. I can say I've visited one of the most beautiful places on earth. All the while, learning about the geology of the Rhine River, while white water rafting on it, studying plant and animal species of the Swiss Alps, and hiking over 130 miles. Plus, I was able to study the earths' processes while hiking on the Gorner Glacier!
I went on behind-the-scenes tours of worldwide manufacturing powerhouses and sampled foods fresh off of the production lines. I visited the United States Embassy in Paris to learn about trade between the U.S. and France. I validated my entire six years of French language studies when I bartered at Paris street markets and conversed with locals who praised my French-speaking efforts.
Studying abroad gave me the utmost confidence in myself and taught me that not every situation will go your way. While in every location abroad, our professors were there to give us guidance when it came to academics but other than that we had to figure out how to navigate each city on our own.
It was incredible that sitting on the side of the mountain, we were not only learning about geology, ecology and the environment, but also were looking at some of the most spectacular views I have ever seen. It came as no surprise that this was such a wonderful learning environment; lecturing in the mountains is now my preferred way to study!
As we traveled up to the highest point in a chair lift, I fell into a state of shock, in awe of how breath taking of a place I was in. As soon as my friend Meghan and I got to the front of the line, my stomach dropped.
Before I had even signed up for International Food Laws, I pictured study abroad as just being an extended vacation; boy was I wrong. Even though my three weeks abroad were filled with great food, great scenery, and great friends, I learned more on this program than I had ever thought I would.
Initially, I was tremendously nervous and worried about studying abroad, because it was my first time visiting a country overseas. I began to question many things and was especially concerned about not speaking the dominant languages of these countries. Yet once upon arriving to Europe, I learned that English was the second language for many people in every country I visited.
Upon reflection, I realize that even the most rudimentary tasks were somehow morphed into moments of powerful insight. In fact, I've coined a phrase to help me describe this cross-cultural phenomenon, simply titled "The Coffee Effect." Why coffee? No reason, specifically. I merely noticed that it's a drink consumed around the world.
Coming back from my program I can truly say that I have made 32 amazing friends. Each person was unique and yet we all fit together like a perfect puzzle.
We had many opportunities for hands-on learning experiences, including a project in which we were to create an international ad for a global brand of our choice. We were encouraged to include famous French landmarks in our ad campaigns, and thus, got a chance to explore the beautiful city while also expanding our knowledge outside of a typical classroom setup.
For one project, we had to choose one department to focus on in London’s world-famous department store Harrods and present their marketing strategy for their various brands. The real life experience of observing and analyzing their marketing techniques gave me a valuable insight and lesson in marketing.
These are experiences that will be engraved in my head forever, and the best part of each memory? I was learning and taking classes at the same time, surrounded by Michigan State students and representing the remarkable University all over the world
I am a non-traditional student who funded this program without help from my parents. It is very possible to do this on your own. I highly recommend study abroad to anyone on any income level.
The amount of enthusiasm and excitement Dr. Harrell expressed about the future experience made me realize that this was something I couldn’t afford not to do. From that moment I knew I had to take a leap of faith.
I became introduced to a variety of career paths that incorporated my passion for food and required a science-based degree.
I feel as though there is no better way to experience a culture than through eating their foods and that is exactly what I was able to do on this program. I was so full of culture by the end this program and I will always be hungry for more!
The great thing about this study abroad program was the experience of visiting the World Health Organization, the World Trade Organization, and the Food and Agriculture Organization. There is only so much one can absorb from a document or photograph. The true impact comes from the firsthand experience.
I studied in 5 cities, 4 countries, with 3 different languages in 4 weeks; talk about amazing. This experience turned out to be a huge boost to my academic and career goals.
Kayla in Switzerland: One of my best memories will be spending my 20th birthday at the Matterhorn, one of the most famous mountains in the world, how many people get to say that they did that?
With the opportunities it presented for us to visit numerous well known corporation’s headquarters and facilities as well as to meet, quite literally, CEO’s and executive teams of these entities, we had access to network with people most students will never meet.
This experience helped me develop myself even further with diversity in education, culture, language and relationships.
The best part of this experience, though, was eating all of the food at this wonderful place! I got to try delicious fruits that I had never seen before, ostrich hamburgers, salted beef sandwiches, licorice sticks, sausages, fresh bread, exotic oils, and I could go on and on.
That is the secret behind study abroad; if you never go, you may always be blind to something you love.