Program and Location:
Galapagos Islands: Equatorial Zoology and Medicine; Galapagos Islands, Ecuador
Why did you choose to study abroad?
I’m a return customer. I was hooked on studying abroad, and just international travel in general, after traveling to Costa Rica the summer of 2012 to study avian biology through the University of Georgia. International coursework allows not only for professional development, but provides lessons in culture and universal human values you can’t learn any other way.
What did you learn about yourself?
Many things, some more personal than others. This trip, in particular, solidified a decision I made last year to drastically change the trajectory of my career- choosing to pursue a career in avian and aquatic animal medicine rather than animal agriculture. Having the opportunity to interact with some much wildlife that is minimally affected by human interactions was incredible, and I am quite confident now that I made the right choice.
What was one of your favorite parts of your program?
Having the opportunity to directly work with Galápagos giant tortoises in a veterinary capacity was incredible. Many people dream of just having the opportunity to see these ancient creatures, much less study them. It was a privilege that I will never take for granted.
What advice do you have to future study abroad students?
Travel with an open mind. You’re likely to learn much more about yourself and the impacts your own culture have had on your personal development than you realize.
Would you do it again?
How were your classes abroad different than if you would have taken them at NC State? Did you take any field trips or do anything outside of the traditional classroom?
Almost all of our “coursework” was experiential. The bulk of what we learned was taught via hands-on experiences (hiking to see animals in the wild, landscapes, man-made structures and capitalizing on “teachable moments”) as opposed to traditional didactic training such as lectures.