November 18-22 is International Education Week, which is celebrated in over 100 countries around the globe. During this week, we will be highlighting stories from students (and the Dean of Arts, Lesley Cormack!) who have gone abroad as part of their program in the Faculty of Arts.
All interviews conducted by Sherilyn Trompetter, Senior Officer International, Undergraduate Student Services, Faculty of Arts.
Meet Teryn Coley is working towards her BA in Political Science.
Hi Teryn! Where did you go and what did you do?
I went to the School in Cortona, Italy.
At what point in your academic program did you go?
I went in my 5th year at the U of A, 3rd year of my Arts degree.
Why did you go?
I was looking for a way to spice up my last couple extended years of my degree. I figured since I was going to be here a while longer than the peers I had originally started with, I might as well do some extra fun things as well.
What delighted you about your experience?
I've always wanted to go to Italy - it was actually going to be a major stop for my travelling after I finished my degree. But having the opportunity not just to travel to Italy, but to live there for a semester while I also got to experience a unique learning environment was too good to pass up. Being in Cortona was like living in a movie – the people are so warm and welcoming and helpful, the food is amazing, the scenery is fantastic, and the teachers and courses are engaging and unique.
How did the experience influence you?
The experience influenced me in a lot of ways. I've always been interested in travel, but this experience sparked a passion and interest in being abroad that I never expected. It's also a very different lifestyle living in a small Tuscan town, and I was really able to appreciate much slower and relaxed days. I feel like being back home now, I'm always trying to replicate the ways that I spent my time there - and finding better work/life/school balances.
What surprised you when you got back home?
What surprised me most about coming back home was the pace of North American life, and how much I had slowed down while I was away. I've always thought of myself as a very busy-bee type of person, but we had to adjust to things like walking most places, waiting for buses and trains (which in case anyone hasn't been to Italy, is A LOT – no one runs on time there) and having much quieter days around town. Back home, I was so thrown off by rush hour traffic and people driving and rushing everywhere. It was so overwhelming!
What advice would you have for Arts undergrad students who are considering a study abroad option?
The only advice I would give students considering going abroad is to just do it! It's stressful and scary to think about being away for so long, and it can seem like a huge financial burden, but the experiences you will have and lessons you will learn and the people that you will meet will always vastly outweigh any of that. And if you're unsure or afraid of what's out there but are also really interested, there are tons of alumni like us who are dying to tell you about our experiences and help you out.
Check out our amazing Study Abroad programs here!