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Don't Be Afraid To Get Out There

Don't Be Afraid To Get Out There

This Week's Student Spotlight is Lauren Shepherd!

Major: Child Psychology
Class year: Junior
Hometown: Paintsville, KY

1. Describe your Education Abroad program(s):
This summer I studied in Florence, Italy. It was a month long study abroad experience. My Education Abroad program was two classes! One was in women and gender studies while the other was in travel photography. One of my professors was from EKU and the other was an Italian that worked at Accademia europea di Firenze. I was able to study gender through art and learn more about creating art myself. My understanding of the world around me has grown immensely in many different areas. I was also able to study abroad with my boyfriend, Austin Yowler.

2. Is this a good program for other students in your major?
Yes! As a psychology major it's always important to learn new perspectives in order to understand everyone around us. As a child psychology major, it's important to learn where we, as a society, fall short so we can change these ideas or behaviors for our children. Personally, I'm interested in working as a school psychologist abroad, so this program definitely gave me insight of different cultures and what to expect when being so far away from home.

3. Was this your first time abroad?
Yes! This was my first time flying, riding a bus, riding a tram, riding a train, boat, you name it.

4. How do you feel that you benefitted from studying abroad?
I have gained so much confidence in myself. I have experienced different cultures. I've made connections and friendships with people in another country. I've broadened my understanding for other's feelings. Not only all of those wonderful things, but I learned what I wanted to do with my degree and my future.

5. How do you think this experience will impact your future plans?
Like I mentioned before, this experience has influenced me to obtain at least a Master's degree and figure out how to work abroad. I met teachers on my trip who told me you can contract with schools for two years at a time and move around to different countries while doing something you're passionate about. I've also been interested in going home and working diligently on learning another language.

6. How did the experience differ from your expectations?
I honestly didn't know what to expect from the courses. I spent more time trying to imagine what it was like to fly on a plane! Which wasn't bad at all and I found myself excited to board the next flight.

7. What other countries have you traveled to?
Before my classes started I was able to visit Amsterdam! Then I made my way to Florence, Italy. I visited many cities in Italy such as Pisa, Rome, Cinque Terre, Venice, Verona and Milan. I also visited Switzerland and Austria while in Europe!

8. Favorite thing about studying abroad?
Traveling. Also the food but traveling has stolen my heart. I stayed a month after my classes ended and I was planning my next trip back before I left. I loved experiencing new places and learning which ones I liked more or less and why. Different places have different foods that they're known for. I also really enjoyed the train and bus rides between those places.

9. Suggestions for future students?
Do not let yourself think you can't afford to study abroad!! I thought that for years until some of my friends started getting into different programs across the globe. I've worked ever since I was old enough to have a job and thought I couldn't afford to do something like this. I was able to obtain scholarships that were enough to cover my entire program fee and I saved enough to live in Europe for two months. It is possible and affordable!

10. Anything you'd like to add?
Don't be afraid to get out there! I was super nervous and anxious about my trip but it's normal to feel that way. Studying abroad is such a beneficial experience and it will leave you feeling accomplished and a different view of the world and yourself.

Published on September 06, 2017

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