Kaylee Kowalczyk at the Tower of London. (Courtesy of Isabella Music)

By Kerri-Lyn Hernandez – President

A select few students from the University of Maine at Farmington (UMF) are starting their semester a little differently than usual due to the fact that it is in a different country.

These students applied and they got accepted to study abroad which means they are spending their whole 2012 spring semester in a foreign country, studying at different colleges and receiving a chance to discover the different cultures while also receiving an education.

Innes Herdan, a sophomore at the UMF is studying in Hull England and decided to study abroad. She said in a recent Skype interview, “My family is from England so I’ve always wanted to meet them and I wanted to learn the culture that my grandfather grew up in.”

Her excitement outweighs her fears of being in a strange and new place. “If you have a chance to go abroad I’d definitely take it. If what you’re worried about is money, it’s not that expensive because a lot of your tuition covers it,” said Herdan.

The trip for these students is not just about getting away from the school they’re used to, it’s about taking chances and trying new adventures in their lives, “I look forward to traveling and hopefully going to France. My family wants to take me there so I’m excited,” Herdan said. She also notes that she believes she made the right decision and has a good “gut feeling” about it, even though she’s left behind so many loved ones for the four and a half months she will be gone.

“I hope to learn a different way of life and I hope to meet new people,” said Herdan.

Kaylee Kowalczyk, a junior at the UMF, now studying at the University of Strathclyde in Glasgow, Scotland, has more reasons for studying abroad, “I love to travel and trying new things, and what better way to travel and experience an abundance of different foods, experiences and styles of study!” said Kowalczyk in a recent email interview.

She said, “After graduating I plan to get a job and plan on attending graduate school shortly after, so there isn’t really much open time, space or money to do all the traveling I will be able to experience by being abroad for 6 months!”

“The thing I look forward to the most while being abroad is being able to learn more about myself, and how I handle different situations,” said Kowalczyk, “I also learned that what doesn’t kill you makes you stronger, because as much as I love my family and friends, I am very excited to be in the United Kingdom with the ability to travel and see a wide variety of historical and beautiful sites, as well as meet new people and make new friends that will hopefully lead me to travel even more in the future!”

These two women hope to gain “independence” and to learn about themselves in their new temporary homes.

“I think that studying abroad is a very easy way to gain a new perspective on the world and become more well-rounded because it’s a genuine experience of living in a new area and situation,” said Kowalczyk.