Studying abroad is an option that few Springfield College students actually pursue. This spring semester, there will be numerous Springfield College students calling other countries home. Of the dozen choices the Doggett International Center at Springfield offers, this year’s travelers have settled on some unique locations.
Katie Zmuda chose the land down under. Zmuda is a sophomore from West Springfield, Mass., who knew Australia was for her. Five years ago, Zmuda’s older sister came back from a semester in Australia with stories and pictures that inspired her to study abroad as well.
“After I heard her stories and saw all of her pictures, I was set on it,” said Zmuda.
Zmuda’s sister Rachel came home with lively stories of excursions in the Australian Outback that captured her curiosity. The rehabilitation and disabilities major has plans to explore the Great Barrier Reef and really get a feel for other cultures in Australia this spring.
“I’m looking forward to the Australian way of life. I hear that they’re really laid back and chill and I have that type of personality,” said Zmuda.
Zmuda, along with her roommate Molly Goldberger, will be studying and living on campus at the University of Wollongong. Wollongong is a city on the coast of the Tasman Sea, just south of Sydney with a population double that of Springfield. Zmuda equates Wollongong to the University of Massachusetts and said she will travel to classes on a shuttle. Zmuda said her future residence hall is just like the Living Center, except it is within walking distance of the beach.
“When else are you going to get the chance to go abroad and stay somewhere for months?” said Zmuda.
Like Zmuda, Julie Harris will be studying abroad with her Springfield College roommate. Harris and her roommate, Katie Russett, are crossing the Atlantic Ocean to study at Dublin City University in Ireland.
In Ireland, Harris hopes to get an entirely new perspective on history.
“There is a lot of history there. I really like to learn about new cultures, and it’s a very beautiful country,” said Harris.
The Springfield College junior, who grew up just outside of Philadelphia, said she always knew she wanted to see other parts of the world.
“I’m looking forward to meeting new people and figuring out how other people live their lives,” said Harris.
One of Ireland’s selling points for Harris was its location. From Ireland, Harris plans on seeing as much of Europe as possible, notably Florence and Paris.
“I want to go to as many places as possible while I’m over there,” she said.
Overall, Harris said the beauty and history of Ireland will be enough to make her feel at home.
“I’m kind of nervous about being away from my friends and family, but I know I’ll be distracted by all of the new things I’m experiencing in Ireland,” said Harris.
Sometimes, certain students choose to go everywhere. Junior Lindsay Hutchinson chose to set sail with Semester at Sea for an experience like no other.
Hutchinson is an elementary education major at Springfield College. Semester at Sea offers students a four-month tour around the entire world, something that Hutchinson said she could not pass up.
“Coming to college made me want to travel. There’s just so much out there, and I don’t want to pass it up,” said Hutchinson. “I just really need a break from stressing about things, so this is going to let me take my mind off things and just live.”
Hutchinson looks forward to expanding her interest in children and education during field work at orphanages and schools in India, Africa and Brazil. Hutchinson is currently a student teacher at the Kensington Avenue Elementary School in Springfield, and while on her semester at sea, she plans to contact her students to share her experiences through email and photographs.
An endeavor such as studying abroad is nerve-wracking for any individual, but Hutchinson said it’s a good thing. “I don’t really know what I’m nervous about. I know I’m going to miss people,” said Hutchinson. “Not knowing what is going to happen next makes me nervous, but a good nervous, an excited nervous.”
Whether students travel to Ireland, Australia or everywhere, spending a semester abroad is undoubtedly a once in a lifetime opportunity. Those who return to Springfield College after studying abroad have tried to explain their experiences to peers, but words often fall short. The most accurate explanation will always remain abroad.