Student Spotlight

  • Pursuing a distinction project was one of the best decisions I made in my undergraduate career. It was a rewarding experience and provided a constructive opportunity to synthesize what I had learned through my thematic concentration.
  • There is no greater feeling than pursing something you really care about and watching the change that it brings as you chase your curiosity.
  • Prior to pursing distinction, I never thought I would do much in the way of research or have a future in academia, and was somewhat unsure of graduate studies. But wanting to distinguish myself from other Global Studies and LAS majors, I decided to pursue distinction anyways.
  • From pursuing the distinction project I learned that gaining a strong support system in a project and goal is critical to reaching ones destination. Hence in order to cultivate this, I found that consistent formal and informal communication with my committee was key.
  • The most important thing that I got out of the distinction project was that after it was completed, I felt like I was really a part of the discourse and the academic world.
  • Pursuing a distinction project helped me the most in learning how to manage a months-long project.
  • GS gave me the chance to think about current issues from a variety of perspectives by taking courses in a variety of departments. Other majors didn't offer that kind of flexibility.
  • Thematic Area: Wealth & Poverty The most surprising aspect of my study abroad experience must have been the amazing friends I made during my program. I studied at a small, private language school, taking Portuguese classes with other students from all around the world.
  • I would recommend that you travel as much as possible in your allotted amount of time abroad, both inside the country you're living in and beyond, this is a once in a lifetime experience.
  • In summer 2015, I spent six weeks in Hungary volunteering at a refugee camp. This experience greatly bolstered and refined my academic knowledge by humanizing the issues we discussed. I then spent Fall 2016 studying abroad in Jordan.
  • When I first went to Ecuador, I immediately fell in love with the country. Part of me felt as if I was in my parent's motherland of Mexico and that was a welcoming feeling. I noticed many similarities as both countries are part of Latin America.
  • My best advice is to travel as much as possible. I never would have imagined my life at age 20 traveling to 14 countries to 25 cities. My world view has changed forever and I owe this to the cites I saw, the cuisine I ate, and the friendships I made for the rest of my life.
  • I had the unique experience of volunteering every week with a different non-profit and throw myself into the sphere of humanitarianism abroad. One organization that I did a lot with was Singa France.
  • Back home (USA), it seems as though we always focus on what's coming next. Here (Ecuador), however, I've noticed that there is a much greater appreciation for the present, and that is something that I am grateful for.
  • In Senegal, there is a word called 'Teranga which loosely translates to 'hospitality' in English.  Bet Teranga was more than just providing good service in one's home or business, but taking that person into your family as your own.
  • Majoring in Global Studies, concentrating in Governance and Conflict Resolution and minoring in French and Arabic. My area concentration is North Africa and the Middle East and I am also an ACDIS Certificate candidate.
  • My name is Dannika Andersen, I'm a Junior majoring in Global Studies and Political Science. My GS thematic area is Wealth & Poverty. My language is Swahili and my area focus is Sub-Saharan Africa.
  • Location: Granada, Spain Program: SAO Exchange: Spanish Studies in Granada Thematic Area: Global Health Language: Spanish Region: Western Europe
  • Location: Dakar, Senegal Program: SAO Provider: Minnesota Studies in International Development Senegal Thematic Area: Cultures in Contact Language: French & Wolof
  • Location: Quito, Ecuador Program: SAO Exchange: Universidad San Francisco de Quito Thematic Area: Environment, Sustainability, and Social Responsibility Language: Spanish
  • I studied in Bilbao, Spain, and it was the most amazing experience of my life. I learned about an entirely new culture to me, improved my Spanish, made many new friends, and learned a lot about myself. It was truly an invaluable experience, and I would go back in a heartbeat.
  • I studied abroad in Barcelona my entire junior year. It was the best experience of my life and I learned so much about the world and myself. – Maggie O. 
  • I studied in Bologna, Italy for six months and it was the best time of my undergraduate career. It was challenging to say the least, but I was really able to learn the language, the culture, and made so many great friends in the process.
  • Studying abroad was definitely my most valuable experience because it encouraged me to think more critically about my identity, the U.S., the world, and the University of Illinois. – Crystol D.
  • I spent a good year overseas in East Asia and about two weeks in Peru. It was the best part of my undergraduate experience. I learned a lot about the coursework, the language and culture of the host country, and even more about myself. – Joanne M.