos. During our stay, we also travelled to the capital, Nicosia, and another nearby city, Limassol. Our study abroad was particularly special because Stavros is a native Cypriot; I learned so much from him about the culture of Cyprus. When we weren't studying, our little family laid out on the beach together or tried new restaurants. The food was spectacular. None of us can stop talking about how much we miss it!
Another neat aspect of this study abroad was its fluid structure. We had plenty of free time, and the students put together some activities as a group. Parasailing, photo shoots, café-hopping, a jeep safari and a dinner featuring traditional greek dancers were some of my favorites. I chose this program on a whim because a friend of mine was applying, and I'm so glad that I did. I couldn't be happier with my experience.
My transformational moment abroad was during our final night in Cyprus. We ate an amazing dinner at the Coral Beach Resort, and then we were pulled up onstage with the traditional greek dancers. Seeing all of my friends enjoying themselves and celebrating their time in Cyprus was a wonderful moment. That night in particular is full of so many amazing memories.
I highly encourage other students to study abroad because it forces you out of your comfort zone. Coming home, I was so proud of myself for taking this chance, coordinating my funds and travel plans and dealing with whichever problems came my way. That's not to say that studying abroad will be difficult; I mean that to immerse yourself in an unfamiliar culture is inherently brave, and you'll be glad that you did. I should also speak to the relationships that arise in intense situations like these: I made so many friendships on this trip, and our Cyprus family still meets up when we can. There's something distinct and special about the ties that you create on a study abroad, so look into it for this reason as well. If you are worried about funding, set up an appointment with the Office of International Affairs, and they will help you figure it out. I was honored to receive the Wolfe Scholarship
, and I am continuously grateful to the donors for helping me on my way to Cyprus.