BEVERLY, Mass. – Prior to her spring 2017 study abroad trip to Bond University in Australia, Endicott cheerleading rising senior Megan Chaganis (Hampstead, N.H.) had never traveled outside of the United States. Just the thought of spending four months on the other side of the world seemed frightening to her, but if you were to ask Megan now how she feels about that notion she'd sing an entirely different tune.
"Looking back at it now [studying abroad] it was the most rewarding and amazing experience I have ever had. It's an opportunity that you shouldn't pass up. You will learn so much about the world and even more about yourself," said Megan of her time in Australia. "There's so much more to see in this world and studying abroad is a great way to broaden your horizons. I learned that going out of your comfort zone is scary but SO worth it. I have gained so much more confidence and am much more independent after my experience abroad."
|Sunset in Australia.|
MAKING THE MOST OF HER TIME
The amount of activities, places visited, adventures, and experiences compiled by Megan throughout her time in Australia are endless. Feeding a tiger, however, has to be one of the best/unique ones of them all.
"It was so amazing," said Megan. "We were inches away from these beautiful animals... only separated by a chain linked fence."
"While I wasn't in class I was exploring the Gold Coast or traveling. I was able to visit places such as Melbourne, the Sydney Opera House, the Whitsunday Islands, Great Barrier Reef, Steve Irwin's Australia Zoo, and even got to go to Bali," said Megan. "I also went to a new beach every weekend, took selfies with kangaroos, ate acai bowls every day, gave an elephant a bath, snorkeled in the Great Barrier Reef, and climbed the highest building on the Gold Coast. I will forever hold on to every memory made during my time abroad."
"There were so many incredible experiences and memories I could talk about but one of my favorites was visiting the Whitsunday Islands. The water there was the most vibrant shade of blue I have ever seen," said Megan. "I also got to snorkel in part of the Great Barrier Reef and sail through the islands for two days. Whitehaven Beach is one of the most famous beaches of the islands because of its pure white sand. The sand is made of silica so it's literally as white as snow. Laying on the beach there and taking in the views was so surreal. It was magical and an experience I'll never forget."
"Being a nursing major, I was so lucky to have this opportunity here at Endicott to go abroad! I was enrolled in elective classes like Australian Pop Culture and a class where I got to go on different field trips like rock climbing. The structure of the classes and grading scale were very different than what I'm used to at Endicott. We only had a paper, midterm, and final exam in most classes but professors graded much more difficult. Through my classes and professors, I was able to gain more of an insight and understanding of the culture of Australia."
ANY FUNNY STORIES?
"In Melbourne, I went to the final day of the Australian Open. I don't know much about tennis but I thought it would be fun to go. Somehow my friend and I managed to stumble across the court where Rafael Nadal was warming up, not knowing how famous he is or that he was about to play in the championship match. Once we realized how much of a big deal it was we started to freak out. It was such a cool experience and something I'll remember forever."
WHY STUDY ABROAD? – (ENDICOTT STUDY ABROAD WEBSITE)
Following the College's philosophy to "learn by doing" through experiential learning, the study abroad program & its international internships prepare students at Endicott for success by offering alternative academic understanding, social & cultural literacy and life-changing experiences. Through semester-long academic study, faculty-led trips, and/or 3-to-15 week internships abroad, students gain new confidence and self-awareness, and obtain the skills necessary for success in today's economy.
"Globalization is here to stay, and students who want to work in our interconnected global world should study or intern abroad.
Despite the inevitable increasing global competition for jobs, American graduates lack the international experience, language capabilities and cross-cultural communication skills necessary to succeed in the global economy.
Making education abroad a part of their college education is the most effective and accessible means for students to develop needed skills because it pushes a student to get out of her comfort zone to experience another culture, language, environment and education system. It teaches students to appreciate difference and diversity firsthand and enables them to recognize — and then dismiss — stereotypes they may have held about people they had never met.
Learning how to interact with people from other countries and cultures equips future leaders in all sectors to address urgent issues — from curing diseases and finding energy solutions, to fighting terrorism and hunger — shared across borders."
(Photos Credit - Megan Chaganis)