IES Abroad: As an undergraduate at the Wittenberg University, what inspired you to study abroad in Freiburg, Germany? Was this your first time traveling abroad?
Stacey Abella (SA): I first became fascinated with Germany when I attended Wittenberg University. Our sister city, Lutherstadt Wittenberg [Germany], was offering a custom-designed, six-week summer program, exclusively for Wittenberg University students. The program, which I took between my freshman and sophomore year, was a great introduction to studying abroad. After that summer, my friend Heather (Ransom) Bodle (who also went on the Lutherstadt Wittenberg program) and I decided to sign up together for our junior year abroad. We wanted to go to a different part of Germany and experience university life there. The IES Abroad program provided just the opportunity we sought: administrative and logistics support, classes that could translate easily into a U.S. transcript, placement in student housing with local students, and the chance to take classes at the local university, Albert-Ludwigs-Universität.
IES Abroad: What inspired you to write your book Secrets from My Travel Diaries?
SA: Studying abroad was a pivotal time in my life. It meant taking that first step out on my own, prior to graduating that following year. I journaled throughout my study abroad. Writing helped me make sense of all that I was experiencing – and even then, I dreamed that someday I would turn it into a book. In late 2021 I left corporate America to work full-time on my coaching business. Shortly thereafter, I felt a stirring to seek out my diaries again. Reconnecting with my study abroad experiences reignited an entirely new adventure, which ultimately became Secrets From My Travel Diaries: How One Burnt Out Executive Reignited the Adventurer Within.