Gettysburg philosophy students are encouraged to study abroad. Our majors and minors study at campuses spanning the globe, bringing back with them broader perspectives that deepen classroom discussion and their own thoughts.
I spent last spring in Copenhagen, Denmark, studying Cultural Diversity and Social Capital. With my class, I traveled to Malmö and Gothenburg, Sweden, and Istanbul, Turkey to compare the relationship between social trust and diversity in each country. But what I enjoyed most about the course was how it elucidated the Danish worldview; my main goal in studying abroad was to push myself to think and interpret the world in different ways, and my time in Denmark definitely allowed me to do this.
During the spring semester of my junior year, I studied abroad at Temple University in Tokyo, Japan and consider my abroad experience the most rewarding and happiest time of my college career. For example, studying in Japan gave me the opportunity to immerse myself in Japanese culture. My immersion included loving Japanese baseball, enjoying miso soup every morning, buying all things "kawaii", and learning to make small talk on crowded Japanese trains. Moreover, immersion constantly challenged my American worldview and stereotypes of Japanese culture and people. I am incredibly grateful for this because with every challenge, I adjusted my worldview and learned how to better appreciate Japan. Overall, my time in Japan was the most rewarding experience of my college career and I am very happy I that was privileged to study there.
I spent the semester at The University of Queensland in Brisbane, Queensland, Australia. Initially, I was apprehensive about going as it was the first time I left North America and the first time I had travelled alone. Looking back, it was the most valuable semester of my academic career. I learned how to cook, how to use public transportation, and how to survive on my own. I snorkeled in the Great Barrier Reef, petted a kangaroo, held a koala bear, fed an elephant, jumped out of an airplane, and saw some of the most beautiful natural wonders of the world. Additionally, I was able to take classes for both of my majors in a new environment which was incredibly rewarding and enriching. I took an Aboriginal studies class and mentored local Aboriginal children and I gained valuable experience working for a local legal organization. Living on the other side of the world opened my eyes to new perspectives and ways of thinking, and my abroad experience has irrevocably changed my life for the better.
I lived in Dublin, Ireland for about eight months. I studied at University College of Dublin (UCD) in the spring taking mostly Philosophy classes and one math class. I lived on campus with 5 Irish roommates. I played for UCD’s club Ultimate Frisbee team and was a member of the Philosophy club. At semester's end, I moved into the center of Dublin where I lived for the remainder of my stay in Ireland. I worked at IBM over the summer and played for a club Ultimate Frisbee team. With the team I travelled to England multiple times and once to Amsterdam for tournaments. After spending so much time in such an amazing country it is difficult to snip a few highlights out because the whole experience was simply amazing!
My time abroad in Japan was a wonderful experience. The most striking thing I noticed about Japan was the way that the old and the new exist in very close proximity without imposing on each other. In some places, temples, shrines and historical gardens are intermixed with high-rises and shopping districts. I found the islands of history and nature in the midst of Japanese development and modernity to be fascinating and beautiful. Walking through the dense woods at Meiji Shrine, it’s possible to lose track of the fact that you’re still in urban Tokyo. The unique sense of time and place that you can find in Japan is one of the things that I think makes Japan amazing.