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Challenge Your Perceptions of the World

Rachel Lachut

Today's Student Spotlight is

Rachel Lachut!

Major: History and English Literature
Class year: Senior
Hometown: Radcliff, KY

1. Describe your Education Abroad program(s): 

During this past summer, I went on the CCSA Scotland program. My class was taught by EKU professor Dr. Resor, and it covered daily life in medieval and Victorian Scotland. During this trip, we had the opportunity to explore numerous castles, houses, museums, galleries to learn how the "real Scotland" of these periods lived. We also had time to explore Scottish cities and enjoy the culture as we so chose in order to gain a greater understanding of not only where we were, but also who we are.

2. Is this a good program for other students in your major? 

This is a fantastic program! The class itself challenged me to think about familiar topics from unfamiliar perspectives and vice versa, while emphasizing the cultural and historical nuances that exist between Scotland and England, as well as the rest of the British Isles. To grow in any academic study or area, it is important for one's perspectives and understanding to be challenged and refined, and studying history in the place it actually happened definitely helps that process.

3. Was this your first time abroad? 

I've had the opportunity to go abroad a few times. When my dad was in the Army, I lived in Germany for three years as a young girl. I also went to Ireland on the 2015 EKU Choir tour, and I went to London and Dublin in Winter 15/16 through another class that Dr. Resor taught through CCSA.

4. How do you feel that you benefitted from studying abroad? 

I definitely grew more confident and sure of myself. As an incoming freshman, I wasn't sure if I was really capable of surviving on my own in any capacity, let alone go on an international adventure. Now, I have the confidence to deal with the challenges that life throws at me and to do the scary things (#adulting) that will benefit me in the ever-evolving adventure of life. I also think that I'm a more understanding person because of my experiences. As someone once said, America and Britain are two countries separated by a common language. Having experienced this, I understand more the value of working to communicate effectively with those who may come from a very different background than myself. Additionally, experiencing exchange rates has made me more conscious of the value of a dollar and being budget conscious.

5. How do you think this experience will impact your future plans? 

I definitely know that I want to help make history accessible to a wider audience. I've always been passionate about history and studying how people, places, things, and events are interrelated. Often, history seems to be taught as a series of events and dates with no real meaning. If I could in some way help convey the thrill of standing where world-changing events took place - whether that be shown in a museum, written in a book, expressed through teaching, or conveyed some other way - I would consider myself fulfilled.

6. How did the experience differ from your expectations? 

First of all, I did not expect Scottish people to actually eat haggis since I thought that it was a more "touristy" thing. It is actually a very common dish. Additionally, I might have expected to hear bagpipes immediately after leaving the airport, which did not happen.

7. What other countries have you traveled to? 

Germany, Austria, France, England, and Ireland

8. Favorite thing about studying abroad? 

I love seeing and experiencing the minor and major differences between cultures. Seeing the differences in geography - like mountainous landscapes and sunsets at 10:30 pm - is also really neat. Most of all though, I enjoy going to locations where so many figures before have walked. I might have shed a tear or two at Stirling Castle.

9. Suggestions for future students? 

Practically, prepare to spend more than you think you will and budget thoroughly. Beyond practicalities, be sure to challenge yourself and your perceptions of the world. Living as a tourist is fun, but it is so rewarding to consider the daily lives of those who live there and travel off the beaten path.

10. Anything you'd like to add? 

Scotland is the most consistently beautiful place I have ever been and I cannot wait to go back! Also, studying abroad is one of the very best decisions I could have made in college. To quote both a shoe company and a well-known actor, "Just do it!"

Published on February 16, 2018

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