Global Engagement Day: Non-Traditional Study Abroad

Another panel that I attended for Global Engagement Day was for non-traditional study abroad experiences, “non-traditional” meaning those to places outside of western and central Europe. I really looked forward to this one because I had been to both Brazil and Zimbabwe with OU and was eager to hear how my experiences compared with others’. Among the panelists, places traveled included Tanzania, Ecuador, Uganda, Israel, and Cambodia. Besides Australia, all of the habitable continents were covered. All of the trips were short-term, mine included, with the exception of my friend Holly’s semester in Ecuador. It was interesting hearing about how different everyone’s trip was, especially in terms of accommodations. In Tanzania, my friend Hannah said that they had to use buckets for showers and use the restroom in the woods. These methods contrasted sharply with the hot showers and zippy plumbing my CCEW team and I enjoyed in our hotel in Bulawayo, Zimbabwe. And I think all of our short-term experiences paled in comparison to the months-long tenure that Holly had in Ecuador, especially since she lived with a host family and spoke Spanish most of her trip. It made me aware of the vast differences in study abroad opportunities that OU offers. It also made me anxious to return to Brazil, Zimbabwe or somewhere else for a longer stint of time–maybe something that a Fulbright could provide!


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