Not sure what program is right for you? Click Here
CIEE

© 2011. All Rights Reserved.

CIEE Alumni Blog

Back to Program Back to Blog Home

4 posts from February 2016

Alumni Voices: Life Lessons Learned from Studying Abroad

Tyler Davoren, CIEE Study Abroad in Brussels, Belgium, Summer 2014

I won’t attempt to estimate how many times I’ve had to answer the following question since returning from my experience studying abroad in Belgium:

“You mentioned that you’ve studied abroad – tell me about that!”

For months this question stumped me. How could I possibly attempt to do justice to the transformative experience that I gained from living, studying, and exploring in a foreign country? My mind raced into overdrive as I tried to simultaneously explain the places I visited, the lessons I learned, the people I met, and the fun I had. There was simply too much information to squeeze into a concise answer that reflected the depth of my experience. With time and practice, I’ve found my answer and am happy to share it with you here. The following three life lessons learned from studying abroad, coupled with the countless lessons amongst and in between them, helped to mold me into the person I am today. I could not be more appreciative of the opportunity I was given, nor could I be more excited to share my story.

From the first day I set foot in Europe, I was sure that this would be a life-changing experience.

From a developmental standpoint, I could not have picked a better time in my life to study abroad. As a rising senior in college with only a semester left before the real world, I lacked that definitive experience that would differentiate me from the waves of other students graduating later that year. I sought to diversify my identity capital by embarking on an adventure that would challenge me to become a better version of myself. From the first day I set foot in Europe, I was sure that this would be a life-changing experience.  

Within every study abroad experience is a certain required level of autonomy and independence necessary to survive and, ultimately, to thrive. My program masterfully balanced the need for a comfortable environment that provided each student with a firm foundation to build off of with the need for those invaluable opportunities for growth. The possibilities for me to put myself on a path guaranteed for adventure, and ultimately growth, were truly limitless. Some of the highlights of my time in Europe included a four day excursion to Malta, which required extensive planning and hand gestures upon arrival, a group project worked on with three other students from different countries and native languages, and a dynamic internship in which the office vernacular was French. To find success in these roles and, more importantly, to enjoy myself while doing so, required that I adopt a unique type of confidence and swagger, if you will. Studying abroad taught me the value of independence and comfortability in my own autonomy.

Having developed an air of certitude, I realized that every day had equally immeasurable potential to be expanded upon or squandered away. Seemingly trivial decisions that may have been insignificant in the moment proved to be some of the most colorful memories I returned to the states with. Neglecting to wake up 15 minutes early to stop by the coffee shop on the corner would have deprived me of the friendship I struck with the barista. Packing lunch every day so as to intentionally avoid necessary contact with strangers during my lunch break would have limited my opportunity to pick up neat Belgian-French colloquialisms. Opting to watch the evening’s World Cup match in the comfort of my home would have stripped me of the wonderful experience I had exchanging definitions of “home” with some Irish and English fellows I met in the city center. Studying abroad taught me the benefit of avoiding shortcuts to simply get through the day. It may be cliché to say the road less traveled is worth taking, but I consistently found this to be true during my time abroad.

Building off of the idea that shortcuts aren’t always the best route to take, I have to note that the most important lesson I gathered from studying abroad was the importance of living every single minute of every day intentionally. I put this idea to practice by allowing it to guide my decision-making in both mundane and extraordinary situations alike. Living every minute of every day intentionally has ensured that every action I take is guided by the desire to be happy, the desire to be great, or a combination of the two. I had scratched the surface of the idea before but my experience studying abroad gave me the perspective I needed to recognize that time needs to be spent wisely and each day needs to be seized. During my program I was consistently reminded that I might never again find myself with such adventurous potential at my disposal, so I needed to take a carpe diem-like approach to every moment. This disposition returned to the states with me and my mindset has never been the same. I am now far more likely to spend my free time at the gym, reading a book, calling a friend or exploring a town center than I am wasting time away on social media or watching television. Living every day with intention has taught me to enjoy and take more out of life than I ever did before.

Today, I happily work as a Chapter Support Specialist for the national office of Delta Sigma Phi Fraternity where I regularly utilize the skills I gained and lessons I learned from my experience abroad. My line of work necessitates that I maintain habits that promote productive autonomy while traveling and develop meaningful relationships with the individuals and groups I engage with. While I’m on the road, which may sometimes be as long as two to three weeks at a time, I regularly seek out adventure and opportunities to create memories. Since beginning work in June of 2015, I have traveled to 14 states I had never been to before, driven over 20,000 miles, visited five national parks, taken thousands of pictures, met hundreds of incredible people, made memories that will last a lifetime, and lived every day to the fullest—but I couldn’t tell you how many times I’ve said that studying abroad changed my life. Developing comfortability in my own autonomy, avoiding shortcuts whenever possible, and living every minute intentionally has served me well in my time since graduation, and I suspect they’ll continue to do so far into the future.

