Study Abroad

Taking your studies to other countries lets you see the world with your own eyes and encourages you to gain a global perspective. Read student testimonials below about studying abroad in the Women’s and Gender Studies Program.

Mexico

Anne Ballard studied at the University of Querétaro. "The skills that I gained were monumental. I was thrown into a world so different from mine, yet the people I met made it feel so similar," she said.

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“I studied abroad in Querétaro, México. I had the time of my life and it has changed me forever. I attended the University of Querétaro, where my professors and the local students only spoke Spanish.

I adapted in this unfamiliar environment by letting go and being open-minded. I tried everything I could, from cow eyes to lamb heart. I found that adapting to another culture meant just living in it, loving it, and trying it.

Give it your all and you’ll get all out of it. Every day, I could see how I had grown and how I had changed. Every day, I surprised myself.

At specific times it was noticeable that my surroundings took me out of my comfort zone. One example is the comments I received from men. It did not matter who I was with, or how fast I was walking, men would yell things at me.

At first this made me not want to go out alone, but with time I realized I should not feel threatened, because they shouted at everyone. It was part of daily life.

I think this is one of the secrets of the world: We should not just tolerate one another, we should respect and accept one another. My experience, studying abroad in México was one that changed my life forever.” –Anne Ballard 

London

Jane Berkman studied at the London Metropolitan University. “I always knew that I wanted to study abroad,” she explained. “I felt like it would be such an important part of my college education for me to see what the world looks like from outside the US.”

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“I studied in the North London Borough of Islington, at London Metropolitan University. We are so central, so dominant a country, and I was curious to find out what the US, the most powerful country in the world, looked like from the outside. 

When I was choosing a location for my study abroad experience, I originally wanted to go further outside of dominant culture, but given my interest in women’s studies, I found that London was a great option. I love big cities and London is so cosmopolitan that I felt like the cultural diversity would be enough to give me some very new experiences.

While I was there, I took three women’s studies courses and one psychology course. The psychology course was similar to the ones I had taken here, but the women’s studies courses were really different and interesting. I was curious to see what feminism looked like in a different culture with a different history.

As for the classes themselves, the psychology class mostly consisted of English students, and in Women’s Studies some were English, but many were from other countries. The women I met were from countries like Trinidad and Tobago or Namibia, or Germany.

The building I lived in was a renovated women’s prison which now resembles an apartment complex. The university was just down the block, as was the nearest underground station, Holloway Road, and the street was lined with cafés, off-license (convenience stores), and shops with groceries and clothes.

It was such an enlightening experience to begin to imagine another way of life, I actually think that the government should pay for study abroad programs as part of normal school funding. Even at Northern Arizona University, many of the programs are more affordable than people tend to think.

Programs that are listed as “exchange” programs allow students to pay university tuition to cover the costs of the international university tuition and the university will even accept tuition waivers that a student can normally use towards tuition and fees.

I expected to come back with an armory of anti-American sentiments, but I came to appreciate some of the freedoms we have. Now I know that there is no place else I’d rather live, and I would not have said that before I studied abroad. I really do feel at home in the US.”

-Jane Berkman

New Zealand

Kristin Cook studied at the University of Waikato in New Zealand. She said, “Women’s studies students often think that we’re the only ones who do feminism. It’s vital to go to a place where you can see that people do feminism in ways we might sometimes never even consider doing.”

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“The way courses are set up at Waikato is night-and-day to how it is here. I didn’t have nearly as much ‘busy work’ and they focus much, much more on lectures than discussions.

Life in New Zealand certainly isn’t the same as life in the US is, but kiwi-culture is so fun and laid back that you really get into the swing of things easily, and once you do, you’ll have an experience that you’ll never have anywhere else. I mean, I went bungee jumping and I’m afraid of heights! But that’s what you do in New Zealand; it’s an adventure capital.

I took three women’s studies courses. They don’t talk about theory in the same way we do; they have a broader standpoint from which they work. It’s not that theory isn’t important, but the perspective is more clearly blended with activism. There you talk about the issues. They like talking about politics and even sports, and bring them into classroom discussions.

Women’s Studies students often think that we’re the only ones who do feminism. It’s vital to go to a place where you can see that that people do feminism in ways we might sometimes never even consider doing. The rhetoric you’re using, the opinions you’re hearing, are things you’ve never think of on your own. You see things and do things you’d never think you’d do.”

-Kristin Cook