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The Lafayette

The Oldest College Newspaper in Pennsylvania

The Lafayette

The Oldest College Newspaper in Pennsylvania

The Lafayette

Checking in on Lafayette’s globetrotters

Each of the students appreciated the easy access to exciting destinations. (Photos courtesy of Pacey Ely ‘26, Sophia Harrill ’26 and Harvest Gil ‘25)

Traveling around the world is simply a dream for many, but Lafayette students can make those dreams a reality through study abroad programs. The Lafayette checked in on several of those students to see how their experiences have been so far this spring.


As an engineering major, Pacey Ely ‘26 was attracted to the idea of studying abroad his sophomore year — an opportunity usually afforded to upperclassmen. Lafayette’s partnership with Saint Louis University’s Madrid campus provided the opportunity for a change of scenery. 

“It provides a similar education to what we would get at Lafayette and [I am] able to take real engineering courses here in Madrid,” Ely said.

Ely has enjoyed the chance to go on faculty-led excursions.

“The first week we were here, we did a tour of downtown Madrid and went to a ‘mercado’ and did stuff like that to get used to Spanish culture,” Ely said. “We do activities together as a class that help us experience Spanish culture, but also bring us closer together as a group.”

Ely highlighted Madrid’s accessibility and public transport, as it has afforded him more freedom of movement than Lafayette.

“I feel like here, I have a whole city at my disposal — with any swipe of my metro card I can get wherever I want, so I really enjoy that,” Ely said. “If I decide I’m going to go study in a cafe half an hour away, I can just do it and it’s cool.”

“If you have the ability to study abroad, I would definitely take that opportunity,” Ely continued. “It’s something you really won’t get to do again in your life, or not to this extent, to live in a country for months like this.”


Lafayette’s engineers, like chemical engineering major Sophia Harrill ’26, also have the choice to study in Bonn, Germany.

Harrill enjoys the pace of her courses, noting that the classes have a different style than those at Lafayette. 

“Classes here are a different type of difficult,” Harrill wrote in an email. “They aren’t as challenging, simply because the content is more free-thinking, so we don’t have as many exams, but we do have a lot of creative assignments that are different from what I am used to.” 

Students in the Bonn study abroad program are afforded lots of independence as they commute to campus daily — an aspect Harrill appreciates. 

“So far, I’ve done so much traveling, which has been wonderful,” Harrill wrote, lauding the ease of traveling across borders. “So far, I’ve been to 8 countries and museums have student discounts[.] I’ve taken advantage of those and visited multiple museums and exhibits.”


Geology major Harvest Gil ‘25 has wanted to go to Australia since she was young, which made studying abroad at James Cook University’s Cairns campus perfect. 

Gil mentioned that taking a geology course in Australia is similar to Lafayette, although she prefers Lafayette’s professors and offerings. 

“We go out into the field and we actually have a few trips out in Southern Australia where we’re taking soil and we’re doing a lot of tests on the soil to understand differences between the landscapes,” Gil said. “It’s very similar to what we do in the States, but different because the soil [and landforms] are different.”

In fact, Gil spends lots of time outside the classroom, especially since most of her lectures are recorded to be watched online.

“Forty percent of the time, I’m studying and researching on my own, which is very time-consuming, but it’s a little less time-consuming than being in class all day like in the States,” Gil said.

Gil has enjoyed the experience of coming to Australia on her own. She is currently one of just two Americans studying at James Cook. 

“It’s just really nice meeting new people that aren’t from where I come from,” Gil said. 

Most of all, Gil is excited about all the nature surrounding her. 

“My school is in the rainforest and it’s a 10-minute drive to the beach,” Gil said. “It’s literally just insane. I love it.”

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About the Contributor
William Gutiérrez, Staff Culture Writer
Virginian, Directioner and Hana's enthusiast. In that order.

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