Hi! I’m Clara Mattheessen a new Peer Advisor in the Office of Study Abroad! I am currently a senior History major with a business minor expected to graduate in May. I’m a Disney lover, history nerd, a self-described walking infomercial, and Instagram lover. If I’m not in Coleman or this office chances are I’m playing in the pep band at a basketball game!
I was lucky enough to have found my passion of travelling and adventure during High School. I took a trip with about forty other people my age between my sophomore and junior years of high school to the United Kingdom and Ireland. It was an eye opening experience.
Flash forward to my sophomore year of college I was ready to take on the world. I nervously walked into the study abroad office idea in mind, I was going to study in the United Kingdom. I came in with a university and program in mind, the University of Winchester. Less than six months later I was living the most exciting adventure of my life up until that point! From getting lost in Rome at 4 am to discovering Dublin with a group of wonderful friends, I was living the life (I mean minus the fact I lost my wallet and american cellphone don’t loose those it’s a bad time). The international student society at Winchester created an excellent community between my Irish friends my English friends, my French friends, and my American friends they all led me to have a great time and felt very welcome. Welcome enough I got to stay with one of them when I went solo travelling last summer.
This past summer I was really lucky to go on a second study abroad program! It was a faculty led programs led by Dr. Elder and Dr. Eydt-Bebe, we looked at the German Memory Culture of World War II in the present and directly after the war. It was really exciting to see all of the World War II sites in Berlin and Munich (I mean if you’re a history nerd like me). It was interesting to compare the two different programs. A faculty led and a direct enroll. For me I loved the direct enroll because I was immersed in the culture and the people but I also loved my professors and peers that accompanied me on my faculty led because I know I can go see them when I want.
After the three week program was over, I was lucky enough to be able to do some solo travel. Meeting up with friends I hadn’t seen in a year and even years. Solo travel is honestly one of the most freeing things I’ve ever done. You’re on your own doing what you want with no one to judge you what and how you’re doing it. My favorite type of travel is pair travel because you aren’t completely alone but you can definitely solo if you need to. It’s nice to have a friend to recap your days with and take pictures of you! (You can have only so many historical places selfies before you get sick of them)
My graduation date is fast approaching but I know one thing for sure, Study Abroad is my passion. It teaches and helps people to understand more than they could just staying in the same cornfield. I’m going to leave you with a favorite quote from Mark Twain:
“Travel is fatal to prejudice, bigotry, and narrow-mindedness, and many of our people need it sorely on these accounts. Broad, wholesome, charitable views of men and things cannot be acquired by vegetating in one little corner of the earth all one’s lifetime”
With that I hope to see you soon!