Center for International Programs - Study Abroad

Student Profile: Sarah Kelly- Marquette University, South Africa


Major(s): Sociology       

Minor(s): Business    

Abroad Program: Marquette University

Where & When:South Africa Cape Town, Fall 2013

Favorite Course: Ethics- Sociology of Religion

Highlight: Learning how to Surf

Best Excursion: Mid semester trip camping through Zimbabwe, Botswana and South Africa.

Favorite Dish: Anything with Falafel!

Least Favorite Dish: Ox Tail

Next Destination: I'd love to go to India!

Describe your living situation.

The living situation was pretty cool. We lived in a house with a huge kitchen, a nice living room, and a really good size yard. There were 16 of us total during my semester. What I really liked about the living situation was that even if you go abroad with peers from St. Joe’s, you have to room with someone from a different university. It was a great way to get to know my housemates and to make meaningful connects with each of them. With the way the house was set up, we would have family dinners on a weekly basis. It really became our home.

Describe your best travel experience.

My best travel experience was definitely my mid-semester break. Two other St. Joe’s girls and I went to Zimbabwe and Botswana, which was a separate trip than the one all our other roommates were going on. We were completely out of our comfort zone, out of the familiar country and city we now called home, and surrounded by an entirely new group of people.  But being entirely out of our comfort zone was exactly what made it perfect.  We met 13 other people we would’ve never known and camped, in tents, throughout Southern Africa together. We saw and did so many new things, together, and I will always have experienced the trip of a lifetime with each member of our tour group. During this trip, we really got the African experience. We went on safaris everyday, rode elephants, saw Victoria Falls, cooked every meal on a fire, and camped at campsites every night. All things I’ve never done before. Stepping out of my comfort zone for the mid-semester trip was probably the best decision I made while abroad

What was one fear you had before going? Would you have this same fear if you were going to study abroad again? Why or why not?

A fear I had before going abroad was that I was never going to be fully comfortable. I had finally become comfortable at St. Joe’s and I was about to start all over again, even if it was just for one semester. And I was completely wrong. I don’t think I’ve actually felt more comfortable. I felt really comfortable in the house, at school, and by the end of the semester I felt like I was home. I don’t think I would have this fear if I were to study abroad again, because, from my experience, going abroad is what helped me feel comfortable, with myself, and therefore with all my surroundings. I surprised myself by how comfortable I felt in a foreign country, but it was just what I needed.