From Seoul to Sweden, students around the globe share experiences abroad

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Rachel Wywoda ’23 has explored Sweden and neighboring countries during her time abroad. (Photo courtesy of Rachel Wywoda ’23)

Bernadette Russo, Assistant Arts & Culture Editor

Around the world, some Lafayette students are taking on longer daily excursions than the walk from Fisher Hall to Farinon.

Rachel Wywoda ‘23 is currently studying in Stockholm, Sweden through the Danish Institute of Study Abroad (DIS). Despite doing no prior research on the city before arriving, she quickly became infatuated with the area. 

“It’s a really awesome city. I would totally live here as a young adult,” Wywoda said.

As a biology major and women’s, gender and sexuality studies minor, Wywoda is able to take courses in the sciences and the humanities through DIS. One such class she finds particularly interesting concerns human trafficking in Europe.

Outside of classes, Wywoda has been able to explore Sweden and the islands that make up the archipelago of Stockholm. She has gone on boat tours, visited the Sweden Royal Palace and traveled outside the country to Brussels, Copenhagen and Finland. 

One of Wywoda’s favorite things about Sweden is how comfortable she feels traveling throughout the country.

“I feel super safe here. I have no problems walking around by myself taking public transportation at night,” Wywoda said. 

Through all of these excursions, Wywoda feels like she is maturing into a more independent and self-sufficient person. 

“It’s my first time in Europe, so I feel like I’m experiencing all these new things on my own,” Wywoda said. “I feel like this is a nice step into becoming an adult.”

Teniola Bakare ’23 has not been able to travel outside of Seoul yet, but she is looking to explore more of South Korea in the future. (Photo courtesy of Teniola Bakare ’23)

International affairs major Teniola Bakare ‘23 currently resides on the other side of the world, studying abroad in Seoul, South Korea through the Council of International Educational Exchange.

Bakare has been in South Korea quarantining and settling in for a few weeks; her classes did not begin until March 2. Much to her dismay, Bakare’s classes are mostly virtual for the semester. 

“On the bright side, this means I can take class from anywhere in Seoul, so I’ll be using that opportunity to hit up cafes and libraries all over to have class in,” Bakare wrote in an email.

After being released from quarantine and the week before classes began, Bakare explored the city and became acquainted with the wide variety of food and nightlife that Seoul has to offer.

“It’s fun to be in a big city and meet other college-aged people rather than only having people from your school to be around…It’s been awesome making friends that live all over America and sharing this unique experience with them,” Bakare wrote. 

Jonathon Cresson ’24 traveled to Venice, Italy during his free time abroad. (Photo courtesy of Jonathon Cresson ’24)

For sophomore engineering students, the spring semester is the ideal time to go abroad before courses begin to pick up in later college years. Mechanical engineering major Jonathon Cresson ‘24 has been taking advantage of this opportunity through his time in Bonn, Germany through Lafayette’s engineering program. 

Cresson has been studying German since the sixth grade. Although he has traveled to Germany in the past, he is looking forward to getting the full experience during his four-month-long stay. 

“It’s very nice to finally be here for an extended period of time,” Cresson said. “I’m soaking up so much more German.”

With his free time on the weekends, Cresson and his friends have been able to tour various places in Europe such as Venice, Italy and Strasbourg, France. They have also enjoyed the diverse nightlife scene in the city of Cologne, which is a 20-minute train ride away from Bonn. 

Through all of his excursions, Cresson often reminisces about what his friends back at Lafayette would be up to compared to his own experiences. 

“It’s very frequent for us to figure out what time it is on the east coast and think, if I was at Lafayette right now, I’d be going to the library or having dinner with friends,” Cresson said. “And then I’d look at where we are now and be like, ‘Oh, I’m on the Grand Canal of Venice having this beautiful view and everybody is still sleeping.’”

Jenna Herzog ’24 advanced her Spanish skills through studying in Madrid. (Photo courtesy of Jenna Herzog ’24)

Meanwhile, chemical engineering major Jenna Herzog ‘24 has been exploring Madrid, Spain. Even before coming to college, Herzog knew she wanted to study abroad and experience culture outside of her small hometown in New York. Given that she has studied Spanish since elementary school, she thought Madrid was the ideal place for her.

“Growing up in a small suburban town, you don’t realize how little there is to do there,” Herzog said. “Here, there’s just an insane amount of opportunities every single second of the day. Public transportation is so easy and clean, and it has been really fun to learn and know my way around.”

One of Herzog’s favorite things about Madrid is the city’s capacity for endless activities and explorations, along with its proximity to other European countries. 

Herzog felt the vastness of possibilities in her reach during a hike in the Sierra de Guadarrama mountain range north of Madrid. Atop the mountains, she realized that she could experience both the beauty of the outdoors and the bustle of the city.

“All of a sudden, we were all the way up in the mountains and watching the rest of the city beneath us,” Herzog said. “It was a really opposite perspective of what we had before, but eye-opening to see all of the things we can do.”