Sometimes the biggest risks in life produce the greatest rewards. For Sarah Terhune, that certainly seems to be true.
As a student at St. Louis Community College-Wildwood, Terhune’s decision to study abroad was one of the best she has ever made. Not only did the three-month study abroad program to Canterbury, England, challenge her thinking, but it also provided her with incredible opportunities for personal and academic growth.
“Before Canterbury, I had never flown on an airplane, let alone traveled abroad,” she said. “This program pushed me out of my comfort zone and gave me the confidence I needed to meet new people and explore new things.”
The Canterbury program is one of several offered to students by the college each year. Since STLCC began this program in 1992, nearly 400 community college students have had the opportunity to study at Canterbury Christ Church University.
According to Chris Sulincevski, international programs coordinator, this program provides students with a “once in a lifetime” learning opportunity.
“Study abroad programs like this help shape students into global citizens,” Sulincevski said. “With the Canterbury program, students live abroad for an extended period of time. This experience allows them to become immersed in the culture as they study under British professors and interact with their host families and classmates.”
Students take four courses, of which two include a number of organized group field trips to various historical and cultural landmarks across the United Kingdom and Western Europe.
“This structure helps maximize their academic and cultural experiences abroad,” Sulincevski said.
For Terhune, her favorite experiences included taking in the local culture of Canterbury, touring the scenic sights of Ireland and visiting the Belfry of Bruges, a medieval bell tower in Belgium. In addition to gaining cultural experiences, the program strengthened her time management skills.
“With British style courses, your grade is based predominately on an essay as opposed to smaller assignments throughout the term,” she explained. “While this was an adjustment, the structure taught me how to prioritize and balance my desire for exploration with my coursework.”
When asked if she would recommend the program to others, she said, “Absolutely. College is the perfect time to study abroad and experience other cultures. If you’re considering studying abroad, you need to just go for it. While it can seem like a risk to get out of your comfort zone, it’s worth it to learn something new.”
Now that her semester abroad has ended, she’s back at STLCC-Wildwood, finishing up the remaining courses she needs to earn her associate degree in general transfer studies. After graduation, she plans to pursue a juris doctor degree so she can practice family law. In the meantime, she’s working hard to save money for a future trip abroad.