Study abroad: The opportunity of a lifetime

Tori Schuller, Staff Writer

Walk around the Linfield University campus in McMinnville, Ore., and you may run into every kind of person imaginable. The 1,500-student population comes not only from all over the country, but the world as well. 

Some came for sports, some came for the nursing program, and some for the location. But all these students have one thing in common: the opportunity to study whatever their heart desires anywhere in the world.

Allison Hmura, a junior at Linfield, is one student who has been able to take advantage of this opportunity. She is currently studying in Vienna, Austria this fall semester. 

Looking over Vienna. Photo by Allison Hmura.

Many study abroad programs here at Linfield let students choose their coursework, but Austria is not one of those. With a schedule full of politics, history, and international relations, the curriculum is designed for a well-rounded experience. 

“I think this has opened my mind to politics,” Hmura said. “Even though it’s not my major I find it very interesting.”

While Hmura gave many reasons as to why she chose to study in Vienna, art was a commonality between most of her answers. Besides the opportunity to play soccer, art was the main reason she chose to attend Linfield, and she felt that she could gain inspiration from the countless museums located in Vienna. 

Some students may have trouble adjusting to their new environments, but Hmura has already found a place she loves. While she has only been in Vienna for a few months, she knows that it was the right decision for her study abroad. 

“I needed a change in my life, and inspiration for my art. I felt that Vienna was the best place to get it,” Hmura said. 

Countryside of Vienna. Photo by Allison Hmura.

On the other side of the study abroad spectrum, there is a large presence of international students here at Linfield. Noor Kahlmann is one of them, an exchange student from the Netherlands.

She is currently studying here for the 2022-2023 school year and shared some of the reasons she chose Linfield as her temporary home. 

Kahlmann is taking a gap year in between high school and university, and with the suggestion of a friend who previously studied at Linfield, decided to come here. The opportunity to participate in Greek life was also a selling point for Kahlmann, as joining a sorority isn’t something she can do at a university in the Netherlands. She has recently pledged with Phi Sigma Sigma.   

Overall, Kahlmann has greatly enjoyed her time here. One thing she greatly enjoys is the flexibility of choosing her own classes and schedule.

“I have enjoyed the whole experience with the liberal arts system because you can choose what you want to do,” Kahlmann said. 

For each student’s study abroad experience here at Linfield, their first round-trip airfare is paid for, something not many universities offer. Laney Green, a current Linfield senior, took advantage of this opportunity when she studied abroad in Galway, Ireland this past spring. 

Since English is one of the more commonly used languages in Ireland, Green did not experience a huge culture shock once arriving. However, she said the largest contrast she noticed were the roommate pairings in her living situation.

“Most students [in Ireland] pick where they’re going to live and then get assigned random roommates. Whereas in the states we’re much more interested in who we’re living with,” Green said. 

The National Institute of Ireland Galway. Photo by Laney Green

Green said that was her first experience in a mixed gender living arrangement as well, something that is not too common in the states. Visiting Galway during a spring semester had always been on Green’s mind, in order not to miss her fall soccer season. 

However, she got the opportunity to play for the National University of Ireland, Galway’s school team, and excitedly shared that they won a championship during her time there.

Studying abroad is an opportunity many college students have, yet every student’s experience may look different. These three different experiences shows how much study abroad can impact a student’s life, no matter where in the world they end up.