Thursday, February 10, 2011

Juniors return from Norway and Ireland

By Jenna Capelle
Feature Editor

Two students at Saint Mary’s University had the opportunity to study abroad in Norway and Ireland last semester.

SMU junior, Tina Swanberg is majoring in political science and sociology. For first semester, she enrolled with the HECUA study abroad program at the University of Oslo in Norway. The HECUA program is dedicated to promote social change and political activity, said Swanberg.

Through the program, Swanberg took a field trip to Stockholm and Copenhagen and visited political youth groups in both cities. The students also had the privilege of meeting two political parties after a recent election.

Swanberg learned about the culture of Norway with other international students. Her roommates, known in Europe as “flat mates”, were from all corners of the world, literally. She had two flat mates from Norwegia, one from China and one from Germany. In addition to Norway, Swanberg visited Holland and Portugal with friends.

Studying abroad with the HECUA program is highly recommended by Swanberg. “No matter how much money it costs, it’s the most worthwhile thing you’ll do,” said Swanberg. “They say, ‘just do it’ for a reason.”

Chris Rice is a junior at SMU who studied abroad at the National University of Ireland in Galway, Ireland last semester. He took science classes that transferred over for his major in environmental biology.

Rice decided at the beginning of the semester that he wanted to immerse himself in the Irish culture. He joined the soccer and surf club where he met native Irish friends. Despite the cold water, he loved to surf.

Even more adventurous, Rice and his friends crawled down a crevice of about 1,000 feet on the Aran Islands. They held onto ropes for security and saw sheep bones on the climb down before reaching the ocean.

Not only did he visit the cities of Dublin and Limerick, but also ventured out of Ireland to see England, Italy and Scotland. Rice coordinated with the SMU Spain students, Heidi Loeffler and Valerie Ross, to visit the SMU students studying in London. He enjoyed the “Winona reunion” that occurred in Europe.

Before studying abroad, “Students should research what they want to get out of the trip,” said Rice. “Your semester will be more rewarding if you get involved and meet new people.”

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