One Graduate Student: 3 Continents

Amber Rigsby is about to depart on her third study abroad program.

You heard right: her THIRD.

She is a graduate student at EIU, hailing from Family & Consumer Sciences. In 2010 she wandered through China on a Biology program. In 2012 she spent her Spring Break in Florence, Italy. As of last week, Amber landed abroad once again, this time in South Africa for her longest program yet: a whole semester.

When you look at these three programs, you wonder how she got started. She told us she originally decided to study abroad in China because a friend had just returned and said it was amazing. Rather than take her friend’s word for it – she signed up for Plant Life in China with Dr. Gordon Tucker, and went to see for herself.


First time abroad: China

While wandering in China she admitted, “I wish I knew some of their language before I left because most locals wanted to communicate but the language barrier prevented us.” For a first time study abroad program, a month in Asia was ambitious, to say the least. The group visited 5 cities, and saw everything from a university to the Great Wall to a kiwi factory and two national parks.

Italy? A different story. The program is called “Food, Wine & Fashion” and is led by faculty in Family & Consumer Sciences to an EIU partner school: Apicius Culinary Institute in Florence, Italy. Amber and her classmates spent a very busy week visiting museums, taking cooking classes, visiting fashion boutiques and taking in the scenery in Tuscany.

Ponte Vecchio Florence Italy

Next Up: Florence, Italy

South Africa will be different. As she notes in her blog, this is the longest time she’ll be away from her family.

The FCS Semester in South Africa focuses on Human Services and Early Childhood Education, and the students will visit schools, interact with locals and learn about the communities they live in. The group of students will work with Dr. Frances Murphy and briefly with Dr. Dagni Bredesen, taking upper level coursework for a whopping total of 15 credits. Of these, Amber will be taking advantage of a Graduate Internship course while she’s abroad.

Cape Town airport

Cape Town airport, Photo courtesy of classmate Demetris

Amber is one of our many scholarship students, and she worked hard to research various fundraising opportunities to supplement her journey. She is a true testament to not letting anything stand in your way. Her advice to other students is: “Go! It’s a great opportunity that will lead to an amazing adventure and you never know when you will get that chance again.”

If you want to read along on Amber’s adventure in South Africa, check out her blog at:

Amber in South Africa

Amber in South Africa


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