The Fall semester of my junior year I studied abroad in New Zealand through the Higher Education Consortium for Urban Affairs (HECUA). HECUA and Denison both place huge emphasis on experiential learning, so this environmental studies program was filled with meeting and working with activists, policymakers, farmers, and educators from all walks of life. Interspersed with our studies were plenty of opportunity for adventure, good food, and building relationships with local Kiwis. Being abroad taught me to embrace uncertainty and seek out serendipity, and of course gave me the travel bug.
The Denison reach goes way beyond the Hill.
Call it learning to feel confident in unfamiliar environments, or building deep appreciation for languages and cultures, or just broadening your perspective—the fact is, you have things to do, places to go, and people to meet.
One of my favorite experiences off of the Hill was when I attended the John Adams Law and Society Conference hosted by Kenyon College last summer. The conference, which is centered around the marriage of law and social justice, brings college students together with speakers, professors, lawyers, social justice advocates and more. We discussed law in terms of race, gender, and class, traveled to the Cleveland Municipal Courthouse, and developed proposals for various social justice and legal advocacy groups in Ohio. It was amazing to apply what I have been learning at Denison, build relationships, and learn so much about the way the law works in American society.
Thanks to Denison’s Horizon Fund, I get to spend part of my summer abroad in Kraków, Poland, where I will study Holocaust history alongside Auschwitz and medical experimentation survivor Eva Kor. I am simply stunned by the level of support I have received from the Denison community. Everyone, whether a faculty member or a university employee, has been so encouraging since the beginning. When I return to campus in the fall, I will repay that encouragement with a university-wide presentation and multiple outreach programs to local middle and high schools. There is no doubt that a little piece of that Denison charm will follow me to Kraków and back.
Denison has afforded me a second home and a village that I love, but it also has pushed me to take what I have learned and share it beyond campus. Whether working for a ministry in the Dominican Republic or interning for a mental health clinic in my hometown, learning to apply my education has been a game changer, and it has provided experiences that would not have been possible without the support of Denison.
I am spending the semester abroad in Freiburg, Germany, and I have an internship at an economic research institute. I definitely wouldn't be here without my strong Denison education: my economics major helped me land this internship, and my German minor has allowed me to communicate with my coworkers and friends in their native language.
Even more so, my strong friendships within the Denison community at home have made me more eager to reach out and create a community around myself here. Even when I'm off campus, I can't manage to leave Denison behind!
I am studying abroad in Palma de Mallorca, Spain, and this little island is more important to me than I ever thought possible. I came here not knowing anyone, and now I can't imagine leaving all of the friends I have made. Palma has taught me so much about Spanish culture, including the laid-back lifestyle and the emphasis on family time. I have enjoyed living with my host mom, and I will miss being greeted with two kisses upon entering the door everyday. Palma is important to me because it has shown me that it is OK to relax, have fun, and stray from the plan every once in a while. Although it seems counterintuitive, this lack of planning/structure has given me time to realize what's truly important to me. Cheesy, I know, but true! The beautiful beaches and sunshine don't hurt, either. :)
Although I can't wait to return to campus, I now know that I have a home away from home here in Spain!”
I do not even know where to begin describing my semester in Copenhagen, Denmark. I was completely terrified with the thought of living in a foreign city thousands of miles away from home and Denison. There are many stories I could tell about my time in Europe, but there’s one that shines more than the rest.
When my mom came to visit for the Thanksgiving holiday, she asked who I would like to take to a Thanksgiving dinner. I began thinking about which of the other Denison students on the trip I should ask and realized I couldn’t narrow it down. I called my mom and said, “Could we possibly take out 20 of my friends?” I could not imagine anyone else I would want to spend Thanksgiving with. The laughter-filled dinner lasted four hours, with everyone saying they would remember that night forever.
Going abroad is an amazing experience. I was lucky enough to visit 11 different countries and grow so much as a person. My semester was made that much better by being surrounded by my “Denison family.” Now that we’re back on campus only our location has changed, but our relationships have not. If anything they have grown stronger. I barely knew more than half of them before that semester abroad, and today I call many of them my best friends. Now I fully understand the Denison bond and will always cherish it.
Attending Denison has had a major impact on the way I have come to explore the world around me because I have had numerous opportunities to combine the conceptual framework of learning that exists in the classroom with free-choice learning experiences outside of the classroom.
Born and raised in the U.S. Virgin Islands, I always enjoyed being outdoors and exploring the natural environment around me. As a result of traveling to different parts of the country with friends from Denison, I have been able to see the importance of protecting, using, and embracing our natural world. My ability to apply knowledge of social, political, and economic principles in the context of the environment has allowed me to bring together my love of learning and my love of the natural environment.
I spent the first semester of my junior year in Bath, England, through the Advanced Studies in England (ASE) program. ASE placed a large value on learning outside of the classroom, which ensured tours through abandoned castles, historical villages and of course, Stonehenge.
These experiences often connected with my courses in unexpected ways. After hiking through a misty Welsh mountain rage, I finally began to understand why all those poets in my British Romanticism class talked about the sublime. While I enjoyed all of these study trips, I also appreciated the little moments. A simple walk to Sainsbury’s, a UK grocery chain, allowed me to pass by Bath’s stunning Georgian architecture. Living and traveling in a foreign country expanded on the independence I developed at Denison. Even if I just went to the pub with some friends, I knew I was learning something.
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