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Shelby Elwell Catches Travel Bug From Study Abroad Experiences

Shelby Elwell looks out at the ocean during a study abroad trip to Sydney, Australia.


BEVERLY, Mass. – Endicott women's soccer rising senior Shelby Elwell (Litchfield, Conn.) has two priorities as her summer winds down – preseason camp for the Gulls' 2017 campaign, and planning out her next trip overseas. 

"If you asked me in high school where I saw myself in four years, I would have never said that I would be traveling the globe," said Elwell. "As of now, I am just counting down the days to when I can return." 

Elwell's first-ever trip abroad came during her freshman year at Endicott when she traveled to Leysin, Switzerland to study hospitality and tourism for three weeks. Since then, Elwell has been to Athens, Greece as part of another study tour during her sophomore year, and most recently to Sydney, Australia for her junior year spring semester trip. 

Other places Elwell has traveled to are the Outback, the Gold Coast, Melbourne, Whitsunday Islands, and New Zealand. Because of this, Elwell now has friends from several countries including Norway, Germany, China, Malaysia, France, New Zealand, Australia, and more due to studying at the International College of Management (ICMS) in Sydney along with her other study abroad experiences. 

Now, her urge to travel is even greater than it ever was because of her incentive to visit new places, and reconnect with lifelong friends from overseas. 

"Coming from someone who started studying abroad freshman year, I would absolutely recommend it. Not only is it an opportunity to learn about and appreciate a location and culture that you have never experienced before, but it allows you to make connections and friends with people from all over the world," said Elwell. "Also, for those who have never traveled outside of the country, you are unaware of what's out there. That was me my freshman year, and once you go, it's hard not to catch the travel bug. So believe me, when people say studying abroad changes your life, it is not an exaggeration."


"I would have to say the biggest lesson I learned is to surround yourself with new people and do things that put you out of your comfort zone. It's easy to stick with the people you came with, but by putting yourself out there and meeting new people, you open up so many new doors of opportunity," said Elwell. "Also, don't be afraid to travel alone. At the end of the semester, I ended up extending my trip to travel to New Zealand by myself, and it was one of the best experiences of my life. By traveling alone, you are put out of your comfort zone and are forced to meet new people, whether that be in your hostel, on a tour, or even at the top of a cliff you are about to jump off! Overall, after coming back, that is the best advice I can give anyone who is about to go abroad." 


"I would have to say that my favorite experience was traveling to the Whitsunday Islands with my travel buddy, Katherine Walter, who also traveled with me to Switzerland and Greece. We spent the weekend sleeping on a sailboat, sailing, and snorkeling around the Whitsunday Islands with a group of travelers from all over the world," said Elwell. "We also got to sail to Whitehaven Beach (famous for the swirling white sands) where we swam in the clearest water and walked on the whitest sand I had ever seen. The sand was made of pure silica, which means it didn't retain heat and was an excellent exfoliate! Each day we ended by watching the sunset over the water and getting to know each other over dinner on the boat, while we looked over pictures that were taken of our snorkeling adventures that day. After our two days in the boat were over, we headed back to Airlie Beach where we spent one more night in a hostel so we could do some more exploring and spend more time with people we met on the boat. That day we got off the boat we actually ended up on spontaneously going skydiving! Needless to say, it was one of the best weekends of my entire life." 


"While I was there, I filled my course load with four core classes including Wine Tourism, Event Production and Design, Sustainable Tourism, and Global Trends in Hospitality. I really enjoyed the style of classes because of the emphasis on hands on projects and class excursions that were applicable to real world industry experience," said Elwell. "Some of my excursions included visits to the Hunter Valley Winery for Wine Tourism, Sydney Props and Miramar Gardens for Event Production and Design, and the Taronga Zoo for Sustainable Tourism. My favorite project was definitely for Event Production and Design, where we had to pitch an event for a product launch to the actual Fujitsu Body Cam Company.  The pitch was worked on throughout the duration of the course and presented as our final to a panel of the company managers. I liked the fact that it was a real life situation, because it helped me to experience the pressure of pitching to a client that I will be experiencing when I eventually have to pitch events in my future career. The scheduling of my classes was a little different than I was used to because I only had classes on Wednesday and Thursday's, but each class was four hours long. While this made for long class days, it allowed me to do a lot of traveling on my days off. Also, there was not a ton of small assignments, but rather just one or two large projects or presentations for each class, which increased the importance of each assignment. Overall, I really enjoyed the education program at ICMS."


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." 

The Endicott Experience feature aims to highlight the entirety of the student-athletes' experiential learning journey throughout their academic careers. The student-athlete at Endicott is afforded the same opportunities as the general student population at the College as it relates to internships, study abroad, and postgraduate career pursuits. This philosophy mirrors the mission statement of the College which every student is encouraged to take intellectual risks, pursue scholarly and creative interests, contribute to the community, and explore diverse career paths. Read more Endicott Experience features by navigating the links below.   

INTERNSHIP: Fall 2015 | 2014-15 Internships Fall 2016 Semester-Long Gulls "Learn By Doing" On Winter Break | 442 Student-Athletes Complete Internships During 2016-17 Academic Year
STUDY ABROAD: Studying Abroad as a Student-Athlete at Endicott | James Dwyer Focuses on Opportunities Abroad in Switzerland with Les Roches Global Hospitality | Endicott Student-Athletes Study Abroad in Asia | Holly Erbe Studies Abroad in London, Paris, Amsterdam | Andrea Courtemanche Gains New Perspectives Through Study Abroad Trip | 
ACADEMICS: Emily Sharpe and Eric Owens Balance STEM and Sport at Endicott | Kendra Walters, Creating Her Own Happiness Through Art at Endicott
CAREER OUTCOMES: Internships Lead To Career Outcomes | 2015 Graduates Find Immediate Success in Job Market

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(Photo Credit - Shelby Elwell)