Q&A: How Studying Abroad Helped a Student Discover New Passions 

Posted Jun 22, 2023

Each May, Otterbein students have the opportunity to study abroad on one of many different faculty-led travel courses traveling all around the world. Students and faculty experience the culture of a different country first-hand while applying what they’ve learned in the classroom through activities in the chosen country. Academic subjects include art, history, education, and more. 

This year, one of the study abroad courses traveled to Athens, Greece, and Barcelona, Spain, to study art and art history. The trip lasted for two weeks with one week spent in each city. 

Junior Erica Bush, a public relations, journalism and media communication, and health communication major triple major, had the chance to go on this trip and said her experience was one she will remember for the rest of her life.  

What was your favorite part of the trip? 

My favorite part of the trip was speaking to a French woman at lunch after our day trip to see the Oracle of Delphi in Greece. It was so special to have the chance to openly speak to someone from a different country about the differences and similarities between our lives living in two vastly different locations.  

What was your favorite thing that you saw? 

I really enjoyed seeing the Acropolis of Athens in Greece. Hearing our tour guide talk about the world history that had occurred at the very spot I was standing was so surreal. Physically being there has made me want to learn more about its history as I now can visualize exactly what I’d be learning. 

What is a moment of your trip that you will never forget? 

A moment of my trip that I will always remember is when I got off the metro station in Barcelona, Spain, and turned around to see La Sagrada Família directly behind me. Words cannot describe how large, complex, or beautiful this building’s exterior is. I was speechless that I was so close to such an incredible piece of architecture.  

What is the benefit of studying abroad? 

The benefit of studying abroad is simple: the places you see and the things you learn are priceless. Leaving this trip, I have found new passions and interests of mine that I didn’t know existed. In addition to my self-discovery on this study abroad trip, it was amazing to be submerged in a new culture and be able to experience it for myself rather than learn about it in a classroom setting or in a book. Some things you just must see with your own eyes to truly understand. 

What would you say to a student interested in studying abroad? 

Do it! This experience was so positive and has truly shaped my view of life and the world. This trip has taught me so much about art and art history and has inspired me to continue studying both subjects at Otterbein. Knowing what I know now, I would study abroad again in a heartbeat.