Graduation Time!


Hey guys! It’s Mary, your professional writing intern, one last time.

It’s with bittersweet emotions that I say good-bye to my time in the Office of Study Abroad. I am really happy that I was able to sign up to be the professional writing intern here at the Office this semester. There was a lot going on, including completely revamping our study abroad website, that kept me busy and gave me a lot of experience that I can put toward future endeavors.


One of the best things about working at the Office this semester was meeting all of the people that work here. My co-workers freely gave out praise and encouragement that helped me to complete that tasks that I was assigned while working here. Everyone is friendly and happy to help with anything I could have needed. Being able to work in the Office itself, I was able to see that this sentiment was extended to all that entered looking for help on studying abroad.

Not only am I saying good-bye to the Office of Study Abroad, but I am also graduating this semester and saying good-bye to EIU. Like many of you, the excitement of finishing this step in my life is mixed with nervousness about what I am going to do next in my life. The rush to look for a “big people” job or a masters program, whatever you feel is the next step for you, can sometimes get exhausting, but I try to remember to take a break once in a while and remember how far I’ve come.

It is with a heavy heart but a happy smile that I sign off one last time from the Office of Study Abroad.

~Mary Reber



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

Everyday Abroad: India

Asha House in New Delhi, India

Asha House in New Delhi, India

This past summer, I spent two weeks at the Asha House, a children’s home near Delhi. Here, I fell in love with 29 beautiful children who accepted me immediately upon my arrival. They tried (and failed) to teach me Hindi. But, they taught me cricket and seven stones, while I taught them how to do the Hokey Pokey. Asha, a Hindi word meaning “Hope”, is the perfect word to describe these children. Although they have faced more than I can ever imagine, they have an incredible hope for the future. To read more about the Asha House and  experiences in India, click here!