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Did you know Dartmouth offers over 40 different study abroad programs across six continents? I interviewed four of my friends who took a term abroad to share their experiences.

sydney wuu maya

Maya N. '24

Hometown: New York, New York

Academic Program: Environmental Studies Major, Double Minor in History & Chinese

Study Abroad Department: History

Location: London, England

Program: University College London Foreign Study Program (FSP)

What was your favorite part of your study abroad experience? 

My favorite part of studying abroad has definitely been living in London and experiencing life in such a vibrant, exciting, and international city. Even though I'm from NYC—so city life isn't a huge shift—it's been incredible to explore a new city and get to know different neighborhoods. 

What is it like living in the middle of a large European city like London?

It's fast-paced but not overwhelming. Since London is very walkable and accessible via public transit, it's easy to go check out a restaurant to try a new cuisine, or go to one of the many museums (and most of them are free) in an afternoon. There is so much you feel like you want to do, there's almost not enough time!

What was the main difference academically between Dartmouth and UCL?

I'd say the main difference academically is in terms of engagement. At Dartmouth we have class two to three times a week, professors have frequent office hours, and you have assignments throughout the term to keep you on top of your work. Class participation is also a huge part of classes at Dartmouth, but at UCL, participation does not factor into your grade at all. At UCL you have fewer contact hours with your professor, and at least for history classes, your only assignments are two essays (one midterm, one final). The more independent nature of the work took some time to adjust to. 

sydney wuu envs dsp

Spriha P. '24

Hometown: Mumbai, India

Academic Program: Environmental Studies Major, Double Minor in Economics & Earth Sciences 

Study Abroad Department: Environmental Studies 

Location: New England 

Program: Domestic Study Program (DSP)

Why did you apply to study domestically and near Dartmouth?

The New England DSP offers an experiential learning program in Environmental Studies. The ability to take my learning from a classroom to a real-world setting enticed me. I was also really excited about the opportunity to spend an entire term with a group of students who are all equally passionate about environmental studies.

What was your favorite part of the program?

We visited a remote island called Monhegan Island in the Gulf of Maine. We talked to local lobstermen, tried dishes, and hiked to a lighthouse to see a decades-old shipwreck. The experience was extremely immersive and helped me learn a lot about resource management in remote regions.

What was the main difference academically between Dartmouth and the New England DSP?

Experiential learning programs allow for learning all perspectives in an issue. For example, while we have studied governance of common pool resources in our classes, actually speaking to the actors in a common pool resource such as legislators, users, and mediators provided a more holistic picture.

What is the best advice you can give those attending a future study abroad program?

Some change and discomfort is inevitable in such programs. Expecting and embracing it can make all the difference.

Where did you live and stay?

The New England DSP is a truly unique experience where we live across multiple locations along the coast of Maine, as well as the forests of New England. Our lodgings included cabins, sea-front houses, and research lab dormitories.

How does the social life differ between being on campus at Dartmouth and your program?

The DSP allowed me to grow really close to a small group of people, and I loved that.

sydney wuu french lsa+

Danny A. '24

Hometown: Miami, Florida

Academic Program: Double Major in Neuroscience & Human Biology, French Minor

Study Abroad Department: French

Location: Toulouse, France

Program: Advanced Language Study Abroad LSA+

Why did you apply to study abroad?

I applied to the French LSA+ in Toulouse because I wanted to finalize learning French and I also had always wanted to live abroad for some time. I thought this program was the perfect fit, for it was in a city in the beautiful south of the country and it focused on both the cultural and lingual aspects of France. 

What was your favorite part?

My favorite part was living with my host family. Of course, I think I got lucky to have been able to be hosted by Marie-Jo and Laurent—the best hosts ever. To me, being welcomed and housed by this lovely couple of French locals who were interested in getting to know me, teaching me about their customs and day-to-day life, and reinforced the language in our every conversation was a huge gift. Today, I am very thankful not only for the time I spent with them, but for the great relationship we created. I actually got to visit them this past October and I cannot wait to see them again.  

How did you grow?

