This summer, University of Mount Union students are studying abroad after the Covid-19 pandemic had canceled summer programs in 2020 and 2021. Students Kat Clason and Urgela Figaro reflect on their experiences in South Africa and France.
By Kat Clason ‘25
I am studying abroad at Stellenbosch University in South Africa. So far, it has been an amazing experience that I know I will never forget! I am going for about a month and taking three classes. Each class is four-to-five days long. The first class I took was on South African political history. It was very interesting to learn because the history is different from a lot of different countries. On the last day, they took us to Robben Island, the island that has the prison where Nelson Mandela spent some of his sentence. This was very cool because the tour guides are ex-political prisoners and tell you their stories. The second class was on the biodiversity of the plants living on the Cape. It was a fun class to take because each afternoon, our class went on field trips to find different species of plants. I also went to a traditional bush doctor for this class, which I thought was very cool. My third class is on HIV and has not started yet, but I’m excited to learn and see what we get to do for it.
Each weekend we go to a different place in South Africa. The first place we went was Cape Town. I hiked Table Mountain this day. The second weekend is a weekend away where I went to a Greek-inspired hotel that is right on the beach. The last weekend, I will be going to Cape Peninsula and Cape Point where hopefully I will get to see the penguins. There are also free days during the week where you can either sign up to do a group activity or find something to do on your own. Some of the group activities include hiking, a safari, pizza and wine, ice-skating, or bowling. They include many free activities and dinners as well that are very fun. These include wine tastings, dance lessons, painting, karaoke and even a Fourth of July party. Overall, this is a great program in a beautiful country.
By Cla Figaro ‘23
My name is Cla Figaro, I am majoring in international affairs and French at the University of Mount Union. I participate in Black Student Union, Sister Circle, and the Regula Scholars Program on campus. This summer I am doing a study abroad program in Lyon, France. In the following paragraphs, I will be giving brief details about what I am experiencing, the classes I am taking, and some of the program highlights. Let us get into it!
I wanted to study abroad in France to improve my French speaking and writing skills and I also wanted to travel outside of the U.S. to experience a different culture. For June and July, I have been taking language courses. The first month that I spent here, USAC (Universities Studies Abroad Consortium) took us on two field trips. We went to Annecy, which is a small French village underneath the Alps known as the “Venice of the Alps” because it has a main canal going through it. I do have to say they have the best gelato I have had in a while! The next place that USAC took us to was Oingt located in the Beaujolais area. We got a quick tour of the village which had a medieval feel to it. Oingt is famous for its wine, so of course, we got to do some wine tasting. We even got to tour a castle on the outskirts of Oingt!
One of my favorite things about studying abroad in Lyon, France is that you cannot get lost in this city. It is easy to navigate around Lyon and the transportation system is good. My next favorite thing is that I have met so many other students of different nationalities such as Italian, Japanese and South Korean. So far, I am enjoying my time in France and honestly, I am not ready to come back home yet. My advice for upcoming students is that if you can study abroad, please do it! It is a formidable experience!