Michaela McLeod, a sophomore film production major, was sitting on a plane to Paris. She had just said goodbye to her family and was feeling a cocktail of emotions rushing through her body all at once– but as soon as the plane landed, with newfound confidence McLeod walked out, gathered her luggage and took a deep breath. She took one step out the door and didn’t look back. This was just the beginning of a semester filled with traveling, exploring, making new friends, and drinking in all that Paris has to offer.
“I wanted to study in Paris for the language, food, and culture. I would definitely recommend going to study there,” said McLeod.
According to Jodi Hicks, the assistant director of overseas programs at Chapman, now more than ever, students are interested in studying abroad and feel the need to gain the experience of living away from home, which helps them gain life skills as well as becoming culturally-aware global citizens. This year the Center for Global Education added Costa Rica, Israel, Sweden, Morocco and Bulgaria among others to the list and are in the process of getting the word out to students about them.
According to Hicks, European nations have been a favorite amongst students in the past.
McLeod said she would pick the older programs over the new locations because the programs in Europe are more central.
“I wanted to travel around Europe so it makes more sense to me to study in Europe, but if students are more interested in fully immersing themselves in a culture then the new locations would be good,” said McLeod.
According to Hicks, new locations are added ever year at Chapman, sometimes by semester, based on the demand at the time. Sometimes they seek out certain locations based on the requirements students need to fulfill.
Some students, like senior business administration major Emily Cohen, who have visited some of the new locations in the past on vacation are advocates for those that may be contemplating going there to study.
“I’ve always gone to Israel to visit my family, but this past summer I went for birthright, and my experience was incredible. There is so much to see and learn about the country, so much history and natural beauty, the lifestyle is just fun and laid back,” said Cohen.
Avalon Noel, a senior psychology major who completed a semester abroad in Spain, could not go to Costa Rica to study abroad, because at the time it was not open to her major. However she did not regret her choice because speaking Spanish was important to her and Madrid seemed just as good a place to do that as any.
“Madrid is the best city I’ve ever been to. The food is amazing and the timings irregular compared to what I’m used to, but it is just the best city with the best people,” said Noel.
Berit Bontems, a freshman creative producing major, visited the new Costa Rica location and would recommend going there to other students.
“I was completely struck every day with just how green it is. I white water rafted in Type III rivers, zip-lined next to a volcano above treetops and rivers, and travelled by riverboat when there was no other means of transportation to see the turtles come lay their eggs,” said Bontems.
These, among many other new unique experiences, are now open to the Chapman student body.