IS Study Abroad Experiences - In Their Own Words

Laurie Williams '18
International Studies major

I studied abroad at Al Akhawayn University in Ifrane, Morocco, in Fall 2016. I had been wanting to visit Morocco for a few years because I was intrigued by its geopolitical significance as a majority-Muslim country in Africa with strong ties to Europe through its former colonization by the French and the Spanish. When deciding where I wanted to study abroad, my interest in Morocco as well as the small student population and liberal arts curriculum at AUI made the choice easy for me.

At the risk of sounding like a study-abroad brochure, I will say that the experience truly changed my life. I know it sounds cliché, but it’s true. I had the opportunity to immerse myself in a culture very different than my own, to meet some of my closest friends, and to foster my own sense of independence and self-confidence. It wasn’t always easy, but the things that make us better people usually aren’t.

My coursework in the IS department and at Rhodes in general helped me feel confident in my ability to engage in a new classroom setting and with new professors. The IS classes I had taken previously gave me a solid foundation for better understanding the nuances of the Middle Eastern and African politics classes I took in Morocco and helped guide my class participation and written work throughout the semester.

Adrian Winchester '18
International Studies major

I studied abroad with the Council on International Educational Exchange in Amman, Jordan, in Spring 2017. I chose Jordan because I have found that the Middle East is a region that has increasingly been misunderstood, either in the media or in the study of regional conflict. I was eager to learn more about the day-to-day life of people in the Middle East, and Jordan provided the perfect opportunity. My program was designed around Arabic and International Studies but also included a number of engaging cultural activities such as playing soccer with Jordanians or learning how to make Jordanian food.

I believe studying abroad is important because it allows you to gain experience living in another country. It often takes you out of your comfort zone and fosters learning outside the classroom. I found my experience to be valuable because it provided me with the opportunity to experience things I had only read about while learning a language that could help me better connect with the people around me.

My International Studies courses prepared me to study abroad in a number of ways. There were several experiences that reminded me of my courses that I had taken. Whether in a classroom, or through a conversation with someone I had just met, I often found myself using information I had learned in a Rhodes classroom. Other times I was able to draw on knowledge I had gained from Rhodes to understand the context of the countries I was in.

The International Studies Department salutes all of our majors who have studied abroad in recent semesters!

August (Gus) Bishop, International Studies major, class of 2019, participated in the Semester at Sea program, which traveled to Hawaii, Japan, China, Vietnam, Myanmar, India, South Africa, Ghana, Morocco, and Germany in the spring of 2017.

Dominique DeFreece, International Studies & History bridge major, class of 2018, studied in Morocco in Spring 2017.

Jordan Giles, International Studies and Russian Studies double-major, class of 2018, studied in Moscow, Russia in Spring 2017.

Kathleen (Tate) Mulligan, International Studies & History bridge major, class of 2018, studied at Murcia, Spain in Spring 2017.

Natalie Palmer, International Studies major, class of 2018, studied at Université Paul-Valéry Montpellier III in Montpellier, France in Spring 2017.

Claire Rickard, International Studies major, class of 2018, studied in Amman, Jordan in Spring 2017.

Grady Vaughan, International Studies and Russian Studies double-major, class of 2018, studied at Bishkek in Kyrgyzstan in Fall 2016.