Almost everyone has dreams of going on countless adventures around the world, wandering through exotic places, hiking wild trails, and simply living that Instagram-perfect travel lifestyle. However, for many of us students, it remains exactly that: dreams. Travelling is hard on a college budget, and few of us ever manage to fit it in. But even though it seems impossible, there are students who have made it work! In fact, there are even students who have studied abroad multiple times!
Hannah Solima, an International Relations, French, and German major, has studied abroad an impressive four times. As travelling this much is obviously the peak life choice for college students, Solima has agreed to sit down with Student Voice and share her story.
Q. So, first question: why did you choose to study abroad?
A. “I chose to study abroad, because I love to travel and to learn, and the best way to learn a language or a culture or a state’s political situation is to go there yourself.”
Q. What country did you go to, and why did you choose it?
A. “I have gone to France, Thailand, Senegal, and Israel. I chose France, because I’m a French major, and I love the culture. I chose Thailand, because I had never been to Asia, and I was interested in learning about Buddhism. I chose Senegal, because I love Africa, and I really wanted to be exposed to the French language that is spoken there. I chose Israel, because I support The State of Israel, and I wanted to learn more about the amazing culture, history, and politics of Israel. “
Q. What did you study?
A. “I studied French in France, Culture and Religion (UH 3500) in Thailand, History in Senegal, and Advanced Comparative Politics in Israel.”
Q. What is your favorite memory from there?
A. “I have many favorite memories from each destination/study abroad, but I’ll just choose one memory from Thailand where I got to play, feed, and swim with elephants. That day, though not particularly educational, is one of my favorite memories of study abroad and of life in general, and I wish I could be back there right now!”
Q. Why should other students study abroad?
A. “Other students should study abroad because it opens their eyes to the world beyond the United States. (Even when abroad, it is often difficult to focus away from American culture because of Westernization.) It allows you to connect to a diverse group of people that you may not have been able to connect with otherwise. And, studying abroad puts life in perspective. In Israel, I was able to see smoke rising from a Syrian city and converse with IDF soldiers about their two-year mandatory military service. In Senegal, I learned about children who will walk miles every day from their village just to get clean water. In Thailand, I had to realize what it feels like to have limitations on free speech, because I, specifically Thai citizens, could not speak poorly about the Thai Royalty or I, or anyone else who dares to do so, could be arrested. In France, I got to experience a more socialistic country and compare it to the United States’ capitalism. The best way I can put study abroad is that you learn while having fun and individual growth.”
Q. Any trips you plan on going on next?
A. “Yes! I have a traveling/study abroad fever! I plan on going to Scotland next summer to study international criminal justice, and depending on the dates, I will go to Russia to study Russian politics or Italy to study Green politics/comparative politics.”
Q. Anything else you’d like to say about study abroad?
A. “Go! You never know what you’ll discover!”