  Tyler image comp3

Help Us Celebrate 25 Years of Study Abroad in Budapest

This March, CIEE is celebrating 25 years of study abroad in Budapest, Hungary. We are excited to mark this milestone with a 25th anniversary event to be held at Corvinus University in Budapest on March 4, 2016. All CIEE Budapest alumni, current students, and staff are invited to attend!Budapest blog post image compilation

Share Your Story

Did you study abroad in Budapest? What did you love about it? We're gathering alumni stories and messages of congratulations for CIEE Study Abroad in Budapest to mark this important milestone. Send us your favorite memories and photos and you'll be featured on the CIEE Alumni blog as part of a virtual celebration of the anniversary.

Share your story via email at alumni@ciee.org

Please include your name, CIEE program information and year, a photo, and 3-4 sentences in support of study abroad in Budapest.

All messages should be submitted by Wednesday, February 24th.

 

We look forward to celebrating with you!

February Alum of the Month: Dana Roberts

In the fall of 2010, Dana studied abroad in Barcelona, Spain through the CIEE Advanced Liberal Arts program. She is the co-founder of "Plant Based Traveler," an online travel series dedicated to showcasing a vegan travel lifestyle. Back in November we shared her story on the CIEE Alumni Blog and now we are excited to feature her as Alum of the Month! Dana and her partner Lou have been busy working on new content for "Plant Based Traveler" in the new year, including their first vlog and a great video on how to make vegan curry (yum!). Previous vegan travel adventures have included Paris, New York, Lima and Cusco but 2016 is all about Berlin.

Congratulations on a new year of "Plant Based Traveler," Dana! We look forward to more vlogs from you both!

Dana roberts

Alumni Update - February 2016

 

 

NEWS THIS MONTH

CIEE's Effort to Close Study Abroad Gap Gains National Attention

Studying abroad is an amazing experience that every student should have. However, challenges such as cost, curriculum, and culture can prevent some students from doing so. CIEE is rethinking the study abroad model to adapt to those challenges and increase access to study abroad by underrepresented groups, particularly students from minority-serving institutions (MSI). CIEE's efforts have gained national attention and have been covered by sources such as University BusinessUniversity World News, and The Root. Read more about this significant CIEE initiative here.

CIEE Road Show Events Underway for Summer 2016

CIEE staff and representatives from U.S. employers are traveling the globe during this month and the next, interviewing and hiring students face-to-face in their home countries for Work & Travel USA positions for Summer 2016. This month the CIEE Road Show will be in Eastern Europe, hiring in cities such as Kiev, Sofia, Istanbul and Chisinau. Staff and employers will then make their way to Dublin and Manchester - and then they're off to East Asia for more events!

Did you attend a CIEE Road Show and get hired? Tell us about it!

Deadline for Alumni Summer Internship Approaching!

Are you a recent CIEE Study Abroad alum looking for an internship for this summer? Join us at our global headquarters in Portland, Maine and be a part of our global organization through this paid internship opportunity. Learn more and apply soon- the deadline is March 1st!

Apply Today to Become a CIEE Campus Coordinator

CIEE has launched a new division of their Institutional Relations department and is looking for distinguished study abroad alumni who are passionate, outgoing, driven, and want to have fun while spreading the word about study abroad. The full-time, professional role of Campus Coordinator gives recent graduates an opportunity to build upon networking and communication skills developed during their undergraduate years. Campus Coordinators receive extensive training, gain professional experience, and build networks as they contribute to developing outreach strategies.

If you’re interested in learning more about this exciting opportunity, please visit the CIEE Careers Page on our website.


UPCOMING EVENTS

CIEE 25th Anniversary in Budapest

This March, CIEE will celebrate 25 years of study abroad in Budapest, Hungary. There will be an anniversary celebration event at Corvinus University in Budapest, as well as online activities for alumni to celebrate from afar. More details coming soon!

 

 

 


 

ALUM OF THE MONTH 

Dana Roberts

In the fall of 2010, Dana studied abroad in Barcelona, Spain through the CIEE Advanced Liberal Arts program. She is the co-founder of "Plant Based Traveler," an online travel series dedicated to showcasing a vegan travel lifestyle. Back in November we shared her story on the CIEE Alumni Blog and now we are excited to feature her as Alum of the Month! Dana and her partner Lou have been busy working on new content for "Plant Based Traveler" in the new year, including their first vlog and a great video on how to make vegan curry (yum!). Previous vegan travel adventures have included Paris, New York, Lima and Cusco but 2016 is all about Berlin.

Congratulations on a new year of "Plant Based Traveler," Dana! We look forward to more vlogs from you both!

 


@CIEEALUMNI 

From left: CIEE alumni and current students gather in Shanghai for a CIEE Alumni China Chapter event; Cape Town Study Abroad alum Danielle Strandson joins CIEE as the new Alumni Engagement Coordinator; alumni meet in Manhattan for a CIEE Alumni New York City Chapter meeting.

On social media? So are we! Follow us on Twitter or Instagram @CIEEalumni, and join over 20,000 alumni on our Linkedin group. 

Don't forget to update your information to receive important communications and alumni news. 


ALUMNI NEWS  |  EVENTS  |  CHAPTERS  |  CONTACT US

300 Fore St. Portland, ME 04101  |  1.207.553.4000  |  ciee.org/alumni

If you wish to be removed from this group's mailing list, click here