Taking your studies to other countries lets you see the
world with your own eyes and encourages you to gain a global perspective. Read
student testimonials below about studying abroad in the Women’s and Gender
Anne Ballard studied at the University of Querétaro.
"The skills that I gained were monumental. I was thrown into a world so
different from mine, yet the people I met made it feel so similar," she
“I studied abroad in Querétaro,
México. I had the time of my life and it has changed me forever. I attended the University of
Querétaro, where my professors and the local students only spoke Spanish.
I adapted in this unfamiliar
environment by letting go and being open-minded. I tried everything I could,
from cow eyes to lamb heart. I found that adapting to another culture meant
just living in it, loving it, and trying it.
Give it your all and you’ll get
all out of it. Every day, I could see how I had grown and how I had changed.
Every day, I surprised myself.
At specific times it was
noticeable that my surroundings took me out of my comfort zone. One example is
the comments I received from men. It did not matter who I was with, or how
fast I was walking, men would yell things at me.
At first this made me not want
to go out alone, but with time I realized I should not feel threatened, because
they shouted at everyone. It was part of daily life.
I think this is one of the
secrets of the world: We should not just tolerate one another, we should
respect and accept one another. My experience, studying abroad in México was
one that changed my life forever.” –Anne Ballard
Jane Berkman studied at the London Metropolitan University.
“I always knew that I wanted to study abroad,” she explained. “I felt like it would
be such an important part of my college education for me to see what the world
looks like from outside the US.”
“I studied in the North London Borough of Islington, at
London Metropolitan University. We are so central, so dominant a country, and I
was curious to find out what the US, the most powerful country in the world,
looked like from the outside.
When I was choosing a location for my study abroad
experience, I originally wanted to go further outside of dominant culture, but
given my interest in women’s studies, I found that London was a great option. I
love big cities and London is so cosmopolitan that I felt like the cultural
diversity would be enough to give me some very new experiences.
While I was there, I took three women’s studies courses and
one psychology course. The psychology course was similar to the ones I had
taken here, but the women’s studies courses were really different and
interesting. I was curious to see what feminism looked like in a different
culture with a different history.
As for the classes themselves, the psychology class mostly
consisted of English students, and in Women’s Studies some were English, but
many were from other countries. The women I met were from countries like
Trinidad and Tobago or Namibia, or Germany.
The building I lived in was a renovated women’s prison which
now resembles an apartment complex. The university was just down the block, as
was the nearest underground station, Holloway Road, and the street was lined
with cafés, off-license (convenience stores), and shops with groceries and
It was such an enlightening experience to begin to imagine
another way of life, I actually think that the government should pay for study
abroad programs as part of normal school funding. Even at Northern Arizona
University, many of the programs are more affordable than people tend to think.
Programs that are listed as “exchange” programs allow
students to pay university tuition to cover the costs of the international
university tuition and the university will even accept tuition waivers that a
student can normally use towards tuition and fees.
I expected to come back with an armory of anti-American
sentiments, but I came to appreciate some of the freedoms we have. Now I know
that there is no place else I’d rather live, and I would not have said that
before I studied abroad. I really do feel at home in the US.”
Kristin Cook studied at the University of Waikato in New
Zealand. She said, “Women’s studies students often think that we’re the only
ones who do feminism. It’s vital to go to a place where you can see that people
do feminism in ways we might sometimes never even consider doing.”
“The way courses are set up at
Waikato is night-and-day to how it is here. I didn’t have nearly as much ‘busy
work’ and they focus much, much more on lectures than discussions.
Life in New Zealand certainly
isn’t the same as life in the US is, but kiwi-culture is so fun and laid back
that you really get into the swing of things easily, and once you do, you’ll
have an experience that you’ll never have anywhere else. I mean, I went bungee
jumping and I’m afraid of heights! But that’s what you do in New Zealand; it’s
an adventure capital.
I took three women’s studies
courses. They don’t talk about theory in the same way we do; they have a
broader standpoint from which they work. It’s not that theory isn’t important,
but the perspective is more clearly blended with activism. There you talk about
the issues. They like talking about politics and even sports, and bring them
into classroom discussions.
Women’s Studies students often
think that we’re the only ones who do feminism. It’s vital to go to a place
where you can see that that people do feminism in ways we might sometimes never
even consider doing. The rhetoric you’re using, the opinions you’re hearing,
are things you’ve never think of on your own. You see things and do things
you’d never think you’d do.”