ART 297: Sydney, Winter 2016-2017
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Kirsten Reilly

Major: Economics, Advertising
Hometown: Erie, PA

How did you learn about this opportunity?

I first learned about this enrichment experience from a listserv email. The email contained information regarding the information session and the application process. I was then able to apply and eventually be accepted into the program.

Tell us a little bit about your experience.

Visiting Sydney, Australia was one of the most enriching experiences of my entire life. Throughout our coursework, we explored different forms of art: music, theatre, and street art. We visited numerous museums, met with locals that were incredibly passionate about their city, and took in the sites as genuine explorers. Because this course was centered around having a true Australian experience, we spent time in the surrounding neighborhoods to fully grasp the culture. We also met with numerous indigenous representatives to garner a deeper understanding of the country’s history of colonization. My experience opened my eyes to a part of the world so different than my own, and I could not be more thankful.

"My experience opened my eyes to a part of the world so different than my own, and I could not be more thankful."

How did this experience impact you academically?

I am a huge believer in the idea that sometimes the best learning experiences come from outside of the classroom, and this study abroad experience proved that to be completely true. Academically, I was able to prepare myself for travel with our coursework of articles that put our trip in a historical context. I was able to read about the significance of the places we would be visiting and the people we would be meeting in order to open my mind to this experience. This proved to be incredibly beneficial to my travels because it gave me a supportive base to my out-of-the-classroom learning. I was able to better process the objectives of the course abroad because of my academic work beforehand, and this proved to help me synthesize ideas and concepts more effectively when completing the rest of the course work.

What are your career goals and plans?  How did this experience impact them?

As a student double-majoring in Economics and Advertising, I hope to enter the Business Communications field and work in the areas of branding and social data analytics. I am fascinated by consumer behavior and how audience attitudes affect the daily decisions of corporate executives, especially cross-culturally. I hope to one day work for a global company and be able to research, analyze, and compare their profit markets in different countries to aid in the successful development of the country. This program allowed me to see another side of the world, one with a culture different than my own, which helped me garner a more global perspective in my studies. Being that I want to travel and work around the world, experiencing as many countries, cultures, and groups of people is imperative to my success.

Would you recommend this experience to other Liberal Arts students?

I would highly recommend this experience to Liberal Arts students because it is the perfect blend of course work and out-of-the-classroom learning experiences. I was able to experience an entirely new part of the world both academically and socially, which has proven to leave a lasting impact on my life and perspective of the future.

How has the Paterno Fellows Program had an impact on this experience?

Without the Paterno Fellows Program, I would not be able to explore the world and adapt my coursework to real-life experiences. As stated above, I am a firm believer in learning outside of the classroom; without the academic and financial support of the Paterno Fellows Program, I would not have been able to obtain such an experience. Without my scholarship, it would not have been feasible for my family to allow me to participate in this study abroad program; because of Paterno Fellows, I have been able to take on the world and develop my global perspective, something that will allow me to be a successful communications professional in the future.

For more on global opportunities for Liberal Arts students, visit our website. 
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