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Priceless Opportunity

Photo from Lisbon Disquiet International Literary Program

Today's Student Spotlight is:
Name: Rebecca Potter
Major: MFA - Creative Writing
Class year: Second year of MFA program - Bluegrass Writers Studio
Hometown: Lawrenceburg, KY

1. Describe your Education Abroad program(s):
This summer, I studied for three weeks in Lisbon, Portugal as part of the residency fulfillment for a MFA in Creative Writing in the Bluegrass Writers Studio. While there, EKU students studied under some big names in the writing community, such as Molly Antopol and Denis Johnson through the Disquiet International Literary Program.

2. Is this a good program for other students in your major?
Absolutely. Students in my program are required to complete a residency component, either on campus, in Lisbon, or a combination of both. Every writing student could benefit from studying and writing abroad.

3. Was this your first time abroad? 
Yes.

4. How do you feel that you benefited from studying abroad? 
I benefited in so many ways, academically and personally. The opportunity to meet and learn with new people in a new place helped me to gain new perspective and understanding, which immediately and profoundly affected my writing. Also, being in a foreign city for more than a quick vacation gave me an opportunity to more fully immerse myself in the culture of Lisbon.

5. How do you think this experience will impact your future plans? 
I will definitely make it a priority to travel more! I can say that studying abroad not only whetted my appetite for travel but also made me more open to living and working overseas--one day.

6. How did the experience differ from your expectations? 
I did not expect our hosts to become our very good friends. I did not expect the locals to be so warm. I did not expect the sights to be so beautiful and to have so much fun. I did not expect to fall in love with Lisbon.

7. What other countries have you traveled to? 
Canada

8. Favorite thing about studying abroad? 
Studying abroad allowed me to focus on my studies in an amazing environment. Not only was I away from the day-to-day cares of home, I was in a place where I could learn more about humanity, culture, and so myself. While all that is true, my favorite part of studying abroad was that my husband was there with me.

9. Suggestions for future students? 
All students should at least consider studying abroad--the educational opportunities afforded by traveling are priceless. For students who have already decided to study abroad, I suggest befriending at least one local and letting them take you to dinner. I suggest getting on a train and going on an adventure. Sit by a river or on a beach or in a park and people-watch. Eat new things. Go to a local festival and dance. Be open to learning in all kinds of ways.

10. Anything you'd like to add? 
I am so grateful to have had to chance to study in such a beautiful place and with such wonderful people. I'd do it again in a heartbeat!

Published on May 15, 2017

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