I think I grew both personally and academically. Personally, I learned more about myself and what I truly value: a work-life balance that places importance on time spent with others, good food, and traveling. I also grew in my understanding of a new and distinct culture and to grow comfortable in the uncomfortable. Academically, I was able to radically improve my French—in writing and speech—as well as to find my passion for learning languages. 

What was the main difference academically between Dartmouth and France?

In France, the classes I took varied greatly from those I took at Dartmouth because of the difference in subject as well as, of course, the language I was taking them in. Also, they were way smaller than my usual pre-medical courses back in Hanover. Nevertheless, because Professor Yasser Elhariry was with us from Dartmouth and taught one of the five classes we took, a lot of things felt very similar: engaged, challenging, and informative. 

What is the best advice you can give those attending a future study abroad program?

I would advise everyone to not be afraid to go abroad regardless of the reasons why one might feel so. Studying abroad will open your mind, challenge you to step outside your comfort zone, and push you to grow in ways you would have never imagined. Go with an open mind, prepare yourself for the unexpected, and truly try to dwell in the pleasures of living abroad in a new culture. 

How would you describe living in Toulouse, France?

Living in Toulouse was lovely; I absolutely loved the brick architecture, the small French cafés and bars, the historic churches around the city, and the presence of many culturally-enriching plays, films, and art. Living in Toulouse felt like I was living freely, with little to no concern about time because everyone just wanted to be in the moment and enjoy. I loved hearing French everywhere I went, being able to travel so easily to the beautiful coastal towns of France, and being able to delight in some of the best food in the world. To say the least, I absolutely loved my time there. 

How does the social life differ between Dartmouth and your study abroad program?

My social life abroad was just amazing! Apart from meeting some of my best friends today during my time in France, I got to explore the nightclub and bar scenes in Europe which greatly differ from the Greek life we get to experience back at Dartmouth. I really loved meeting students from other countries who were also studying there and above all, I loved the group of Dartmouth students that I got to go to Toulouse with. I think they were the ones who made the experience so enriching, fun, and memorable. Today, we relive some of our memories together when on campus and continue to develop our friendships post our time abroad.

sydney wuu arturo

Arturo S. '24

Hometown: Panama City, Panamá

Academic Program: Double Major in Mathematics Modified with Public Policy on the Applied Mathematics Track & Korean Studies [Fun Fact: Arturo is Dartmouth's first Korean Studies Major! He designed it through Dartmouth's Special Major program.]

Study Abroad Department: Asian Societies, Cultures, and Languages 

Location: Seoul, Korea

Program: Yonsei University Exchange

Why did you apply to study abroad?

It all started with my trip to Korea at age 14 for a taekwondo competition where I became fascinated with all things Korea. Then, as a Korean Studies special major, the opportunity to study the Korean language (sadly not offered at Dartmouth) and live in Seoul was one I could not turn away.

What was your favorite part?

My favorite experience in Korea was spending Chuseok (Korean Thanksgiving) with a friend's family in Busan who was actually my Dartmouth interviewer over two years ago! I got to participate in all of their traditions and discuss Korean culture with them.

How did you grow?

In these four months, I've been able to explore almost all the Korean provinces and even the countries of Japan and Vietnam. I learned the basics of the Korean language (which I intend to continue self-studying in the future), made local and international friends, and gained a deeper understanding of Korean paradigms that you would never get from a textbook.

What is the best advice you can give those attending a future study abroad program?

My best advice is to become as familiar with the culture and language as you can before going, so that you can fully embrace it, and that you allow yourself time to disconnect from schoolwork and mindfully travel throughout your host country as much as possible.

How would you describe living in Seoul?

Yonsei is in Sinchon, a bright neighborhood in the heart of Seoul. It is interesting to live in such a large city; it has both advantages and challenges. But alternating my weekend plans between exploring the city's awesome nightlife and traveling outside beyond its borders gives me the balance I need.

How does the social life differ between Dartmouth and your study abroad program?

With over 1,200 exchange students per semester, social life at Yonsei has endless options. But it requires initiative to make travel plans, join friend groups, and explore new activities while abroad in such a large school.

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