I am grateful for the trips that I went on. I visited numerous countries for the first time—these countries were, in the order that I travelled to them: Switzerland, Belgium, Denmark, Hungary, and Bulgaria. Each and every country that I visited offered a new insight into the continent and was unique in its own way, regardless of whether I travelled to it as part of my program or on my own time. Even visits to countries that I had already been to in the past—namely Germany, Poland, France, and Greece—allowed me to gain a fresh perspective on the political, economic, social, and environmental issues that each country faced. The diversity and differences in the ten countries that I travelled to during the past four months have really broadened my understanding of Europe and European affairs—one of the main reasons I chose this study abroad program in the first place. Because of all the travelling that I did this past semester, I have officially travelled to thirty different countries over the course of my entire life.
I am grateful for the classes that I had and the professors who taught them. Many of these classes were on topics that I knew little about at the start of the semester. I knew little about the EU’s policies back in January; now, I have substantial knowledge regarding the breath and depth of the EU’s various policies and policy areas. I knew little about the Black Sea region at the start of the program; now, I have written four short papers about various aspects of the Black Sea region. I knew little about human rights and was uncertain about taking a class on the topic at the start semester; now, I have written a sixteen-page paper on human rights violations in the Philippines and have gained significant insight into the past, present, and future of the global human rights regime. I am also grateful to my major advisor at Bowdoin who encouraged me to take this human rights class in the first place, on the basis that a class on human rights was unlikely to be offered at Bowdoin. Beyond my electives, I am also grateful for my integrative seminar and German class, which provided just the right amount of academic freedom. As biased as I may be, I highly recommend taking the classes that I did to any future participants of the IES Abroad European Union program.
I am grateful for the friends that I made and the time that I spent with them. There are experiences from this program that I will never forget, and it is thanks to the people that I spent them with that I will remember them. These experiences include bonding over environmental policy and lamenting the unavailability of the environmental policy class with other environmental studies majors at the start of the program; enjoying a good meal with people in the Fizz; visiting comic book museums in Basel and Brussels and admiring the beautiful original art; enduring a seven hour bus-ride from Brussels back to Freiburg rife with off-pitch karaoke; staying up all night to go to Basel to see the Carnival of Basel; going to the world-famous Széchenyi thermal bath in Budapest; being stuffed from the platters at the farewell dinner in Sofia; socialising with students from the Environmental Studies and Language Studies programs; annoying my classmates in model EU by vetoing policy proposals; and much, much more.
I am grateful for this program. This was the only study abroad program that I was ever seriously considering as it fulfilled most of what I was looking for in a study abroad program. Given that this will probably be the only semester in which I study away from Bowdoin, I couldn’t have asked for a better one.
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<p>I was born and lived in Hong Kong my entire life before coming to the United States for college. My three favorite things in life are currently politics, comic books, and Kpop, although not necessarily in that order. I like to write, read, draw, and work out in my free time.</p>