The study abroad program to Switzerland was everything that I expected and many things I did not expect. Just for reference on what I am taking about, here is the link to the post with info about the study abroad program: The official flyer: #UTampa Travel Course to Switzerland [Spring 2018]
Your can read about our experiences during the program in this blog (Main Author: Marquis Holley, UT ID&T, ‘14): https://utspartansabroad.wordpress.com
Here are a few thoughts on the experience:
- Jetlag sucks and it is important to take it into consideration. When I do this again, I will plan to have very light activities on the first few days.
- It is very different to travel with students that have a high interested on the theme of the program compared to students have some interest. In the group with had a 75% of students with very high interest on the theme of the program. The other 25% were participating mostly for the experience.
- The leadership team of this program are very active individuals that had no problem been on-the-go. It can be challenging to accommodate for others who do things like “nap” or are not very active. If you want to participate in this type of programs or recruit students to participant, make them aware that to make the most out of the experience you will be spending very little time in the hotel room posting on Snapchat.
- Just like with any group, there are students who tend to be more vocal. Therefore, they tend to drive the direction of the group. It is important to give the other students options or opportunities to voice their opinions/choices.
- In making connections or plans to meet with schools, university research groups, or others, it is at times difficult to know how casual or formal the visit will be. Asking for as much information as possible before hand will help give the students context.
- I cannot say enough about my assistant coordinator for the program: Merrie Tankersley. I already miss her! Having a good traveling partner to bounce ideas will make your study abroad program an amazing experience. Merrie was an absolutely joy to be around. I will miss our time together in Switzerland and I look forward to our experience next year in Belgium.
- We organized most of the logistics through a study abroad service provider, CISabroad. As part of that arrangement, we had a on-site representative all the time. We met at the airport in Zurich after arriving in Switzerland, his name is Fred. Fred was honestly the best. He was very resourceful, friendly, and extremely patient.
- The weather was just perfect. We would have made the best out of rainy days in Switzerland but I am glad that every day we were blessed with good weather.
- Although there were some challenges with group dynamics, I was very happy to see that the five girls in our group grew so close together. They were also very inclusive of our male student. Overall, I am glad we had each of them in the group.
- Aside from an strain ankle and a student with a cold, we had no major incidents during the trip. All students were always on time, respectful of the program rules, and participated in all required activities.
- Switzerland is a beautiful country (and pretty much that sums it all). Our side trip to France was a treat. I strongly recommend visiting Colmar, France.
- I am EXTREMELY thankful to every individual and organization that welcomed us during our visit in Switzerland. I plan to spend a good chunk of my pre-departure time at the Zurich airport writing thank you emails.
I am sure there are other comments I want to write about this experience, but this is all I have for now. Here are some of the pictures I captured: