The study abroad experience explored

Valerie Gantert studied in Copenhagen, Denmark, during her sophomore year. photo by Valerie Gantert
Valerie Gantert studied in Copenhagen, Denmark, during her sophomore year. photo by Valerie Gantert
Valerie Gantert studied in Copenhagen, Denmark, during her sophomore year.
photo by Valerie Gantert

For many, the opportunity to travel to a foreign destination is a rare one.

Every year, hundreds of Bradley students choose to study in another country. These trips may be short January term and May term classes or full-length courses spanning an entire semester.

This year, sophomore public relations and social work double major Misa Nagase chose to spend the spring semester in London. She is currently studying at Richmond International University.

“I really wanted to study abroad because I wanted to expand my worldview,” Nagase said. “I think it’s extremely important to be engaged and immersed in other cultures in order to be a more sympathetic, aware citizen.”

Nagase has had opportunities to visit a famous vintage market, explore an underground art scene, dine at new restaurants and more. She said she interacts with locals on a daily basis because her school is immersed in the local community.

“I have always been fascinated with British culture,” Nagase said. “Even though it is an English-speaking country, I’ve already been surprised and delighted to see how much of a culture shock there is. From slang to different customs, there has been so much to learn, and I’m excited to continue learning about British culture.”

Nagase said she has always wanted to study abroad in London and found that there are many opportunities to experience British culture within the city.

“I chose to study in London because I have always been fascinated with British culture. Even though it is an English speaking country, I’ve already been surprised and delighted to see how much of a culture shock there is,” Nagase said. “From slang to different customs – i.e. tipping, hand gestures, even the way you cross streets – there has been so much to learn, and I’m excited to continue learning about British culture.”

One of the biggest benefits of studying abroad is getting a chance to escape the “Bradley Bubble,” according to Nagase.

Misa Nagase is currently spending a semester in London at the Richmond International University. photo by Misa Nagase
Misa Nagase is currently spending a semester in London at the Richmond International University.
photo by Misa Nagase

“Honestly, it’s very different from the Bradley experience. I definitely feel the ‘Bradley Bubble’ when I am at [Bradley], and that is something that isn’t felt at all while in London,” Nagase said. “My school is very immersed in the local community and also very friendly with locals. I don’t get as many opportunities to visit locals in Peoria, whereas in London it’s extremely easy.”

To help students plan their trips abroad, the Study Abroad office employs two interns. Junior health science and psychology double major Valerie Gantert studied in Copenhagen, Denmark, during her sophomore year.

“It’s one of those experiences that only comes once in a lifetime, and I knew I could not pass it up,” Gantert said. “Study abroad helped me become more independent, taught me new morals and gave me a home across the world. I would recommend study abroad to any and every student.”

Administrative Coordinator for Study Abroad Kathy Stinson said that students often discover independence through navigating bus systems, managing a foreign currency or speaking a different language. Students are allowed to travel around the city they are studying in, as well as visit neighboring countries.

“The number one thing that we hear from students, whether they do short-term or semester study abroad, is that they find it to be life-changing,” Stinson said. “They have a perspective of the world and of themselves that they never dreamed possible.”

For students who have had the chance to study abroad, it’s an experience they said they would recommend to anyone.

“I would recommend study abroad to any and every student.” Gantert said. “I really believe it should almost be a requirement because it changes your perspective on everything. Study abroad helped me become more independent, taught me new morals and gave me a home across the world.”