Laura Hurst is a junior international studies and environmental studies major. She has studied abroad 3 times since coming to Case Western Reserve University.
Where did you study abroad? How did you choose your programs?
I studied abroad in Amsterdam and India with the short-term programs of MSASS here at CWRU and spent a semester in Santiago, Chile this past fall studying through an IES abroad program, but also as a student at La Pontifica Universidad Católica de Chile.
How did classes you took abroad differ from courses offered on campus at CWRU?
My classes in Chile were more challenging because not only did I have to engage in the material being taught to me, I also had to engage in a different language.
My classes with the MSASS programs were so much more than readings, lectures, and exams. They were tangible, real life experiences concerning the subject matter. This kind of learning experience was extremely refreshing and stimulating.
What was one thing you did abroad that you couldn’t have done in Cleveland?
I had a really unique experience interning at a non-profit foundation for social justice and work in socialism while in Santiago at the Salvador Allende Foundation. Salvador Allende was the world’s first democratically elected socialist president and was thrown out of power by a coup d’état in 1973 that instated a dictator, Augusto Pinochet. This September was the 40th anniversary of the coup and Allende’s death as well as an election year (during which Chile just elected another socialist candidate). The political atmosphere was truly unique and it was incredible to be working at the foundation and living in Chile for this part of history.
How has studying abroad changed your global perspective?
In particular, being abroad simultaneously fostered my critical perspective of the United States, and my pride in being an American. It was fascinating to see the both the positive and negative manifestations of American culture in the countries I visited and the to hear the thoughts and opinions of their citizens. Meeting other students at my university in Santiago from the Americas, Europe, and Asia made me realize how global this world is, but also how education is now becoming an international experience out of benefit and necessity.
Besides your study abroad, tell us about a course you’ve taken at CWRU that has influenced your global perspective.
I took Professor Moore’s political economy of natural resources class last spring. That course showed me how connected the world is, and has been for years, when it comes to the environment and natural resources. Having that realization solidified increased the feeling of urgency and responsibility when it comes to dealing with climate change and environmental issues—on both communal and global scales.