This summer, many Mississippi State University students expanded their education beyond the classroom as they embarked on various study abroad trips. Each trip revolved around a certain subject, and students were able to take a class while also having the opportunity to explore the country they were visiting.
Leif Baranow, a senior majoring in environmental engineering, participated in a trip to Iceland to study alternative energy. The trip was three weeks long. Rather than learning in a traditional classroom setting, the group learned as they travelled.
"It was run by two professors from campus, so we did a bunch of activities and stuff relating to the class, but it wasn't like we were in a classroom. They would give different lectures on the road. I thought it was great because instead of seeing pictures we were actually there looking at it, seeing what we were learning happen in front of us," Baranow said.
Emily Baker, a junior majoring in international business, went to Athens, Greece, where she took a business ethics class. In Greece, they would have classes in the mornings, and the afternoons would be utilized for traveling. One of their favorite daily activities was going on sunset hikes.
"The places we got to go had unbelievable views," Baker said. "It was breathtaking."
One of Baker's favorite parts of her trip was going to the island of Delphi.
"One day me and my roommate took a bus tour into Delphi," Baker said. "The oracle Delphi is said to have lived there in the temple of Apollo. Learning about the mythology mixed with the beautiful view was amazing."
Greece's COVID-19 restrictions were slightly stricter than those in the U.S., and Baker and her group had to wear masks both inside and outside. However, this did not take away from the experience that they had.
"I would definitely recommend Greece to other people. It is a great place for college students to go especially," Baker said. "It was nice learning how to be independent in a city like Athens because it is a very friendly city, and it is very safe as well and has a lot of culture."
Ty Abernathy, a faculty member in the department of counseling educational psychology and foundations at MSU, took a group to Seville, Spain. Abernathy has been taking groups on study abroad trips for years. In 2018 he started a program to go to Vienna, Austria and Prague in the Czech Republic. However, due to COVID-19 those trips were postponed, and Abernathy organized the Spain trip quickly following.
"Several people from the university had to come together to make this particular trip happen," Abernathy said. "It was the first international trip for Mississippi State after COVID-19."
Malerie Millet, a junior majoring in educational psychology, was part of Abernathy's trip to Spain. According to Millet, the trip almost did not happen. However, thanks to Abernathy, MSU and many other people, the trip came together.
The trip worked out fine, and the group was able to spend three weeks in Spain learning about the culture while taking their class.
"One of my favorite things was going to Spanish mass," Millet said. "We didn't understand a thing at all, but it was wonderful to have the experience of being in such a big cathedral and attending mass."
COVID-19 restrictions in Spain were similar to the restrictions in Greece. However, a few days prior to the group's arrival, Sevilla lifted their curfew, and the group was able to see the city come alive.
"You have to go," Millet said. "I'm going to be one of those people who never stops talking about studying abroad. I met and talked with so many people that without that experience I might not have met."
There are study abroad programs for a variety of classes. Abernathy said on the psychology trips they often have not only psychology majors but education majors, biology majors and more.
"Go somewhere, travel," Abernathy said. "You may grow to appreciate your culture and where you live and your way of life in a way that you haven't before. In a few years you will never miss the money you spend to go on one of these trips."
The schedule for 2022 study abroad is still in the works, but students can find more information about study abroad on MSU's website and can also email the study abroad office at email@example.com.