Caitlin Hensley - Program Participant

Why did you decide to study abroad?

I decided to study abroad because I was able to visit several countries in Europe for two weeks in high school and loved the abroad feeling. I knew once I was in college, I wanted to go again and made sure to do it!

Why did you choose your program?

I chose Discover Abroad because, quite frankly, it was the only program that went to New Zealand and Australia in the entire study abroad fair at my university.

What makes the program you participated in so interesting?

My time abroad in New Zealand and Australia was interesting due to all the things we were able to participated in. The most interesting and unique thing we did was interact and spend a few days with the Maori people of New Zealand and the Aboriginal people of Australia. Learning about not only the individual, but their beliefs and culture as well.

What is the best thing about your program that future participants need to know?

The study abroad program opened my eyes to so many things. It made me appreciate the land surrounding me so much more, and to pay more attention to ways to conserve it. Each location that Discover Abroad takes their students is unique in its own way and affects each person differently. Your perspective of various aspects of life will change forever by just spending a few weeks abroad or even a few months. It's truly a life changing experience.

What's one thing you would have done differently?

The only thing I would have done differently is record more in my journal for each day. I began to start a daily journal, but got caught up in work and failed to continue to write in it. I know there are memories that I might have forgotten and keeping up with the journal would have secured every memory forever.

Now that you're home, how has study abroad impacted your life?

Study abroad has impacted my life in a variety of ways. I am so much more aware of the world I'm living in, and how blind I was to different issues not only in my town, but in the world. I studied animal behavior and sustainability, so I was able to learn about just how important recycling is, the way the world is changing and how my efforts of properly placing trash in the correct bin and littering can affect places halfway across the world. In the Maori culture, they value the land they stand on, because without the appreciation for the land there would be no individual to appreciate it. You are who you are because of the area you grow up in and travel to and from, so recognizing the beauty of the earth is truly humbling. Stepping foot back on the U.S. soil from my amazing trip was the first step I took in bettering myself and not only the way I treat the earth, but my efforts to conserve it as well.