Students Take Advantage of Study Abroad Opportunities in January

Posted on December 28th, 2011 by

Photo by Heather Klosterman

This upcoming January, a number of students at Gustavus Adolphus College will be taking advantage of the variety of study-abroad opportunities offered during the College’s 2012 January Interim Experience (IEX). As the new year approaches, a total of 257 students will be packing their bags for their trips across the globe to destinations like Turkey, Guatemala, and Tanzania.

“To travel in this atmosphere is a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity that’s hard to pass up,” senior history major Steven Dow said. “The international experience is unique. It stands out and is something you will never forget.” 

Encouraged by the experience of his roommate, Dow chose to take a sports and leisure course that will be studying in Australia and New Zealand this January. While the two countries have a language and culture similar to the United States, Dow relays that “there are differences they may notice that we may not” and intends to keep alert for dissimilarities between the Oceanic and American cultures. Dow suggests the IEX trip for students that may be intimidated by a semester long trip or who are very involved in extracurricular clubs and activities and hesitant to leave campus.

Senior biology major Kristen Olson has already seen the wonders of Europe and now looks forward to the variety of health facilities Guatemala has to offer. With intentions of applying for medical school after graduating from Gustavus, Olson chose the IEX trip because the semester-long option conflicted with her pre-med requirements.

Photo by Leah Howard

“It is important to step outside of the bubble the United states has and to be knowledgeable about what is out there,” Olson said. “You learn so much about a culture when interacting with the people in the country.”

Sam Hoppe is a sophomore philosophy major who will be taking advantage of a study abroad session that was designed with Curriculum II students in mind. Being involved in many on-campus activities, the semester trips proved a bit too long for Hoppe who will be taking a course on visual arts in Italy and London.

“When you go somewhere new, you realize there is more to the world than this isolated universe we tend to put ourselves into,” Hoppe said.

If the IEX trip goes well he will definitely consider going abroad again during the spring semester of his junior year at Gustavus. Hoppe looks forward to simply being in another culture and eagerly awaits the lure of Classical and Renaissance Era architecture. Additionally, the trip will force students to forge new, close relationships with their traveling companions.

When asked whether or not he would encourage students to take advantage of the traveling abroad options Gustavus has, Hoppe replied, “Absolutely, traveling abroad differs for each student and offers a different college experience. Everyone I’ve met has only positive things to say about studying abroad.”

Not Just For Students

“As a professor I don’t often get to spend a whole day with a class—the experience of being with students and getting to know them well is hard to accomplish in (an on-campus) semester,” Associate Professor of Classics Matt Panciera said.

Photo by Steven Olson

Panciera will be accompanying students on the trip to Italy and London and is looking forward to seeing and hearing from the students about their reactions to experiencing Italy. “I love Italy and want to show it off, introduce it to students who love art of ancient and Renaissance Italy,” he said.

Panciera and students on the trip will be going to Rome, Florence, and Venice—a trio of cities at the heart of the Renaissance movement.

While a semester-long trip may offer more, any study abroad experience provides students with a chance to get to know the people and languages of another culture. “This January we will be living in little apartments in Florence,” Panciera said. “Potentially, I think the most valuable thing that comes from studying abroad is the chance to immerse yourself in the culture and get to know the people—just regular people from a different part of the world.”

Gustavus students interested in learning more about study abroad opportunities should visit the Center for International and Cultural Education, or visit the website at


Media Contact: Director of Media Relations and Internal Communication JJ Akin


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